When I used my first bath salts a few years back, I just fell in love! It feels so good to exfoliate your skin with something that smells so good and nourishes it at the same time.
Bath salts expire when the oils used in them go bad. A good rule of thumb is to dispose of DIY bath salts after one year. Store-bought bath salts may have preservatives added to extend the shelf life, and so can last for several years. See the expiration date printed on the container.
Since my first exploration into the world of bath salts, I’ve learned what to look out for in terms of getting or making bath salts that will survive for the long haul. I’m going to share this information with you. And then, at the end of this post, I’ll show you my favorite DIY bath salt recipe with no expiration date. I’ll also point you to a few of the longest-lasting (and most amazing!) bath salts you can buy.
Bath Salts Ingredients & Expiration Dates
Let’s take a look at the most common ingredients included in both store-bought and DIY recipes for bath salts. Then we’ll investigate which of these ingredients have expiration dates to watch out for. This way, when you choose a DIY bath salts recipe, or you purchase bath salts, you’ll know what to look out for.
Here are a few of the types of salts that are commonly used in recipes. No matter which salt you use, though, as long as it’s a natural salt it won’t expire. Not ever. Natural salts are different from engineered salts, like table salt, which is usually augmented with the chemical iodine.
Epsom salt contains magnesium, oxygen and sulfur. When you dissolve Epsom salts in bath or shower water, it is believed by many people that the Epsom salts release magnesium which penetrates the skin to reduce pain, as well as heal the cardiovascular and immune system. For these reasons, Epsom salt is a popular choice for bath salts.
Dead Sea Salt
When I was a child, I floated in the Dead Sea with my 5-year-old cousin who suffered from psoriasis. According to my cousin’s mother, the salt in the Dead Sea greatly helped alleviate his discomfort. (They followed up our in-person float, by using a range of products made from Dead Sea salts like these.)
Dead Sea Salt contains trace minerals like magnesium, zinc and potassium. It’s beneficial for skin conditions, as well as arthritis. Regular users of Dead Sea Bath Salts swear that they are intensely relaxing. In any case, because the salt from the Dead Sea is profoundly healing, it too is a wonderful ingredient often used to make bath salts.
Pink Himalayan Salt
Himalayan salt is found in giant blocks. I once went to Spa Castle, Texas. There, in addition to the swimming pools, Japanese baths, and other hot tubs, they also have a series of healing hot saunas. The interior of one sauna was made completely from blocks of Himalayan Salt. You can watch my video of the Himalayan Salt sauna here:
The healing properties of pink Himalayan salt include that it has anti-aging effects, boosts energy, and improves vascular health. For these reasons—and because the crystals are pink and large and beautiful to look at—this is also a common type of salt to put in bath salts.
Most bath salts contain essential oils, which are extracted from plants and meant to pass on the healing benefits derived from the plant to the bather. Not only do the healing properties of essential oils dissipate over time, but some expired essential oils can become unsafe to inhale use on your skin. Therefore, you need to pay attention to which essential oils are in your bath salts.
As a general rule, when I make DIY bath salts, I’ll write the expiration date on the container as 1 year from the date I’ve made the recipe. That said, some essential oils like citrus-derived essential oils only last one year but others like patchouli can last up to 8 years.
If you’ve got store-bought bath salts, the manufacturer may have added preservatives to extend the shelf life.
Here are some common essential oils that you’ll find in bath salts:
The fragrance from this oil is proven to promote deep sleep. It is derived from the needles, berries and bark of the Juniper tree (also known as the cedar tree). Cedarwood oil is beneficial for dry skin and acne.
There are 400 species of Eucalyptus trees, one of which is called the Blue Gum Tree. This oil is popular in products like Vicks Vaporub and has decongesting properties. (See my post about how to use Vicks VapoRub in the Bath.) Not only is eucalyptus oil good for a cold, but also early research show that it can boost the immune system.
You’re bound to come across lavender oil when searching ingredients for DIY bath salts. The reason is that lavender oil has been proven to help with everything from menstrual cramps to anxiety relief to reduced hair loss. In any case, this essential oil is a great one to add to your DIY bath salts recipes.
This oil is derived from the Indian root vegetable, saffron. It’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for more than 4000 years. Not only is it anti-inflammatory, but also research shows that this essential oil has anti-depressive benefits. (If you want to try a detox bath in powdered turmeric, learn about benefits and get a turmeric detox bath recipe here.)
For a comprehensive look at how long each essential oil can last before expiration, see this post from healthline.com. And read this post to understand how to safely use essential oils in the tub. (Pregnant and breastfeeding women should probably avoid them. And anyone with open sores or a chronic illness should consult a doctor first.)
Expiration of Other Bath Salts’ Ingredients
Just like with essential oils, you need to keep an eye on the other ingredients in bath salts to see how long they should last. Here are some common ingredients in bath salts recipes and what you should know about expiration dates.
Body Butters & Carrier Oils
Body butters like shea butter and cocoa butter and carrier oils like almond oil and coconut oil may be added to bath salts. The purpose of these ingredients is two-fold: they nourish the skin and also help disperse the essential oils throughout the bath salts, preventing the irritation that can be caused by using essential oils on their own.
While shea butter expires in 1-2 years, cocoa butter has a much longer shelf life. Almond oil can last 6-12 months, while coconut oil can last up to 2 years. Normally, you’d know that a butter or oil has gone rancid because of a cloudy appearance or funky smell.
