How To Make Shower Steamers That Actually Work (for cold and aromatherapy)

 

In this post, I will show you how to make aromatherapy shower steamers that actually work! I will also teach you how to make menthol shower steamers for colds. It is pretty easy once you have the right recipes and I have a couple prepared for you 😉

3 different types of DIY shower melts with lavender, citrus and menthol

What I will cover in this post:

What is a shower steamer

How to use them

How to make them, including: 

DIY shower steamers for colds + recipe 

DIY aromatherapy shower steamers + recipe

Detailed instructions on how to make shower steamers of any kind

Save for later:

three different kind of homemade shower steamers

 

What is a shower steamer?

If you like the idea of bath bombs but prefer taking showers, then you will love shower steamers. They are like bath bombs, except that they contain no moisturizing oils for the skin. Instead, they contain a high amount of essential oils or fragrance to provide an awesome aromatherapy experience.

 

How to use shower steamers

Start a shower and get your bathroom nice and steamy. Place a shower steamer on the shower floor. You want your shower fizzie to be out of the direct stream of water, but close enough for little splashes of water to hit it. 

The water will activate the fizzing reaction and release the fragrant essential oils into the air. This will create an amazing aromatherapy session right there in your shower.

Another option is to place your shower fizzy in an organza bag and hang it on the wall. The scent will be stronger this way as it is closer to your nose. 

 

How to make shower steamers

There are two main types of shower steamers: aromatherapy shower steamers and the shower steamers for colds. Both are made in the same way, but the first one is designed to improve your mood and the second one to decongest your nose. In this post, I will show you how to easily make and modify both.

homemade shower melts with menthol and essential oils

 

DIY shower steamers for colds and sinus relief

Menthol shower steamers are great for clearing out sinuses. They are made with sinus-clearing ingredients like menthol, peppermint, and eucalyptus. These ingredients combined with hot shower water create soothing steam that eases coughs and congestion. It is a great way to get relief from the flu or allergies.

The key ingredient in these DIY shower steamers is menthol. It is the strongest ingredient and provides the most relief. If you’re interested, you can read more about using menthol crystals for cough and congestion here

Menthol is often paired with sinus-clearing essential oils such as eucalyptus and peppermint oil. But you can also mix in other essential oils. For example, citrus scents go very well with mint, while lavender could help you relax before bedtime.

Menthol shower steamers for sinus relief

 

Menthol shower steamers recipe

1 cup of Baking soda

1/3 cup Citric acid

1/4 cup of Cornstarch

15 g Menthol crystals

40 drops of Essential oils (20 drops of Peppermint & 20 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil is a classic sinus relief blend)

Witch Hazel or 91% Alcohol in a Spray Bottle

molds (silicone baking molds, large ice cube trays, halves of bath bomb molds and similar)

mica powder for color (optional)

 

Baking soda and citric acid will create a fizzing reaction, while cornstarch will make your fizzy steamers harder. Cornstarch can be substituted with white clay or cream of tartar.

(tutorial on how to make this recipe is at the end of the post)

 

Silver stripes on menthol shower steamers

Take a little container, then mix silver glitter mica and rubbing alcohol. You only need a little bit of rubbing alcohol to reach a creamy consistency. Then, take a little brush, dip it in the mica and brush over the shower steamers.

 

DIY aromatherapy shower steamers

Aromatherapy shower steamers are packed with fragrant essential oils that are released into the hot steam when the steamer is activated. It works like a diffuser turning your shower into an aromatherapy spa.

Making shower fizzies yourself means that you can take full advantage of the aromatherapy benefits. You can customize and use essential oils that match your wishes.

I personally have two favorite aromatherapy essential oil blends that I use in my shower steamers:

“Let’s have things done today” 3  Bergamot : 2 Sweet Orange : 1 Eucalyptus

“Relax” –   3 Sweet Orange : 2 Lavender

If you don’t yet have your own stack of essential oils, have a look at this set of essential oils that includes orange and lavender for relaxing steamers and peppermint and eucalyptus for sinus clearing steamers. It is often cheaper to get sets than separate bottles.

 

Now the important part.

Many DIY shower steamer recipes include the “base” (baking soda, citric acid…) of the shower steamer and essential oils. But, essential oils alone will not create the effect you are expecting.

