Learn how to make aromatherapy shower tablets with essential oils! Natural DIY shower tablets are activated by steam in the shower and promote relaxation, sleep, and stress relief. The step-by-step tutorial includes 3 recipes, different essential oil blends, and tips for storing and using homemade shower tablets.
DIY Shower Tablets
Hello, wellness lovers. I have a treat for you: aromatherapy shower tablets for sleep and relaxation. These DIY shower tablets are infused with calming and soothing essential oils that destress and put your mind at ease. The best part? A brand-new, no-fail formula that produces beautiful + sturdy shower steamers.
- Frist, we have Blue Moon, a sky-blue shower fizzy enriched with blue tansy that can help to relieve stress.
- Next is Lavender Dream, a sweetly scented shower steamer that utilizes the sleep-inducing benefits of lavender essential oil to promote restful sleep.
- And lastly, Midnight Sky, the ultramarine shower soother with cedarwood and amyris that provides deep relaxation whenever you need a break from the hustle of everyday life.
You will love these aromatherapy shower steamers!
What are shower tablets?
Did you ever wonder how to How do I turn my shower into aromatherapy? Well, shower tablets are the answer! Okay, but what exactly are these colorful, little concoctions?
Shower tablets are small disks that dissolve when they come in contact with moisture. While dissolving, they release a fragrant bouquet of essential oils that infuse the steams through your shower.
The steam carries not only the scent but also provides shower aromatherapy benefits when you inhale it. The scent molecules stimulate the smell receptors in your nose and send a message to the part of the brain that controls emotions (the limbic system).
Shower tablets formula
My DIY aromatherapy shower tablets are unlike any other shower steamers recipe on the internet. Making shower steamers is relatively easy with some experience but can be challenging for beginners.
Based on all the amazing feedback we received on our other shower melt recipes, Cyna and I created an entirely new shower tablets formula. Let me give you a brief overview of how our tablets are different from other recipes:
- Easier to make: With most recipes, you have to spritz the dry ingredients with water, alcohol, or witch hazel, and it can be a struggle to figure out just how much you need. Add too little liquid, and they don’t hold together. Too much liquid, and you accidentally start a premature fizzing reaction. Not so these DIY shower tablets! We use a secret ingredient that doesn’t cause a reaction, and I tell you exactly how much you need to get the correct consistency.
- Dry rock-solid: Another benefit is that these aromatherapy shower tablets become rock hard. They don’t break and crumble as easily as other homemade shower bombs. You can even ship them to friends or customers without worrying that they will receive a crumbly mess.
- Last longer in the shower: Some of you asked me how to make shower steamers last longer because regular shower steamer recipes often fizzle out within minutes. These shower tablets last a lot longer and turn into a fragrant foam as they dissolve. The self-cleaning recipe will leave no trace in your shower, safe a few dried flower petals (should you add them.)
Please check out my guide on how to make shower steamers to learn more about this unique formula. This tutorial includes helpful video instructions, and I discuss everything in greater detail.
Materials for DIY shower tablets
This shower tablets recipe consists of ingredients you may already have (baking powder, citric acid, EOs) + one you probably have never heard of. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Baking soda and citric acid make up the bulk of this shower tablets recipe. Both ingredients react and fizzle away when exposed to moisture. Shower tablets turn out best when you use both citric acid and baking soda, but I don’t recommend making shower steamers without citric acid.
- Sorbitan oleate is the aforementioned secret material. The ingredient is made from a fatty acid (oleic acid from olive oil) and sorbitol (a sugar alcohol). Sorbitan oleate acts as a natural, ECOCERT-approved emulsifier and emollient, but we use it to wet the baking soda and citric acid. I explain why in a second.
- Essential oils provide aromatherapy benefits and give the shower steamers a wonderful natural scent. You can infuse your DIY shower tablets with any essential oils you like and have available. I’ll share 3 different essential oil blends for sleep and relaxation later.
