As a sufferer of chronic sinus issues, I immediately fell in love with SudaCare Shower Soothers Vaporizing Shower Tablets when they hit the stores a few years ago. Just drop one on the floor of your shower and they’d release a nice minty eucalyptus aroma that would open up my sinuses in no time. Alas, they’re no longer on the market. Pinterest to the rescue! (Or so I hoped.)
This recipe from Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity was really quick and easy to make, but I think I need to try again to get better results. (Note: She refers to them as “Vicks” shower disks; it’s a common mix-up.) They’re also cheap, especially if you already own the oils. I got all 4 bottles of oil from a vendor at a local fair for $15 (but used a tiny fraction of each one), the generic baking soda was a whopping 59¢, the muffin liners were only a few cents each, and I already owned the food coloring (and again, used a tiny amount and it’s optional anyway).
- 16 oz (1 lb.) box baking soda
- Essential oils: Rosemary, Eucalyptus, and Lavender (optional: Lemon or another scent of your choice)
- Food coloring (optional)
- Muffin pan with cupcake liners
Dump the box of baking soda into a bowl. Slowly add water and stir until you get a nice thick paste-y consistency. I used ½ cup, which made it kinda runny and (as you’ll see) they discs didn’t turn out so well. I’ll definitely use less next time. Add approximately 15 drops of the rosemary, eucalyptus, and lavender oils, and stir. (I didn’t have a dropper, so my measurements were somewhat less than exact.) I started out with a mini muffin pan and put a heaping spoonful into each liner.
Since I still had about half the mixture left, I decided to experiment a little bit from the original recipe. I added about 6-8 drops of lemon essential oil and one drop of yellow food coloring, then stirred again. (It would probably be a very good idea to test the food coloring on an inconspicuous spot in your tub or shower to make sure it isn’t going to stain, especially if you decide to use a darker color.) I then scooped out the remainder of the mixture into my molded silicon baking tray. This turned out to be a bad idea.
Since it takes a while for these to solidify and I wanted to keep them away from my inquisitive and oh-so-helpful 3-year-old, I just stuck both trays in the oven (put the silicone tray on a cookie sheet so it’s easier to handle), and stuck a note on the knob so I’d remember not to turn it on with them in there. The original recipe said to let them sit for 12-18 hours, so I checked them again the next morning… and they were still wet. I tried out one of the ones from the muffin pan, and while I got a hint of the aroma, the whole thing had dissolved a few minutes into my shower and it had no effect on my sinuses. On to phase two!
An amendment to the recipe mentioned baking the disks and then adding the oils (probably to keep them from evaporating off). The muffin pan disks dried up after only 10 minutes in a 350° oven, while the flowers needed a couple more minutes since they were a bit wetter to start with. The problem then became getting them out of the tray; a few came out reasonably intact, but most crumbled pretty badly.
Not to let the mix go to waste, I dumped the smaller crumbs into a bowl, added more water, and reformed them in a few muffin liners. Since it was actually sunny, I put them outside and they dried up within a few hours. I think I will need to add a drop of each oil to the disks before trying them again, since an experiment with a cooked disk really didn’t produce any noticeable aroma. If I try these again, I definitely won’t use the silicone tray (or as much water) and will probably use a regular muffin pan so that the disks last longer. What do you think? Have you ever tried to make something like this? How did it turn out?