The title of this post promises to teach you how to make shower steamers that actually work, so I will reveal the secret … 

 

… aromatherapy shower steamers need menthol crystals too!

Why? Menthol crystals amplify the scent of essential oils and help them to get released into the air. This is the only way to make aromatherapy steamers that are strong enough to smell them.

I experimented with using essential oils only and it didn’t work well. I ended up using A LOT of essential oils for a small effect. It was expensive and wasteful.

Purple DIY shower steamer with lavender essential oils made with halves of bath bomb mold
DIY lavender shower steamers

 

DIY aromatherapy shower steamers 

1 cup of Baking Soda

1/3 cup Citric Acid

1/4 cup of Cornstarch

10 g Menthol crystals

60 drops of Essential oils of your choice

Witch Hazel or 91% Alcohol in a Spray Bottle

molds (silicone baking molds, large ice cube trays, halves of bath bomb molds and similar)

mica powder for color (optional)

 

Making shower steamers: detailed instructions

 

1. Start by dissolving your menthol crystals. Place them in a cup and add the essential oils. Essential oils will dissolve the menthol crystals. To make the process faster or if you don’t want to use essential oils, use rubbing alcohol to melt the menthol.

2. In a large bowl, combine baking soda, citric acid and cornstarch.

3. Mix in the dissolved menthol and essential oils.

4. Add color. Just like with bath bombs, it is important to mix all the ingredients well. I always start by mixing with a whisk and finish mixing with hands.

5. The final mixture should resemble damp sand. Squeeze it in your palm. If the mixture stays together, it’s ready. If it crumbles, spray some alcohol/witch hazel, mix and try again.

testing if bath bomb mix is ready

6. Take your molds and pack them tightly with the mixture. Keep the mixture in the mold for a minute and then remove from the mold to dry.

7. Let the shower steamers dry overnight. Make sure they are not exposed to any moisture to prevent citric acid from activating. I like to place some dry rice around my steamers while drying. Rice absorbs moisture allowing my fizzies to dry nicely.

8. Something to be aware of is that some of the scent will disappear while drying. I know. Life is unfair. To compensate for the lost scent, add a couple of drops of essential oils to the finished steamers. Ideally somewhere on the bottom, so it wouldn’t be seen.

9. Once fully dry, your shower steamers are ready to be used. Store them in a dry place. You can keep them in an airtight container.

 

Here is a shorter version of the recipe instructions for printing:

43 thoughts on “How To Make Shower Steamers That Actually Work (for cold and aromatherapy)

  • August 20, 2019 at 9:32 pm
    Permalink

    I am so glad I found you 🙂
    Now I know why I was losing scent on my bath bombs. Hope we can get the stuff we need down here in Kwazulu Natal!

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge 🙂

    Reply
    • June 4, 2020 at 7:14 am
      Permalink

      Can you make shower steamers with natural orange juice

      Reply
    • July 10, 2020 at 3:56 pm
      Permalink

      Can you put palmers cocoa butter in bath bomb mixture for scent?

      Reply
  • September 18, 2019 at 6:04 pm
    Permalink

    What are mentrol crystals and where can they be purchased?

    Reply
  • October 19, 2019 at 10:25 pm
    Permalink

    Hi, I have been looking for a good recipe for shower melts and found your post and I will definitely try your shower melts. I just have a few questions:
    1) How much mica powder I should use for each batch?
    2) If I decide to “paint” my melts with silver glitter, I should do this before leaving them out to dry?
    3) In the Relax formula, you wrote 3 – Sweet Orange 2 – Lavender. How do I measure this?
    4) Your link for the silicone molds its not working. I would like to use the same ones you used!
    Thank you!
    Karen

    Reply
    • October 20, 2019 at 9:58 am
      Permalink

      Hi Karen!
      1) I didn’t measure mica for this recipe. The best way is to start small and add more and more until you get the color you like.
      2) If you want to add just a silver stripe like I did you can do it immediately after you make them. If you want to paint on it or do something more complicated then wait till it dries first. Just like bath bombs, shower steamers are sturdier when dry. It is always a safer option to paint when shower steamers are already dry.
      3) This is a ratio that means that for every 3 drops of sweet orange essential oil you need to add 2 drops of lavender. So for the aromatherapy recipe that calls approx. 60 drops of essential oil, you would add 36 drops of sweet orange and 24 of lavender.
      4) I used bath bomb mold halves for the lavender and a plastic scoop for the others  If you want a similar shape I would recommend checking out this mold. Very nice shape and good size for shower steamers. Check out their video.