- Colorants (optional): DIY shower tablets are white, and you can tint them with mica or dried plant powder in any shade you like. I colored my essential oil shower tablets in different hues of blue and purple. Blue is such a serene, calming color and seemed fitting for relaxation shower steamers.
- Decorations (optional): I like to decorate my shower steamers with dried botanicals as a finishing touch. For these relaxing shower melts, I chose dried cornflower petals, dried lavender buds, and shimmery gold stars.
No clay or cornstarch?
Nope, my aromatherapy shower steamers are indeed made without clay or cornstarch. Clay and cornstarch function as filler materials and hardeners, but you can skip them here. This brings me to the ingredient that you do need, sorbitan oleate.
Why use sorbitan oleate in shower steamers?
Because baking soda and citric acid are dry powders, we require a liquid to confect the shower tablet mixture. That liquid needs to evaporate (so the shower soothers harden up), mustn’t be greasy to avoid making the shower slippery (no oils or plant butters), and ideally shouldn’t cause a premature fizzing reaction.
Guess what ingredient meets all 3 requirements? That’s right, sorbitan oleate!
Sorbitan oleate is a dream to work with. Unlike water, witch hazel, or alcohol, sorbitan oleate will NOT cause a reaction when you add it to the dry materials. As you can see in the photos, I dumped it all onto the dry mix in one go, and no reaction.
Instead, it creates a soft, playdough-like consistency that you can easily press into a mold. As they dry, the liquid evaporates, leaving you with sturdy shower steamers with crisp, sharp edges that won’t crumble.
Sorbitan oleate also helps to dissolve and disperse the essential oils. It will give you aromatherapy shower tablets that are perfectly scented throughout. Plus, the emulsifier will wash away any colorants, such as mica and protect your shower tray and tiles from staining.
And in case you’re wondering, sorbitan oleate is fully biodegradable, non-toxic, non-irritant, free of palm oil, and approved for natural skincare preparations.
Substitute for sorbitan oleate
I understand that not everyone has access to sorbitan oleate or that you may prefer a more affordable alternative. And that alternative is Polysorbate 80. Poly 80 is an emulsifying + solubilizing agent, and you can use it as a 1:1 substitute for sorbitan oleate.
How to make shower tablets
Making shower steamers tablets from scratch may isn’t the easiest DIY product. But it’s well worth the effort because you create a 100% natural product that you can customize according to your personal needs and preferences.
Here’s a breakdown of the steps:
Step 1: Combine dry ingredients
- Add the baking soda, citric acid, and colorant (mica, plant powder) into a large non-metallic mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
Step 2: Mix liquid ingredients
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sorbitan oleate and essential oils. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes to distribute the essential oils evenly throughout.
Step 3: Make the shower steamer mixture
- Pour the liquid mixture from step 2 into the dry ingredients from step 1. Stir together with a spoon to coat the dry mix in liquids.
- Then put on nitrile gloves and knead until the shower steamer mixture begins clumping together and feels like playdough, smooth and soft, but not wet.
Step 4: Adjust the texture
- 1/3 cup sorbitan oleate should be enough in a humid environment because the mixture will absorb some moisture from the air.
- However, in dry conditions, you may need to add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons to moisten the mixture and get the perfect consistency.
- You know that the texture is right when you can form a smooth ball of mixture with your hands that stays together as you see in the photo.
- The mixture cannot be stored. It will harden if you leave it sitting out, so immediately continue to the next step.
Step 5: Fill the mold
- Sprinkle a few botanicals in the bottom of each mold. Go lightly and try to avoid placing the botanicals too close to the edge. This step is optional.
- Next, fill the mold with mixture and press down with your fingertips, paying particular attention to the edges. Continue to load and compress the mixture until the cavity is completely full.
- I like to use the bottom of a 1/8 measuring cup to press down each shower tablet and achieve a flat bottom.
