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Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets {Shower Soothers)

Perfect for cold and flu season, use these Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets to clear your stuffy nose and relieve sinus pressure naturally. This is the original Vicks Soother Tablets recipe online and uses natural essential oils to help relieve head colds without chemicals. This shower soother recipe also includes instructions for making these tablets with kid-safe oils.

homemade vicks soother tablets with rosemary and a bowl of lavender

Do you remember the commercials for the Vicks Vapor shower tablets thingies?  You’d put one of the disks in your shower, and voila thanks to the vapors in it, you’re magically healed, your cold is gone, and your face is shockingly free of snot.

I always used to watch the “Noxema girl” splashing water on her face in those commercials and wondered how she was able to wash her face without being completely overrun with boogers.

I’m the only one? Yes? I’m stuck in the ’90s? Ok, moving along then…

What Ingredients Are In Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets?

Please note, you will NOT see cornstarch in this recipe for a very specific reason. Cornstarch is horrible for clogging drains and is a plumbing nightmare!

The oils I buy from Plant Therapy have worked well for me, are affordable, and available on Amazon. I do not sell essential oils and am not part of any MLM organization. If you have an oil brand that you prefer, please feel free to use those!

Jars of arrowroot and baking soda and bottles of essential oils

Is There a Kidsafe Version?

Yes! The main essential oils in these Vicks Soother Tablets are not safe for kids under 12. If you have younger kiddos, Plant Therapy makes a Kid Safe Sniffle Stopper. Use 30 drops of that in place of the lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus oils.

Can I Just Use Vicks?

My preference is always for a natural version of anything I am using for my health, which is why I use the essential oils. If oils are not in the cards for you, sub in 4 tbsp of Vicks Vapor Rub for the essential oils.

If you have kids under two, please make sure you use Baby Vicks Vapor Rub.

Can I Use Herbs Instead of Oils?

Yes, but you will need a large amount to replace the potency of the essential oils. You would want to use 2 tbsp (chopped) of each herb.

Can I Use Fragrance Oils?

I would not use them. Essential oils have medicinal properties, whereas fragrance oils are just there to give you the scent.

How Do I Use Shower Soothers?

You will want to place one on the floor of your shower. If you put it in the direct spray of the shower it will likely dissolve more quickly but give you a more intense hit of the oils.

Alternatively, you can put it in the direct spray while your shower is heating up, and then scoot it over to the side when you jump in. Or walk in, because jumping into a slippery shower seems kind of beetle-headed. I mean, you’re already stuffed up, why risk a concussion?

How To Store Shower Soothers

If you’re using them for yourself, throw them in an air-tight container and toss them in a cupboard or bathroom closet. If you’re gifting them for friends or family, an 8 oz jam jar with a ribbon tied around it would be cute!

How Long Do Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets Last?

Without herbs added to the mix, the shower soothers will last indefinitely. However, the strength of the essential oils will fade in a month or so. To store longterm, you can make them without the oils and add 2-3 drops of each oil just prior to using.

How to Make Soother Tablets

*Detailed and printable recipe card is available at the bottom of the post

In a mixing bowl, combine baking soda, arrowroot powder, water, and 15 drops of each of the lavendereucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils to the mixture. Stir until the mixture forms a thick paste. Pro tip: it should be thick and viscous and with some water remaining on the top.

Two photos showing how to make vicks soother tablets

Scoop the paste into a muffin tin lined with muffin cups or a silicone muffin tin.

two photos showing mixing the base and the base in muffin tins for homemade vicks soother tablets

Bake at 250 degrees until hardened – about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can set them out overnight for 12-18 hours.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes

  • Your soothers may still be a bit squishy after baking. They should harden as they cool. If you use silicone muffin tins, the bottom of the tablets may be sponge-like. That’s totally normal.
  • If you leave your shower tablets out overnight to harden, please keep them in a safe place away from pets.
  • A silicone muffin tin (always available at thrift stores!) makes it super easy to remove the shower tabs once cooled. If you want to use a traditional muffin tin, definitely use a cupcake liner. However, you may still have a hard time removing the tab from the liner. I love these compostable cupcake liners because nothing sticks to them!

three homemade vicks soother tablets with rosemary and lavender


  • Feel free to add a little food coloring if you want to jazz up the appearance of these shower soothers.
  • If you want to use the essential oils and also use some herbs to make them look cute, add the herbs to the top of the mixture after you have filled the muffin tin. I found out the hard way that pouring the mixture over the herbs results in them turning brown after baking. Your shower soothers may end up looking muddy or moldy. Gross!
  • If you have an oil combination that you love, feel free to adapt the recipe to fit your preferences. Peppermint and eucalyptus combined are both great for clearing sinuses and perking you up! If you shower at night and want a calming soother, lavender is great for bedtime. I love Plant Therapy’s Sleep Aid blend.

These homemade Vicks Soother Tablets are wonderful to have around for cold and flu season, and I use them during the four months a year when my allergies are on full display.

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

homemade vicks soother tablets with rosemary and a bowl of lavender
4.93 from 13 votes
Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets {Shower Soothers)
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
30 mins

Perfect for cold and flu season, use these Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets to clear your stuffy nose and relieve sinus pressure naturally and without chemicals. 

Course: DIY
Servings: 12
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine baking soda, arrowroot powder, water, and 15 drops of each of the lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oil to the mixture. Stir until the mixture forms a thick paste.

  2. Add 15 drops of each of the lavender, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oil to the mixture.  Scoop the paste into a muffin tin lined with muffin cups or a silicone muffin tin.