      Reply
      • October 21, 2019 at 9:50 am
        Permalink

        Thank you!! I will test your recipe soon and will let you know!!!

        Reply
  • October 21, 2019 at 10:05 pm
    Permalink

    Hi,
    I made them. I would like to share my experience:
    1. I used 2 teaspoons of menthol crystals & disolved them in the stove with 10 drops of lavender oil in a glass jar inside a pot with water.
    2. I mixed the dry ingredients and found out that I was short of citric acid so I used a little less than 1/3 cup.
    3. I added 26 more drops of lavender and 24 drops of sweet orange to the mix.
    4. It was very dry so I used witch hazel. I ended up using around 2 tablespoons witch hazel in order to get the texture you sugested, but I still feel it needed more moisture. I just didnt know how much witch hazel was allowed.
    5. They are drying now but one of them crumbled quickly.
    6. They smell amazing!!!!
    Where did I mess up? Maybe it was the citric acid because I used less than what the recipe said?
    I dont want to give up. I want mine to look like your picture! Do you have a video tutorial?
    Sorry to be a pain!
    Thank you!
    Karen

    Reply
  • November 16, 2019 at 7:37 pm
    Permalink

    Hi! I am excited to make these. How many does your recipe make if you use the mold you suggested?

    Reply
    • December 5, 2019 at 6:43 am
      Permalink

      I tried this and the recipe for me it made 6. I tried a silicone mold but couldn’t get them to release without breaking so I ended up using an extra small square ziploc container and they turned out really nice. And the indent in the bottom of the container added character. I was afraid the logo etc on the bottom would show up on the steamer, but it didn’t. Great recipe!

      Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 6:41 am
    Permalink

    Will the witch hazel or the essential oils activate the fizzing?

    Reply
  • November 21, 2019 at 2:24 pm
    Permalink

    I live in South Florida, the land of humidity. When drying them, can I put them in an airtight container such as a “Rubbermaid” type bowl with a lid? Can I place them one on top of the other?

    Reply
    • December 12, 2019 at 3:30 am
      Permalink

      Hi Robin,

      I never tried putting them in a container while they are drying. I only store them like this once dried. but if you are planning to do that, I would suggest to add some dry rice to the bowl. Rice absorbs moisture and helps bath bombs dry better.

      Reply
  • December 9, 2019 at 12:31 pm
    Permalink

    What if I don’t have menthol crystals available? Is there an alternative?

    Thank you
    Barb

    Reply
    • December 12, 2019 at 3:23 am
      Permalink

      Hi Barbara,
      There is no direct substitute for menthol crystals. You could try making some with peppermint and eucalyptus since peppermint has some menthol in it. But the effects will be a lot weaker. If you are only making them for yourself, you could make steamers just with essential oils and then also add some drops on them just before using in the shower.

      Reply
  • December 11, 2019 at 10:52 am
    Permalink

    I followed this recipe in detail, but I had to add about 1/4 cup of witch hazel to make the mixture moist enough to hold together. Then when I pressed it into the silicone molds, it immediately began expanding and rising?? I tried removing one a minute or so after putting them in the molds, but they were full all crumbly. What can I do to remedy this? They look nothing like the ones in the photos.

