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Homemade Vicks Soother Tablets {Shower Soothers)

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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. 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.

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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. Love the recipe, thanks for sharing! I will share this with the moms on my fb pages Essential oils are awesome!!…those that are 100% pure that is 🙂

  2. I want to make these and I was just curious if I can use the muffin tin I have or if I should get a separate one for non-food items?

  3. love this idea, just wondering if they are safe for use in septic systems?

  4. I just love this. Yes the essential oils due over time evaporate but what I do is add a little vicks vapor (for the humidifier) just before throwing in the shower. Works great. I also found that it is best to just let them dry out on their own instead of baking them.

  5. I have read through the comments more than once and I was just curious if anyone had luck without baking them. I would rather just mix it all together and let them sit out to harden. Also, has anyone found that a specific size worked better? I just bought several silicone baking trays of various sizes from Jo-Anns with 50% off coupons. Hooray for savings! Now ready to create because I have severe indoor and outdoor allergies as well as already having had a few colds this fall/winter (I’m on my second round of antibiotics). Thanks so much in advance!

  6. Pinterest FAIL!!!!!! More like shower powder than a disk:(

  7. Also AWESOME. I made these yesterday, too, in addition to the lip balm you posted! I am in love with this. SO helpful. And my Christmas gifts are done:) I used Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and an oil called Cold and Flu (which was a freebie with my order), and they smell wonderful.

  8. I get bronchitis and have sinus problems. I was devastated when Vicks removed these from the market, so THANKS SO MUCH for this post. One question though, could you substitute the oils for Vicks? Just wondering cause I have Vicks on hand and am in dire need of these right now!

  9. Hi All!

    I made these – followed both directions one for baking and one for leaving out…. i tried both pucks and got 0 result… any suggestions? I double checked that i had good quality oils and that i did everything right…. i seem to be the only one having trouble!!


  10. This is a great idea! going to make these for christmas- how can i store them so they last? can you wrap them in candy foil?

  11. Just letting yall know that you can use the menthol liquid that you use in a the vicks humidifier and it works WONDERS! I made them for my mom who swears vicks is a miracle cure for everything, and she loves them.

  12. Just made a batch!! Thanks for the post.

  13. Mine did not fizzle. What do I need to add?

  14. Mine did NOT fizzle. What do I need to add??

  15. I was looking up shower soother tablets when I came across your blog. I am so glad I did! I have a little one who is extremely congested & though I use the vapor bath while running our little steam room, it just doesn’t do it good enough. I am going to make a batch with one extra ingredient, peppermint oil. It is in the Little Remedies chest rub as an additional decongestant so I thought…why not! Thank you for posting this!!!

  16. Speaking of peppermint! you could brew strong peppermint tea, cool it, and use it as the water added to the baking soda! just a thought! but it would add a wonderful menthol sent. Celestial Seasonings is the best i’ve used. haven’t made the pucks yet, just drinking the tea!

  17. I’ve tried both ways and both of mine crumble! 🙁 What am I doing wrong? Plus, the cupcake liners stick to it… 🙁 I am a severe allergy sufferer, and I need these… Any suggestions?

  18. Great idea!!!
    Thanks for sharing

  19. Thank you! I work at a pharmacy and used to buy the Sudacare Shower Soothers all the time and was so upset when they stopped selling them. I get really bad colds that skip gleefully through bronchitis and end in pneumonia in a week, a result of bad colds every winter for at least 15 years, and the old Soothers really helped. I’ve been hording my last Soother for a few years now, and now I don’t have to! I can’t wait to try making these.

  20. I found the oils at Hobby Lobby – just made them tonight. Can’t wait to see the dried project tomorrow! FUN

  21. I just made some! Is it safe to use with kids? My 22 month old was up all night last night with a stuffed up nose 🙁

  22. I just made some but was wondering if it was safe to use with kids. My 22 month old was up all night with a stuffy nose 🙁 oh and I found you on pinterest 🙂

  23. This is great! Found these @ CVS today, but wasn’t willing to pay $10 for 3 of them. Will definitely be making these tomorrow!!

  24. Just a big suggestions if you are pregnant DO NOT use these without talking to your doctor and doing research. Some EO can cause birth defects and even miscarriages at ALL points in your pregnancy. I heard this A LOT and never used any and my mom was looking for a way to help my dad get better and found all the list of oils and researched them to find most were harmefull to pregnant women.

  25. I just found your site on TipJunkie and it came at the perfect time, I’ve got the flu and needed something to make me feel better, you are hysterical I’ve been laughing, coughing, laughing for about an hour now, I think my husband is ready to send me to the looney bin. You have been bookmarked…thanks

  26. I just made these and they smell wonderful! The only problem I had with these was baking them at 350 for 20 mins. They were bubbling in the oven (so I lowered the temp to 300) and were very difficult to remove from the pan. Once I got them out, they basically crumbled and fell apart. So…I mashed them up with a little more water and re-poured them into smaller, mini muffin liners and will let them air dry and see what happens!

