With the rising popularity of cruelty-free, handmade bath and beauty products, it’s no surprise signature bath bombs from Lush have taken the world by storm. Everyone wants to get their hands on those fun, fizzy, and colorful bath bombs, but their high price and Lush’s limited store locations have caused many to seek alternatives. Fortunately, making your own bath bombs isn’t too difficult — but finding the key ingredient, citric acid, can be a little tricky if you aren’t sure where to look.

We’ve looked into how citric acid works and where to best find it, so you can get on your way to making your very own luxurious bath bombs.

In This Article

  • What Is Citric Acid?

  • Why Is Citric Acid an Important Bath Bomb Ingredient?

  • Is Any Citric Acid Specifically Made for Bath Bombs?

  • Citric Acid Safety

  • How to Make Bath Bombs Using Citric Acid (Video Tutorial)

  • How to Find Local Stores That Sell Citric Acid

  • The List of Chain Stores That Sell Citric Acid

  • The List of Online Stores That Sell Citric Acid

  • Where to Buy Citric Acid in Bulk

  • Other Uses for Citric Acid (If You Have Extra)

What Is Citric Acid?

Citric acid is a weak organic acid that occurs naturally in citrus fruit. The word “acid” may sound scary, but citric acid is actually edible and has many common everyday uses.

For example, citric acid is an effective preservative, for which reason it’s added to canned foods to help prevent the growth of botulism. It can also be used as a sour flavoring, an emulsifying agent, and an additive in processed foods. It can be derived from lemon or pineapple juice, but modern citric acid is often made from Aspergillus niger — common black mold — because it’s a cheap, safe, and effective process.

Citric acid comes in either an anhydrous (dry) or a monohydrate (liquid) form. For bath bombs, you’ll need to buy dry citric acid, which shouldn’t be a problem since the acid is most often sold in a powder or fine granular form.

Why Is Citric Acid an Important Bath Bomb Ingredient?

One of the biggest appeals of bath bombs is their fizzing effect. The fizziness happens when two key ingredients, baking soda and citric acid, react to the water. This reaction causes the release of carbon dioxide gas and makes bubbles erupt as the bath bomb dissolves.

You can use cream of tartar or lemon juice to substitute for citric acid in the making of bath bombs, but citric acid creates a more impressive fizz.

Is Any Citric Acid Specifically Made for Bath Bombs?

No. Any food grade or non-food grade citric acid marked safe for external use is perfectly fine to use in making bath bombs. Although some citric acid may be marketed specifically to those who enjoy making bath bombs or other personal care products, there’s no reason to purchase from those retailers rather than others who may have a more competitive price or convenient size for your needs.

Citric Acid Safety

Although it’s an acid, citric acid is fairly mild and generally safe to use. Still, ingesting large quantities of it can cause abdominal pain and a sore throat. When purchasing citric acid, always be sure to buy food grade or non-food grade that is marked safe for external use.

How to Make Bath Bombs Using Citric Acid

Here’s the best video tutorial out there. After you get your citric acid, you may enjoy coming back to this page and following along:

Finding Local Stores That Sell Citric Acid

There are many nearby brick-and-mortar retailers you can look into before turning to online ordering. A few places where citric acid is generally available for purchase are:

  • Baking supply stores
  • Craft/hobby stores
  • Grocery stores and supermarkets (look in the kosher or food canning supply sections)
  • Health food stores
  • Pharmacies or drugstores
  • Restaurant supply stores
  • Stores that sells cheese making supplies
  • Wine/beer making supply stores
  • You can also use the NOW Foods store locator to find citric acid locally.

Chain Stores That Sell Citric Acid

1. Ace Hardware

2. Bed Bath and Beyond

3. Vitamin Shoppe

4. Walmart

Get $10 off your first Walmart online grocery order (citric acid qualifies as part of the order) by using this link (prices are the same as in-store, perishable items get thoroughly inspected, they load your vehicle for free, and you get a reusable welcome tote filled with snacks and other goodies).

5. Whole Foods

  • Quantities Available: 4 oz – 1 lb
  • Form: Powder
  • Grade: Food
  • Order it online for grocery delivery, only available in select cities.
  • Find your nearest Whole Foods store.