    Reply
    • December 12, 2019 at 3:19 am
      Permalink

      Hi Bev,

      1/4 cup is definatelly too much. The mixture expanded in the mold because it was too wet. This might mean that your shower steamer mixture was not sticky enough for some other reason. From my experience it might be due to the citric acid. If you are using a very coarse citric acid that might be the issue. I found that larger granules break down the mixture and don’t allow it to stick that well. Try different citric acid, ideally one that comes in small granules. However, avoid the powder form as it is too sensitive to moisture. Alternatively, you can grind your coarse citric acid in a coffee grinder and use that. I once received a batch of citric acid that was very coarse, didn’t perform well and just didn’t look nice in my bath bombs. Coffee grinder saved it. You will see once you grind it that citric acid becomes sticky on its own. This will really help to make good shower steamers/bath bombs and you will need to use less water.
      The second tip would be to try to mix your mixture for longer. 1/4 cup of liquid is way too much. Sometimes the mixture looks dry because it is not mixed well enough. This is what you could try: mix witch hazel and water (50:50) in a spray bottle. Spray the mixture once or twice depending on the size of the spray bottle, and mix the mixture after each spray. Mix fast and well to make sure moisture is distributed equally. I like to mix with a whip spatula and a little bit with my hands at the end. Continue to spray and mix little by little until your mixture can stick together when squished in your palm.
      I hope these tips will help you! Don’t give up. Experiment with a smaller batch and get a feel of the moisture/stickiness balance that works for your environment. You will get a feel for it and shower steamers will come out great each time 🙂

      Reply
    • February 17, 2020 at 10:46 am
      Permalink

      I had the same experience. was much too try. I bought the citric acid directly from the link provided. Maybe my cornstarch was old? I had to add quite a bit of witch hazel to get it to stick together and now they are puffing out of the mold. totally look nothing like the photo.

      Reply
  • December 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm
    Permalink

    I used a spray bottle for the witchhazel and followed the directions but mine expanded and became soft..coming from s.c. where we have alot of humidity I just added some more corn starch thinking I t would make up for it,also am leaving it in the molds longer…so far so good..i hope they won’t be too hard.

    Reply
  • December 21, 2019 at 2:42 pm
    Permalink

    Is 70% isopropyl alcohol adequate? Logic behind 91%.
    Thanks

    Reply
  • December 26, 2019 at 2:39 pm
    Permalink

    I did make these and while they smelled strong and delicious they did not give off aroma in the shower they just slowly dissolved. Where did I go wrong?

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 2:22 pm
    Permalink

    Hi!
    Thanks for your wonderful instructions on the shower steamers. I just finished my first batch. phew, those crystals are potent…lol….
    I do have a question though. I bought this cute little silicon mold to make these. I had to take the mix back out of the mold and add more witch hazel to it a few different times. It still crumbled when I tried to remove them. I was about to give up when I remembered reading, maybe it was you ?, how someone had a hard time with the silicon molds. I ended up grabbing a mini muffin tin and put the mixture in that. They came out like a dream! yayyyy Is there a trick to using the silicon? do we have to make the mixture wetter? or leave them in there longer??
    Thanks for sharing all your great instructions and tips!! can’t wait for my shower tomorrow 🙂

    Reply
  • January 4, 2020 at 9:25 pm
    Permalink

    I tried your recipe to the T. My question is, how many sprays of which hazel.ot alcohol do you use to achieve the consistency you show? I only used 3 sprays of alcohol to achieve the look in your pictures. But if I try to pull them out of the mold after 1 minute as directed, they fall apart. I will leave them in the trays overnight and see how they do. But a measurement is definitely suggested as an update. Also, is there a difference in sprays between WH and alcohol?

    Reply
  • February 14, 2020 at 1:02 pm
    Permalink

    Hi there!
    My menthol crystals do not seem to be melting as imagined with the essential oil. I’m having to crush as I go, but still chunky. Is there an alternative way to speed up this process if I do not have rubbing alcohol? Thank you!

    Reply
    • April 11, 2020 at 10:02 am
      Permalink

      I melted them over a double broiler. I put the crystals and oils in a glass bowl and on top of a pot of water. I heated it up and it melted easily this way

      Reply
  • February 17, 2020 at 10:48 am
    Permalink

    I had the same experience. was much too dry. I bought the citric acid directly from the link provided. Maybe my cornstarch was old? I had to add quite a bit of witch hazel to get it to stick together and now they are puffing out of the mold. totally look nothing like the photo.

    Reply
  • February 23, 2020 at 1:35 am
    Permalink

    This batch recipe made 6 x 1/2 cup size steamers. How many showers will one steamer last? Only one or several?