  3. Bake at 250 degrees until hardened - about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can set them out overnight for 12-18 hours. Store in an air-tight container until needed.

  4. Remove from the paper liner prior to using, and place on the floor of your shower. Breathe deeply, and enjoy.

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This post on homemade Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets {Shower Soothers) was originally published in March 2012. I’ve updated it in December 2018 with new photos, details, and instructions. For reference, this is one of the photos from the original post:

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689 comments on “Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets {Shower Soothers)”

  1. omg i so trying these so cool super easy and natural PERFECT!!

  2. I guess I am real new at this, but do you just drop the disk in the bottom of the shower and let the warm water melt it and release the oils?

  3. I love this idea and since I am fast in the shower too I think I will try them with the mini muffin tins – thanks for this.

  4. This is an amazing idea!! I know it’s probably already been said in the above comments but where can you get the essential oils?? Like are they in stores? Thank you!

  5. I’m wondering how to get my 3 yr old to inhale these, since he’s usually more congested right before bed time, and they’re to be used in the shower? how do I use it in another way other than the shower?

  6. mine dissolve in 1 minute… where do I go wrong?

  7. These kinds of pucks could be hung from a net bag from a shelf, the shower head or handles or a hook on the wall. The last longer when not actually in the water on the bottom of the shower.

  8. Can I do this with just Eucalyptus Oil for my husband to destress at night?

  9. I can’t make them smell. I even tried doubling the essential oil drops. What am I doing wrong? Made a bunch for christmas without trying them. No smell!!

  10. When making ours we tried using both silicone and paper baking cups. The paper was almost impossible to get off. Do you know if they would release easier if we sprayed Pam on the baking cups before baking them? (Or some other type of spay oil?)

  11. Made these tonight only I didn’t want to pay the ridiculous amount my esoteric store wanted to charge for rosemary oil so instead I got some fresh, wild growing sprigs and added those to the top… it may not be as potent as the oils but it sure does look pretty 🙂

  12. I made these all last winter and have now been requested to make them again (by 9 yr old daughter) as they help her breathe – thank you for posting this – I’m sharing with family this Christmas!

  13. I took this wonderful idea one step further….in addition to making the decongestant pucks, I also made some “aromatherapy pucks”. I substituted the essential oils for others (lavender, rose, lemon, orange, etc.) and followed the same procedure as above. Now I choose one “flavour” before my shower, and start my day with the enlightening aroma of rose, or lemon, etc.

  14. i dont know if this thread it too old to still comment, but i am wanting to make these for my partner’s family for christmas and was wondering what the significance to adding the essential oils after the baking soda/water mix. does the oil loose scent if its left out to dry with the puck? i want these to be perfect! thanks!

  15. Question: what about TeaTree Oil. It is also anti viral.. Can I use this also in a blend with EO’S as peppermint, rosemary, lavender? Thx for the wonderful work you’ve been doing for all of us!!! I’m grateful to that.. xxx

  16. These are great! I feels so slow having just found these, and I heard about then from another parent at my sons school, as its cold season now. I did wonder though, if there was a way to add color to them? I’m reluctant to try food color because I don’t want to stain skin, but is there something out there I could use? Has anyone else tried adding color?

  17. From the dates on the latest posts it looks like I am way behind but…….thought I’d ask my stupid question anyway. I am making up sets of Mason Jar gifts for family and close friends for the holidays this year. I would like to include a jar of these in each set. Now for the stupid question….do I remove the paper liners before I put them in the jars or leave them on for the person to remove just before they use them?

  18. Like so many of you, I have used the SudaCare tablets and was sad to learn they were discontinued. I’m glad I stumbled across this recipe. Has anyone tried adding a drop or two of food coloring? Would make a nice “get well” gift with card. Will try it.

  19. Has anyone suggested using a drop or two of food coloring? I think I’m going to try these, wrap them in some clear cellophane and give as a “Get Well” gift with card. Not to mention keeping plenty on hand for me!

  20. Im going to make these soon. I think ill use a blend R.C. which stands fkr Respritory/ Congestion. Basically many types of eucalytus. Thieves is a fantastic blend.

  21. You could easily use the bath bomb recipe for these too, no?

    Its 2:1 baking soda to citric acid, add water til they stick. Obiviously add the oils to the dry mixture. That way you dont need to bake it, you just let the mixture air dry cause you only add a small amount of water. You can also use witch hazel but for a steamy shower it seems a waste. For a bath bomb its good cause its nice on the skin.

  22. do you think it would be safe to put the oils in a humidifier?

  23. when you store them, do you store them with the paper cup still on and remove it just before you use it in the shower, or do you take off the paper cup for storage?

    • I also saw a question about freezing them, although did not notice an answer – can they be frozen if you make a whole bunch? could this extend the life of the EO as opposed to just storing in a cool dry place?

  24. Also, lavender allergy DOES exist, and it is real, and it has NOTHING to do with the brand you used. All oils are therapeutic by nature, just because a company claims something does not make it the truth. There are also no rules or regulations regarding terminology in the Essential Oil world, words like “certified” are only certified by that company and mean nothing. Learning about EOs dot com has tons of information from non-biased individuals and we’ve done private testing as well in regard to the purity of oils, no one company has the market cornered on having the purest oils, that’s just a lie the reps are told, and the reps repeat it unknowingly.

  25. There was a version of these on the market years ago called Shower Soothers. I haven’t been able to find them in a long time. Thanks for this version. They were extremely helpful for a little girl with chronic sinus problems.

    Also for the bath at one time was Healing Gardens cold remedy. Don’t know if they make that anymore either. Was really nice for the bath.