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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. I made these this weekend, as I have a major head cold and I thought they were junk. 🙁 So disappointed. Not only did they stick to my cupcake liners, when they did come out, they completely crumbled in my hand (and I did do the baking suggestion you had on there). So I just put the crumbled pile in my shower and never once did I smell a hint of the oils. 🙁 Oh well, at least I tried.

    • I’m sorry to hear that you had trouble with them working. However, I’ve had great success with them as have others. To come on here and call them junk makes me think you need more hugs in your life.

      I hope your cold feels better. If you have a sore throat, track down Fisherman’s Friend in peppermint. Fisherman’s Friend are the best cough drops but taste like ass. The peppermint is a huge improvement on the taste.

  2. question for you… do the disks have to sitin paper cups or can you use those silicone molds? And what about adding food coloring?

  3. Can we just buy the ones you put in the tub from you? If so how and how much?

  4. I just finished mine and put Vicks vapo steam on them. I took them out of the muffin wpapper things and they crumpled. I don’t know how I am going to make them more solid, any ideas?

  5. What can I use other than esential oils??? I do not have any.

  6. Are these the same oils that you use for fragrances like scentsy or those that you burn with a candle?

  7. I found you hrough Pinterest…thank you so much!

  8. Maybe I did something wrong but this didn’t work for me. I used fresh rosemary instead because I couldn’t find any rosemary oil. I did the baking method, added drops again after baking, and for some reason it didn’t really steam up for me. I tried this two days in a row, and it sort of made a bit clearer breathing once I dumped the whole thing into hot water with the drain plugged (about 2-3 inches water) but nothing like what I was hoping.

  9. This is the only recipe I’ve found that doesn’t call for citric acid…is that a necessary component? I’d like to make them without it (like this recipe) if not! thanks!

  10. Hi, I am going to make them for a non profit crafts fair and need to know how much should each disk cost?

    • It would depend on where you get your supplies. I get 13 lbs of baking soda at Costco for about $6.50. The essential oils will be your biggest expense, so again it depends on where you purchase them.

      Ballpark, I’m guessing under $.15 each to make max.

  11. My 3 year old daughter was sleeping last night and I noticed she sounded like she was getting a cold. I seen this on Pinterest the prior night. So, I went on and found it, and noticed I didn’t have any of the oils you suggested. So, I added Vicks Vapo Steam. My husband thinks I’m a rocket scientist now! I made a bunch and put them in a zip lock. This will be in my house at all times now! I highly recommend adding the Vicks Vapo Steam. It is sure to make your family feel better!

  12. I made a batch and baked them but the paper is sticking to them and when I try to peel it off they fall apart. Any hints?

  13. After I bake them and let them cool I have a horrible time getting the paper off, any hints?

    • The liners I use are If You Care brand and they’re almost like waxed paper. You could always hit up Goodwill for a silicone muffin pan and they should pop right out.

  14. I am so glad I found this. I used those vick’s ones a lot and was upset when they quit making them.

  15. Are these mini muffin size or standard? Love this!

  16. Trying to bake my second batch of these these now…not convinced that they aren’t going to be crumbly like the first batch. Just wondering if it would work to just put essential oils on a sponge or washcloth or something and then just place that in the back of the shower????

  17. I have tried this a few times now… and have yet to get actual “pucks” I have no idea what everyone else is doing, but I have tried a few different ways including the recipe at the bottom, and this just isn’t working for me. I’m not sure why but the water always floats to the top and the baking soda falls to the bottom, no matter how much I mix it. I also had a really bad incident where even though I used muffin liners, they stuck to the pan, liner and all, I still don’t know what I did wrong lol! Maybe God just doesnt want me to have these.

    • I’m so sorry it hasn’t worked out for you! I wish we were neighbors, and then I’d just give you some of mine.

      I wonder if you might want to use a silicone muffin pan (Goodwill would be a good place to find this cheaply) and leave it out overnight to dry a bit, and then bake it?

  18. Does it matter where you store these?

  19. Can i use peppermint oil instead of rosemary?

  20. Sorry if this is a duplicate comment… I couldn’t read throught all of the comments. :). Have you had trouble with them being stuck in the liner and stuck in the muffin tin? I used cupcake liners, but they are all stuck to the pan… To where when I try to pry them out, they break into pieces. Do I need to throw them out or can I start over by adding water to them again? I did bake them per your addendum to original post. Thanks!!

    • My liners are hippy liners (If You Care brand) which is almost like a wax paper, so mine peeled out easily. If yours aren’t, I think breaking them up would be fine.

      You might want to hit up a Goodwill and get a silicone muffin pan ($2 tops) because then you can make these in those non-stick containers and pop them out.

  21. are you supposed to take them out of the cupcake wrapper before putting in shower?

  22. Am I the only one who just rubs Vicks vaporub on my chest and then takes a shower?

  23. Definitely going to try this! I’m extremely allergic to lavender unfortunately 🙁 So I will be trying this with peppermint instead. I’m allergic to “life” as my husband says lol. Thank you for sharing this!

  24. You are flipping hilariously funny when you write! Thanks for your brilliant IDEAS!

  25. I was just wondering what I can do to keep the muffin liners from tearing apart. I had to throw out half of my pucks because they were so soft I couldn’t get them out of the tin. They were moist. I used the updated recipe–1 C Baking Soda and 1/3 C water. I baked them for 20 minutes at 350, as instructed, before adding the oils. I’m not sure what I did wrong. Please help!