    Reply
  • March 25, 2020 at 6:00 am
    Permalink

    Hi there

    I am looking forward to trying this and thank you for sharing,I am just gathering all my ingredients, I live in Southern Ireland & struggling to find Cornstarch & corn flour the same please,and also I have Isopropyl at 99.8% is that OK to use if necessary.

    Thank you

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 2:51 pm
    Permalink

    Few things that helped me:
    1) double boiler method to melt menthol.
    2) don’t spray them once in molds. They will start foaming and dry funny.
    3) leave them in the molds for half an hour or hour and they pop right out.

    Reply
  • May 7, 2020 at 2:52 pm
    Permalink

    Few things that helped me:
    1) heat to melt menthol.
    2) don’t spray them once in molds. They will start foaming and dry funny.
    3) leave them in the molds for half an hour or hour and they pop right out.

    Reply
  • May 9, 2020 at 9:10 am
    Permalink

    these are very strong on the menthol. has anyone tried a ratio that there is enough menthol to transport the essential oil smell without overpowering the essential oils?

    Reply
    • May 15, 2020 at 8:35 am
      Permalink

      I tried the recipe just as suggested, and mine are way too strong on the menthol as well. I’d be interested in any suggestions.

      Reply
  • May 10, 2020 at 11:35 pm
    Permalink

    I can’t get menthol crystals cheaply. $60 for 100g as I can only get it at the chemist, this works out at very expensive shower melts. Is there an alternative to using the menthol crystals? Can something like the soda crystals (sodium carbonate) be used instead? Has anyone done ones that work that don’t have menthol crystals but carry the fragrance well?

    Reply
  • May 13, 2020 at 9:07 am
    Permalink

    Hi. How many small shower bombs will this recipe yield?

    Reply
    • May 17, 2020 at 3:17 am
      Permalink

      I don’t use this recipe but I make shower steamers and I either use 5grams or 7 grams to make about 15-16 steamers. That seems to be enough to carry the oil. Maybe even less!

      Reply
  • May 13, 2020 at 9:08 am
    Permalink

    Also, can I use nail acrylic powder as a mica powder substitute??

    Reply
  • June 12, 2020 at 9:06 am
    Permalink

    If you add drops of fragrance oil when they dry because some of the fragrance disappears, can you just wait until they dry and then add all of the fragrance then?

    Reply
    • June 17, 2020 at 9:58 pm
      Permalink

      Yes, you need the oils to bind the dry ingredients together, they are the “eggs” in a cake mix.

      Reply
  • June 17, 2020 at 9:56 pm
    Permalink

    Great recipe, I used the oil to dissolve the menthol crystals BUT had to add about 8 squirts of isopropyl alcohol to completely dissolve (I did it at 3-4 squirts a time) This MAY have helped the next phase because after adding the oil/menthol mixture to the dry ingredients it ALMOST began to bind. Instead of using Witches Hazel or Alcohol I used about 40 drops of Glycerin PF and that did the trick. Packed FIRMLY into half an aluminium bath bomb mould and demoulded successfully in about 30 seconds and dried nicely over night. I will try the next batch with 5-7 grams of menthol, 10g was a little overpowering.
    Thanks for the advice.

    Reply
    • July 16, 2020 at 11:20 pm
      Permalink

      Quick tip..menthol crystals will dissolve at room temp in pure essential oil. I measure both the ingredients into a jar, cover and lightly shake to mix.
      I usually do this the day before I make shower steamers and the menthol has fully dissolved without using heat. I’m always leary of heating my essential oils.

      Reply
  • August 20, 2020 at 9:33 pm
    Permalink

    Hi, will shower steamers not smell as strong with unmelted menthol crystals? I used this recipe and the smell is only getting up to about 50% strength. I did not melt my crystals to a pure liquid. Also, if you have knowledge on bath bombs and scent? I have looked all over the internet on how to get my bath bombs to smell stronger… this is so frustrating! 🙁 lol

    Reply
  • September 19, 2020 at 7:45 am
    Permalink

    I use food grade silicone spray to treat my clean dry molds between uses. This will help insure your steamers pop out easily. I dry my released steamers / bath bombs on wire mesh cookie racks so air circulates better and with a small fan on LOW speed to help keep air moving gently around them thus speeding up the drying process. HTH – Teri

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.