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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. 

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.


4.93 from 13 ratings

Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets {Shower Soothers)

Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
homemade vicks soother tablets with rosemary and a bowl of lavender
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. 



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

Additional Info

Course: DIY
Tried this recipe?Mention @sustainablecooks or tag #sustainablecooks!

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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About Sarah

Helping you serve up budget-friendly sustainable recipes with a side of balanced living.
Come for the food. Stay for the snark.

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  1. I just made of batch of them using the updated method. With dogs aroung a small house, I didn’t want to leave them to dry and then find all kinds of hairs in the pucks!! They turned out really nice, I’m hoping to make some as Christmas gifts, hope they’ll last. Although many comments from others were very useful =)

  2. I made these last night and put them in the frezer over night. When I took them out they didn’t set right. Is it to lay to start over? Can I put the back in a bowl and add more water?

  3. I’m going to try this with Olbas Oil which is a Inhalant Decongestant available in the UK,it’s a mix of cajuput oil, clove oil, eucalyptus oil, juniper berry oil and levomenthol. It will be great to be able to breathe again!
    If that doesn’t do the trick I’m going to have to learn how to do the neti pot, but it sounds a bit scary. If you read in the papers someone has drowned in salt water and snot it’s probably me!

  4. I tried making a bunch of these today because I have a terrible case of the sickies that I just cannot shake, and I was devastated when I got into the shower tonight and by the time I had counted to twelve, my disc had completely dissolved. Found a CVS brand of discs, going to try those to see if they last longer.

  5. Drops of reality here! This is not frugal at all! Last I checked (11/20/14) You could buy the knock off version of theses at CVS for $3.99 for three. Or roughly $1.33 each. One 5 ml bottle of quality essential oil (approx 85 drops) costs around 15-25 dollars each, break that into 5ths (roughly the yield from one bottle) and you get a cost of about $3. for six little pucks.

    Okay, you are thinking.. that’s about right (better actually right? twice as much and you control the ingredients!) Except that you are not using 15 drops of essential oil. You are using 45. Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Lavender. Suddenly the cost of each puck goes from a measly 50 cents to approx $1.80 a piece, and that is not figuring in the other minor ingredients, and more importantly, the major one; TIME! While you were DIYing these your children were watching TV.

    I love that we control the ingredients, and if your children are “helping” you make these, the benefits (ingredient control & spending time with your little ones) may outweigh the costs. But please, everyone, remember to cost out every fun little pintrest hack, in terms of both money, and TIME. You may find that reading to your child for that hour returns more benefits than ??saving?? a few pennies off an acceptable alternative.

  6. Great idea – but as a mom of a chronic group kid the reason you stand in the bathroom with the shower running on hot is to loosen the vocal chords up – and then you sit outside in the winter wrapped in a blanket or three to help shrink the vocal chords. Croup is a virus – like a cold – but it affects the vocal chords swelling the throat shut. Nasty stuff – especially when you live a long way from the doc!!

  7. Just from experience, my son had croup all the time. I finally questioned his doctor about having it so many times a year and the doctor informed me that children only get croup a few times at most in thier whole life. Repetitive croup is actually early signs of asthma and certain asthma, like the one my son has, never changes. We started treating him for his asthma and the croup is almost non existent. Only when he gets a cold orb is around any kind of smoke. Find in out it was asthma and not croup was life changing. Poor guy is no where near as sick as he was. So if any child has repetitive croup, they need to be tested for asthma. Good luck.

  8. baking BAKING SODA changes the chemical compound into WASHING SODA.
    so I personally wouldn’t bake it.. rather I would add more baking soda to thicken.. or less water 🙂

  9. I have young kiddos. Be careful. Eucalyptus isn’t supposed to be used on kids under 10 and Rosemary isn’t supposed to be used on kids under age 6. Be sure to do your safety research. Otherwise, great idea.