Green Home Experiment: Week 11

bubble bathScience_Spot recently made the decision to go green in her household and blog about her green living experiment along the way.

This week she talks about finding a natural bubble bath—one that actually bubbles!—for her daughter.



It can be a big challenge to get support from the family when you make the kinds of big changes that I am making. For the most part, my husband has been very supportive. My daughter, Abby, has also been supportive. But it's harder for her to understand that some of these changes will involve sacrifices. I am learning that in order for this transition to work, there will have to be some compromises as well.

For example, yesterday we compromised on a bubble bath. We recently gave up using Avon Bubble Bath because it was full of complex preservatives, colors, strong detergents and metal chelators. Yuck! If my child is going to soak in the stuff, I want it to be good stuff. Since then, I have spent a lot of time trying to find one that has acceptable ingredients and would work well, too. I tried using liquid castile soap as a bubble bath, but it did not bubble. I looked into "bath foams" but was told that these produce a very mild foam—nothing like a bubble bath. Yesterday I finally settled on California Baby's Bubble Bath, Overtired & Cranky Scent.

When deciding which new product should replace an old, chemical-laden one, I look through the entire ingredient list and research each ingredient. The problem with finding a bubble bath was two-fold: I wanted it to be free from preservatives, artificial colors, and strong detergents. And, it had to work well.

  • Preservatives are actually a necessary evil because we want the product to be stable. California Baby uses two different fatty amino acid conjugates as preservatives in this product (caprylyl glycine and undecylenol glycine). These preservatives are antioxidants, which serve to slow the degradation of fats. They do not inhibit bacteria or fungus growing in the product (which I would expect to be minimal anyway).
  • California Baby uses no artificial colors or scents! This product smelled incredible and made the whole bathroom smell fabulously sweet.
  • This bubble bath works! Last night Abby had a bath with so many bubbles, she was joyously calling herself the "Bubble Queen." (This kid really earned it, too; she had been taking water-only soapy baths for about two months now.) It's funny: The company's website says that agitation is needed to get good bubbling, but we had a tubful of suds with no effort. As a scientist, I need to understand how it works without strong detergents to produce the foam like other products. It turns out, yucca and soapbark help two detergents (decyl glucoside and lauryl glucoside) produce foam. These two synthetic detergents seem to be more gentle, biodegradable, and less irritating that most other detergents.

Unfortunately there is not much safety data on these detergents, so I can't assume it is perfectly safe. However, because these are the only two detergent ingredients, this is the best I can do for bubble bath. We agreed bubble baths will be a once-monthly treat, I feel even better about the choice I made.


Going Green: One CafeMom's Natural Transition

Green Home Experiment: Week 2

Green Home Experiment: Week 3

Green Home Experiment: Week 4 

Green Home Experiment: Week 5

Green Home Experiment: Week 6

Green Home Experiment: Week 7

Green Home Experiment: Week 8 (Part 1)

Green Home Experiment: Week 8 (Part 2)

Green Home Experiment: Week 9

Green Home Experiment: Week 10

Read More >