Some pretty, fizzy bath bombs have a dirty secret

 Some pretty, fizzy bath bombs have a dirty secret

Plop. Fizz. Relax. Adding a fragrant bath bomb to your tub can transform a routine wash into a relaxing, spalike soak. Although these popular bundles of stress reduction are especially welcome these days, they can pose problems for your plumbing. But not all bath bombs are bad; it depends on what’s in them and how you use them.

Birnur Aral, director of the health, beauty, and environmental sciences lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, walked me through this quick science lesson. Basically, two ingredients make bath bombs fizz: baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) and citric acid. When an object combining them is dropped into warm bath water, you witness an acid-base reaction between the two, and CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas is released, causing the fizz and foam. Think of it as a less-volatile version of that third-grade volcano science project,…

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