Step 6: Dry
- Let the shower steamers dry in the mold undisturbed for 24 hours. Room temperature is fine, and you can leave the mold uncovered.
Step 7: Unmold
- Before unmolding, gently tap the back of a steamer. Does it feel and sound solid? Then it’s time to unmold.
- To unmold the steamers, carefully pull away the silicone. Using your thumbs, gently push the steamer out of the cavity.
Step 8: Store
- Store the shower tablets in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.
Tips for high humidity
Humidity does influence how the shower soothers turn out. Baking soda absorbs moisture from the ambiance, so try to find the driest place in your home. If you have, place them in front of a dehumidifier and let them dry for 24 to 48 hours.
Cyna lives close to the ocean, where it’s pretty humid in summer. She noticed that her steamers expanded a little when she set the mold out to dry, yet they still harden up properly. I live near the mountains and never had an issue with humidity.
If you live in a high humidity area, please let me know how this vapor shower tablets work out for you!
How to use shower tablets
You have different options for how to use aromatherapy shower tablets:
- Shower floor: You can place shower steamers on the floor in the back corner of the shower. As the water hits the shower tablet, the essential oils are released and mix with the steam. With this method, the shower steamer will dissolve in about 10 minutes.
- Elevated: You can also keep them near your face to better smell the essential oils, for example, in a soap dish or shower shelf.
How long will they last?
How long your aromatherapy shower tablets last depends on where you put them in your shower. Shower melts exposed to water will dissolve within minutes, whereas steam dissolves the product at a slower rate. Avoid direct water streams to enjoy the shower steamers longer.
Can I use shower tablets as bath bombs?
No, shower tablets are for breathing only and should never be used as bath bombs. Although similar to bath bombs, shower steamers contain a much higher concentration of essential oil that can irritate the skin.
The best shower tablets for sleep and relaxation
I promised you 3 aromatherapy shower tablet recipes. Time to make good on that promise! As mentioned, these DIY vapor steamers are meant for sleep and relaxation. Of course, you can scent them with whatever essential oils you have and like.
You need approximately 150 to 180 drops for strongly scented shower tablets. Again, you can adjust this amount to your liking and incorporate more or fewer oils.
Stress relief shower tablets
Had a stressful day? My Blue Moon shower steamers can help to destress, unwind your mind, and lessen worries. The steamers have a refreshing balsamic scent and take advantage of the calming effects of blue tansy, blue cypress, and ylang ylang.
Blue tansy is famous for its skin-soothing qualities but is not often used in aromatherapy recipes. It has a fruity scent with herbaceous undertones that is incredibly relaxing. The oil has antihistamine properties that are said to reduce congestion – exactly what we want in decongestant shower tablets!
Blue cypress’s woodsy scent has a grounding and balancing effect, providing calm in times of emotional unrest. Ylang ylang has a beautiful floral smell, and I found a study suggesting that the EO may decrease stress hormone levels and high blood pressure.
I sprinkled a few dried cornflower petals into the mold as decoration.
For this relaxing blend, you’ll need:
Lavender shower steamers for sleep
Lavender is well known for its insomnia-beating properties. The lavender scent is very soothing and allows you to overcome sleeplessness and enter relaxed, restorative sleep. You can learn more about the benefits of lavender for sleep in my lavender slumber spray recipe.
When researching for my lavender milk recipe, I also learned that the aroma of vanilla has a mild sedative effect that can calm the mind and alleviate anxiety. Combine that with the sweetly soothing scent of bergamot, and you have a perfect blend for a bedtime shower.
I decorated the Lavender Dream steamers with dried lavender buds.
This floral shower steamer blend is made with:
Alternatively, fragrance your homemade shower tablets with 180 drops pure lavender essential oil.
DIY shower tablets for relaxation
My Midnight Sky shower soothers make for a tranquil and relaxing shower. Dissolving one of these moody shower aromatherapy tablets will create a calming and peaceful environment. I dressed them up with tiny gold stars and imbued them with a blend of cedarwood, vetiver, and Amyris.