  27. This sounds great, but I am wondering if the scents burn anyone’s eyes?

  28. what a lovely idea will be making some of these also i use to work in a tanning,Tattoo and piercing studio and we used essential oils all the time especially lavender for the belly button piercings and would tell the people to use the lavender after they cleaned the area. because it is a natural antiseptic.when using it they applied it with a qtip

  29. If you have asthma or a chronic lung condition.. do NOT use the rosemary oil. Eucalyptus oil has the same antiviral properties. Rosemary oil can cause bronco spasms (worsen the cough).. Also if your child gets croup “All the time”. You might be looking at asthma. I have learned that an asthma attack looks exactly like pneumonia on an xray. ~Amber

  30. Thank you soooo much for this post! I found you on Pinterest just browsing! I used these bad boys when Vicks made them, bought 1 box then they are no where to be found anymore! The way I’m feeling currently I could def use these!
    I am very excited to try making my own! 🙂 thanks again!

  31. Tea tree oil would be great too

  32. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you! I love these things for my son and now my grandson but can rarely find them in the stores where I live. Now, I won’t have to. So excited!!!

  33. Hi
    I would like to make these in a silicone mini muffin pan.
    Could you please tell me how long I should leave it in the oven
    Thanks Pat

  34. Me and my husband fell in love with the vicks tablets but most of the stores around our area stopped selling them! Thank you so much for posting this! HE will be so excited!

  35. Oh! Aren’t you wonderful! I’m making these as soon as possible! Thank you so much!
    I’m also following your blog from now on!

  36. I get sinus migraines… But am allergic to lavender … So hopefully… It will help me…lol

  37. I have a thing of Vicks sitting around. Can I use that in my discs instead of going out and buying the EOS?

  38. I made these and used two days in a row. I have allergies and a chronic sinus infection. On day 1 I was breathing better than I had in years. After day 2 my nose was a bit runny for about a week. About three weeks later I’m still breathing better. It’s been so long since I was able to breathe through my nose I almost forgot what it felt like! I did find out that the cafeteria at work has some odd smells. These are awesome and I can’t thank you enought for sharing the recipe. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  39. has anyone made the vapor cakes with “Vicks Vapo rub” as the EO. It would certainly open up the sinus are. would it work when making a vapor cake or has no one tried it?

  40. When you say 15 drops of EO, is that a mixture of the 3 oils you mentioned or does it mean any one of those three by itself?

  41. instead of or along with you could put a teaspoon of the vicks liquid used in voporizers in this and it would really be close to the vicks tabs. just a thought. I use that in my shower sometimes.

  42. I think you could also use the Vicks liquid used in the vaporizer. just a teaspoon should work. I use it in the shower sometimes. will try it with that and see if it works. could use with or instead of the oils.

  43. Rosemary should not be used if you’re pregnant. Could cause premature labor or miscarriage.

  44. great idea, but croup shouldn’t be taken into heat.. cold air is better for it

  45. I was so excited to find this recipe for clearing my sinuses so I made it right away. I followed the recipe exactly. Baked at 350 for 20 minutes then added the EO after the disks cooled. My problem is that the muffin papers stuck to the pan and I can’t get them out without crumbling the disks apart. Any ideas?

  46. i just made these… i used mini foil liners vs the giant cupcakes.. since we have wee ones that take 2 min. showers and we are not in for long… i have not tried.. just took them out of the oven… and after adding the EO.. my house smells amazing and i can breathe, and i dont have a cold!!! will try on my 5 yr old soon for shower night since she is soooo stuffy!!! thanks for this!!!

  47. fyi – this same post popped up at
    with almost exactly your text and your pics.

  48. Made some of these last night. Mixed the water and baking soda last night and put them in the oven with the light on over night. They dried nicely. Before I used one I put EO in it. I’m making more now but they are a little bigger so they last longer in the shower. Love this idea. Thank you!

  49. I use 2 to 1 soda and powdered citric acid (also called sour salt) and put the oils in a spray bottle with witch hazel . spray and mix till the mixture clumps up . I make balls but the muffin tin idea is great. this makes more of a foaming affect ,and if you get it even close to right they won’t fall apart. can also add a bit of tea tree oil and oil of menthol as well. Just a few ideas for variation . hope you don’t mind . A great place for the essential oils is Puritan’s Pride, most of the time you buy 1 bottle and get 2 free , and they have a huge selection all pharmaceutical grade oils

  50. can I make these without the rosemary and they still work?