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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.

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. I made these…. they do not work… could hardly smell them …. waste of time.

    • Sorry to hear that you had trouble with them.

      Did you try baking them first and THEN adding oils? If yes, you may not have added enough oils. Or your oils may not have been strong enough.

  2. do i have to have essential oils.? i cant just use the baking soda and water

  3. OH MY GOODNESS! Thank you so much for this (and Pinterest for sending me here)! I am constantly having sinus issues and can’t breath/have headaches, and the only relief I can get is if I put Vicks on before bed, but that gets messy and I can’t use it during the day! I absolutely cannot wait to try this out!
    Now I need to check out what else you’ve put on here!

  4. How do these disks keep? How can or should they be stored?

  5. This is really cool. I saw a friend make these on facebook (she made them into hearts. I’m not a sappy person at all but I instantly was like ‘awwww how cute!!!’. probably something to do with being preggers. lol) Anyway, I looked them up and google brought me here.
    I had one question: Do you think you could use food dye to make a marbled effect? I thought that would be a lovely concept and figured it just washes away anyway.

  6. does it work without the essential oils?

  7. Awesome idea. I am going to make some of these to have on hand, especially during cold/flu season.. ahh!

  8. they took them off the market because when people dropped something in the shower they would bend over to get it and breathe in when they did they were too close to the tab and would pass out… so just hold your breathe if you drop something lol

  9. I LOVE the title of your website, it totally en captures what I am all about. I find it thrilling to be able to find ways to save money, reuse things or make special gifts for little cost. Thank you for this post, I look forward to seeing more. feel free to check out my blog sites too. and

  10. I am earning my master’s degree in the arts of teaching. I just made a big batch of these for my cohorts. We are all starting our field experience this fall and will (probably…most likely) end up with runny “back to school” noses. I had my husband test one before I packaged them up. He doesn’t have a stuffy nose, but was willing to be my guinea pig anyway. His response…”May I have one for tomorrow’s shower too?” I think that pretty much speaks for itself. Thank you, you may have just won me the awesome-house-wife-super-student-teacher-of-the-year award!!!

  11. I made my tablets today and decided bigger was better. WRONG!!! They took forever to bake. Here’s what I figured:

    1 box of baking soda (2 cups)
    2/3 cup of water
    Makes 12 perfect sized tabs. I used a soup spoon to drop the paste into the cups. Start small – it’s easier to add to them than it is to take it out. Also – I didn’t wait until they were cool to add the oils. BIG MISTAKE – especially when I had to bake them longer. Make sure they’re room temp (at least an hour out of the oven) before you add the eo.

    Thanks for the awesome idea!!!

  12. What a cool idea! Thank you for sharing.

  13. I’m making these this weekend…why did it take me so long to find this page???

    BTW, organic EOs are available everywhere online…you’re not going to eat these disks anyway. If you’re picky, look for certified organic EOs. They have accompanying paperwork for sticklers! 😉

  14. Just made a batch tonight, and letting them set overnight. Our whole household is sick and hubby has decided he’s going to get better “naturally” and has refused all sorts of medication and only wants natural remedies. (now if there was just one for all the moaning and whining! 😉 )
    Thanks for the recipe – please feel free to drop by my blog, I’ll be giving you a shout-out there.

  15. I was wondering if I would just make lavander ones if it would help my husband sleep when he showers before bed. He works MIDS and has a terrible time sleeping.

  16. I just made these, and I don’t know if I needed to put more oils in, or what, but when I “test-drove” them in the shower, I couldn’t smell the oils at all. I followed the directions just as you have them….kinda bummed that it didn’t work out for me! I think I may experiment with the amount of oils that I’m putting in..

    Any suggestions? 🙂

    • Did you add the oils before or after baking them?

    • I actually didn’t bake them, I let them sit outside in the sun until they hardened. Maybe I did something wrong…I was really looking forward to having these for my boyfriend, because his allergies get so bad! Thoughts? 🙂

    • I actually didn’t bake them…I went with the original recipe. I am thinking that I need to try baking them..

  17. I may be making these tomorrow since I’ve seemed to have found a way to activate my allergies in the past week… THIS SUCKS!!!!
    But glad to know that I can make these and not have to worry about it.

    To the PP who asked about the EO’s at Walmart, I’m not sure but the Walmart here doesn’t carry the EO’s… they are scents for candles and such and not actually EO… Not sure if that would be all walmarts or not. Pay attention to the packaging and the name… Lavendar Scent or Lavender Essential Oil…

  18. great tips.. Im gonna try it now

  19. Sounds great, but Lavender gives me migraines.

  20. Made a batch last night for my husband (man cold, yes) and am dropping some off to my mom tonight (chronic sinusitis). I found them hard to get out of the paper liners? Maybe I baked them too long?

    • The liners I use are “If You Care” brand and they’re almost like wax paper and peeled right off. You can find them in the hippy section of most grocery stores, or perhaps online.

  21. The last I knew CVS still have their own brand I found them even though the pharmacist had know idea what I was talking about but I am so happy to make my own cause it will be a lot cheaper! Thanks!

  22. Could I use liquid Vicks in place of oils. I loved these in Vicks brand used them all the time but can not find them anymore. Thank you for posting

    • I assume yes, but I believe you’re not supposed to heat Vicks oil. I’d make the amended recipe in my original post (just baking soda and water baked) and THEN add your Vicks oil before each use.

  23. thank u so much for this my nose with enjoy

  24. Where can I buy an Essential oils: eucalyptus, rosemary, and lavender? I would like to try this but I need to know first. Is it good for Sinus headache if you use this?

    • You can click on the names of those oils in my original post and it would take you to Amazon to buy them. For full disclosure, I’m an Amazon affiliate so if you purchase them through those links, I earn a small percentage. I only link products that I use myself and love.

  25. I make something like this for when I get tension headaches.
    Same idea, bu add peppermint oil with eucalyptus and lavender. Doesn’t cure the headache but takes away most of the pain!