The warm, slightly peppery aroma of Amyris introduces a sense of calm. It can help to ease coughs and congestion problems. Vetiver is a wonderful oil to promote relaxation + balance and relieve stress + anxiety. The oil has a unique scent that is earthy with smokey notes.
The Midnight Sky blend consists of:
Midnight Sky is an excellent blend for guys and everyone who prefers a deep, woody aroma over floral-sweet smells. Out of all 3, this is my husband’s favorite, and I’m sure the men in your life will enjoy the masculine scent, too.
How to store homemade shower tablets
Store your DIY shower tablets in an airtight glass jar or ceramic container. You can wrap individual disks in plastic wrap/clingfilm to preserve the scent better.
Keep shower steam tablets in a dry place, for example, a cupboard in your bedroom. Bathrooms are not a good place for shoer steamers because the moisture can cause premature fizzing.
You also want to avoid direct sunlight because UV rays will deteriorate essential oils and fade the colors.
How long do DIY shower tablets keep?
Stored airtight, aromatherapy shower steamers will keep for up to a year and still smell great! If you notice the scent fading, simply top up with a few drops essential oils before using them in the shower.
- 1 1/2 cups / g / oz baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
- 3/4 cup / g / oz citric acid
- 1/3 cup / g / oz sorbitan oleate (can sub 1:1 with Polysorbate 80)
- up to 180 drops essential oils (see blends below)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp colorant (optional, e.g. mica or plant powders)
- dried botanicals (optional, for decorating)
Blue Moon (Stress Relief)
- 65 drops blue tansy essential oil
- 40 drops blue cypress essential oil
- 25 drops ylang ylang complete
- 1/2 tsp light blue mica powder or blue spirulina
- dried cornflower petals
Lavender Dream (Sleep)
- 80 drops lavender essential oil
- 45 drops vanilla oleoresin
- 30 drops bergamot essential oil
- 1/2 tsp purple mica
- dried lavender buds
Midnight Sky (Relaxation)
- Combine dry ingredients. Add the baking soda, citric acid, and colorant (mica, plant powder) into a large non-metallic mixing bowl. Whisk to combine and break up any lumps.
- Mix liquid ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the sorbitan oleate and essential oils. Mix for 1 to 2 minutes to distribute the essential oils evenly throughout.
- Make the shower steamer mixture. Pour the liquid mixture from step 2 into the dry ingredients from step 1. Stir together with a spoon to coat the dry mix in liquids. Then put on nitrile gloves and knead until the shower steamer mixture begins clumping together and feels like playdough, smooth and soft, but not wet.
- Adjust the texture. 1/3 cup sorbitan oleate should be enough in a humid environment because the mixture will absorb some moisture from the air. However, in dry conditions, you may need to add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons to moisten the mix and get the perfect consistency. You know that the texture is right when you can form a smooth ball of mixture with your hands that stays together. The mixture cannot be stored. It will harden if you leave it sitting out, so immediately continue to the next step.
- Fill the mold. Sprinkle a few botanicals in the bottom of each mold. Go lightly and try to avoid placing the botanicals too close to the edge. This step is optional. Next, fill the mold with mixture and press down with your fingertips, paying particular attention to the edges. Continue to load and compress mixture until the cavity is completely full. I like to use the bottom of a 1/8 measuring cup to press down each shower tablet and achieve a flat bottom.
- Dry. Let the shower steamers dry in the mold undisturbed for 24 hours. Room temperature is fine, and you can leave the mold uncovered.
- Unmold. Before unmolding, gently tap the back of a steamer. Does it feel and sound solid? Then it’s time to unmold. To unmold the steamers, carefully pull away the silicone. Using your thumbs, gently push the steamer out of the cavity.
- Store. Store the shower tablets in an airtight container away from direct sunlight.