Online Stores That Sell Citric Acid

6. Amazon

  • Quantities Available: 4 oz – 50 lbs
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Costs vary by seller, but many of the top-rated citric acids are eligible for Amazon Prime free shipping
  • Product Listing: Amazon’s product page

7. Bulk Apothecary

8. Bulk Foods

  • Quantities Available: 1 lb – 50 lbs
  • Form: Granular Crystals
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping costs are calculated based on weight and destination. The cost will be calculated at checkout. $5 shipping available on orders over $75 within the contiguous U.S. International shipping is available.
  • Product Listing: Bulk Food’s product page

9. Duda Diesel

  • Quantities Available: 8 oz – 50 lbs
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Food; Organic; Anhydrous
  • Shipping Cost: Free shipping on all citric acid orders except for the 50 lb pail or bag. Shipping costs will be calculated at checkout and is dependent upon the carrier.
  • Product Listing: Duda Diesel’s product page

10. Getsuckered.com

  • Quantities Available: 4 oz
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping cost is calculated based on the order’s estimated weight. Minimum shipping fee is $5.55. International shipping is available, but requires a $40 minimum purchase.
  • Product Listing: Getsuckered.com’s product page

11. iHerb

  • Quantities Available: 4 oz – 1 lb
  • Form: Powder
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping costs are dependent upon order weight and destination. International orders may be charged additional customs fees.
  • Product Listing: iHerb’s product page

12. National Chemicals

  • Quantities Available: 5 lb – 40 lb
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Non-food, but safe for external use
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping fees vary depending on the type of shipment option selected. Fees will be calculated at checkout.
  • Product Listing: National Chemicals’ product page

13. Nuts.com

  • Quantities Available: 1 lb – 25 lbs
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping costs are calculated based on weight and destination. Free shipping within the continental U.S. is available on orders over $59. International shipping is available.
  • Product Listing: Nuts.com’s product page

14. The Sage

  • Quantities Available: 1 lb – 25 lbs
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Non-food, but safe for external use
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping costs will be calculated at checkout. There’s free shipping within the continental U.S. for orders over $200. 
  • Product Listing: The Sage’s product page

15. Soap Goods

  • Quantities Available: 1.5 lb – 2,000 lbs
  • Form: Fine Granular; Anhydrous
  • Grade: Non-food, but safe for external use
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping only throughout the U.S. Shipping costs vary depending on shipper service fees. No international shipping available.
  • Product Listing: Soap Goods’ product page

16. The Spice House

  • Quantities Available: 4 oz – 1 lb
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping only throughout the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, APO, and FPO addresses. No international shipping available. Shipping costs will be calculated at checkout.
  • Product Listing: The Spice House’s product page

17. Vitacost

  • Quantities Available: 4 oz – 1 lb
  • Form: Powder
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Within the contiguous U.S., prices vary by zip code. There is free shipping on orders of $49 or more. Standard shipping to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, U.S. Territories, and Canada is just $9.99. International shipping charges vary.
  • Product Listing: Vitacost’s product page

18. Wholespice

  • Quantities Available: 3.8 oz – 5 lbs
  • Form: Fine Granular
  • Grade: Food
  • Shipping Cost: Shipping will be calculated at checkout and is dependent upon which shipping option you choose. Free shipping is available on orders over $75
  • Product Listing: Wholespice’s product page

Where to Buy Citric Acid in Bulk

  • Amazon
  • Bulk Apothecary
  • Bulk Foods
  • Duda Diesel
  • National Chemicals
  • Nuts.com
  • The Sage
  • Soap Goods
  • Wholespice

See store descriptions given earlier in the article for details.

Other Uses for Citric Acid

It’s often most cost-effective to buy citric acid in bulk quantities, but this means having a lot of excess after you’re done making your bath bombs. Most recipes call for about four ounces of citric acid to make three to four small bath bombs.

If you do end up with some extra citric acid after making your bath bombs, there’s plenty else you could use it for. Common uses for citric acid include:

  • As an edible ingredient for snacks such as homemade pop rocks or mozzarella.
  • As a lemon substitute in recipes.
  • As an additive to soft drinks to balance sweetness and provide a tart, refreshing flavor. More than half of all citric acid produced is used in beverages.
  • For cleaning around the house, such as removing dishwasher stains or descaling hard water buildup in an electric tea kettle.
  • For making your own dishwasher powder.

In Summary

Using citric acid is arguably the best way to add fizz to your bath bombs, and as you can see, there are many places where you can find the ingredient either in-store or online, and even in bulk. Getting it is easy.

Remember to buy citric acid that’s marked as food grade or ‘safe for external use,’ and that most recipes only call for about four ounces of citric acid to make four or five bath bombs. If you have leftover citric acid, there are lots of other household concoctions that call for it. Enjoy!