However, if the oil or butter is already integrated into a product that contains essential oil and colorant, these clues may be covered up. Therefore, it’s best to stick to the general rule of thumb: Get rid of DIY bath salts after 1 year and note expiration dates on the packaging of store-bought bath salts.
Unopened baking soda should last 2 years. Once opened, it will expire in about 6 months. It won’t go rancid, however. It will just lose the ability to give your skin a silky smooth feeling when you apply bath salts.
Often added to bath salts to give a more beautiful and intriguing appearance, dried flowers are already in their final state. They shouldn’t disintegrate any more over time.
Sometimes fresh herbs are added to bath salts for their texture and scent. For example, I often add fresh rosemary in my Christmas Bath Salts recipe (see below) and use a sprig on top for garnish. In any case, when fresh herbs are added, the bath salts should be used within a month.
Storing Bath Salts to Extend Shelf Life
You can extend the expiration date of your bath salts by using a few techniques:
Keep store-bought bath salts in a dry, cool location away from light. Be sure to tighten the lid on the container each time you put them away.
For DIY bath salts, be sure each ingredient you use is fresh at the time you make your product. This will maximize the overall shelf life of your bath salts. Store bath salts in air-tight containers. You’ll notice that essential oils are often put into darker glass bottles. This is to prevent light from infiltrating and making the oil go bad faster. If possible, store your DIY bath salts in amber containers, too.
Or, if you put your bath salts in mason jars, be sure to keep them in a dark, cool cabinet.
Labeling DIY Bath Salts
When you make DIY Bath Salts be sure to include a few key labels:
- List ingredients
- Put expiration date one year from the date you make the bath salts.
- Write “Warning: Keep Out of Reach From Children” – This is especially important if you are gifting the bath salts. You would never want a young child to mistake the bath salts for a tasty snow cone.
Easy DIY Bath Salts with Expiration Dates
Here are several different DIY bath salts recipes you can whip up in no time, along with the expiration dates. (Expiration dates assume that the ingredients are fresh at the time you make the bath salts.)
Christmas Bath Salts
I give these bath salts as holiday gifts, because they are festive, pretty and smell great! Makes 4 servings – use ½ cup per bath.
Mix the following ingredients in a bowl and then store in an air-tight container with the label:
- 2 c Epsom salt
- 25-30 drops red soap dye
- 10 drops frankincense essential oil
- 1 Tbsp castor oil
- ½ c fresh rosemary sprigs (separated from the stalk)
Expires 1 month from the date of mixing.
Silky Rose Bath Salts
Mix all ingredients and store in an air-tight container with a label. This is a hydrating, soothing recipe to help exfoliate dry, irritated skin. Great for cracked heels and elbows. Makes 4 servings – use ½ cup per bath.
- 2 c Pink Himalayan Salt
- 10 drops rose essential oil
- 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
- Dried rose petals
- 1/2 cup Baking Soda
Expires 2 years after making.
Seaside Bath Salts
This recipe uses decongesting essential oils and is great when you have a cold or allergies. Makes 4 servings – use ½ cup per bath.
- 2 c Dead Sea Salt, Divided
- 5 drops spearmint essential oil
- 5 drops camphor essential oil
- 1 Tbsp jojoba oil
- 1/2 cup Baking Soda, divided
- Clear mason jar (s)
Bowl 1: Add 10-15 drops of light blue colorant to 1 cup of dead sea salt and mix well. Add peppermint essential oil to this bowl and mix again. Now mix in ¼ cup baking soda.
Bowl 2: Add 5 drops of camphor essential oil to 1 cup of dead sea salt and mix well. Now add ¼ cup baking soda and mix.
Create layers of blue and white in your mason jar for a striped appearance.
For this recipe, divide the dead sea salt into two separate bowls. The shelf life of jojoba oil is 5 years, while spearmint and camphor essential oils last 2-3 years. So this recipe will expire 2 years from the time you make it.
Optional Step to Extend Shelf Life in DIY Bath Salts
Even though the ingredients in your bath salts may still be good, it’s common for the bath salts to get clumpy over time. This is caused by excess moisture and easily solved by baking your bath salts in the oven.
Once your bath salts mixture is made, preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Spread your bath salts evenly across a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, stirring every 5. This will dry out any excess moisture without destroying the healing properties in the essential oils.
My Favorite Store-Bought Bath Salts
Here are some awesome bath salts you can buy.
I soak in Epsom salt baths several times a week and usually, I go with Dr. Teal’s. There are a wide variety of types available with different essential oils. But the one I just love is the version for pre-and post-workout. I’m not saying I work out all the time. I don’t. But it makes my body feel great!
Epsoak Sleep Formula by the San Francisco Salt Company
I also use these bath salts for sleep. The formula mixes melatonin with Epsom salt. At first, I doubted it would work, but it does! If I’m restless for whatever reason, I’ll jump in a bath of this. And I’m out like a light.
Pretty enough to gift, these bath salts smell incredible with ylang ylang flower oil and grapefruit peel essential oil.
So Do Bath Salts Expire?
Bath salts expire when the ingredients inside them go bad. Though the salts won’t expire, the oils can become unsafe to use on your skin or smell. Therefore, if you’re not sure of the expiration date, it’s safest to dispose of bath salts after one year. And to extend the shelf life, store bath salts in an airtight container in a cool, shady place.