Soothing Shower Melts for Cold and Flu

Soothing and Calming Shower Melts for Cold and Flu

A friend recently asked if I had a DIY recipe for a natural version of shower soothers (a menthol infused shower tablet that helps with cough and congestion). She said that her favorite ones had been discontinued and she was looking for a cheaper and better homemade option.

I had never used them but the idea seemed great! I researched and found that there are some great natural options already available for purchase:

Homemade Shower Melts

I wanted a recipe that would combine the best properties of both and realized I already had the base recipe from my homemade bath bombs.

I also had some essential oils and menthol crystals on hand from my homemade pain relief lotion bars and homemade vapor rub so I played around with proportions and found a great combination that is excellent for clearing out sinuses. I’ve also thought about experimenting with these in a bath for sore muscles but haven’t tried it yet.

I made these in little silicon candy molds and stored them in a glass jar for easy use if we get hit by a cold this year. I also tried one in the shower because it smells lovely!

If you didn’t want to make these for cold and flu with strong oils, they could also be made with lavender or rose or citrus for an aromatherapy shower anytime!

NOTE: Please use caution with products like menthol and strong essential oils like peppermint or eucalyptus on small children. As a general rule, I personally use these only on children 2+ and I dilute them but check with a qualified health practitioner or aromatherapist before using anything on small children!



  1. Combine baking soda, salt/epsom salt and mix well until combined.
  2. Spray or drop small amounts water into the mix and stir until you get the consistency of slightly wet sand.
  3. Mixture should hold together when squeezed without crumbling but should not appear wet at all. You may need to add slightly more water if it hasn’t achieved this consistency yet.
  4. Once you get this texture, add the menthol crystals and the essential oils and stir to combine.
  5. Quickly push mixture into silicon molds, greased muffin tins or any other greased container. Press in firmly and leave at least 24 hours (48 is better) or until hardened.
  6. When dry, remove and store in air tight container.


Place one in the bottom of the shower when you get in. As you shower, it will dissolve, releasing essential oils and menthol into the air. I have not tried adding this to a bath but that might work as well.

 What natural remedies do you keep on hand this time of year? 
These simple to make shower melts are soothing and calming for coughs, colds and flu. They combine baking soda, magnesium, essential oils and menthol.

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Reader Comments

  1. I am absolutely trying this! Perfect for this time of the year. Thanks!

  2. Can you please explain what you do with it in the shower? Set it on the floor? Under the running water? On the side? Thanks!

    • Either really works… You want it to dissolve in the water.

      • Does it not dissolve really fast when it’s in the stream of water? I’ve read other recipes that say to keep it out of the water, just to leave it to the side. Just wondering how long it’ll last if it does get wet.

  3. How do you use them? I know the concept of steaming (I think?) but can you provide some additional instructions? Thanks!

  4. How do you use these exactly?

  5. Will the menthol affect subsequent use of the mold? Specifically, if I use a silicon mold to make these, do you think I can use that same silicon mold the next week to make kombucha gummies? I wonder if I’d be able to wash out all the menthol. Would YOU use the same mold for menthol thingies and edible goodies?

  6. These sound great! I hope this isn’t a dumb question but how do you use them?

    • Just place them on the floor of the shower and let the water run over it.

  7. Katie, I was just thinking about making some shower melts, but many recipes I came across seemed too complex. I love the simplicity of your recipe, I happen to have everything on hand 🙂 Also, thank you for promoting safe use of essential oils.

  8. These look wonderful and I’m dying to try them, but how? Thx!

  9. Hi I’m trying to heal my slow thyroid. I heard you did it. have been paleo on and off but am ready to try autoimmune Paleo today

  10. I’d never heard of shower soothers before, what a great idea! I’m Pinning these melts for when cold and flu season strikes again next winter 🙂

  11. I like to take a big pot of water let it simmer all day with eucalyptus oil, Teatree oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil. Not only does it open up airways but the Teatree oil kills whatever viruses or bacteria the kids pick throughout the day. And I myself was somebody who up until I started doing this got bronchitis and pneumonia yearly. Doing this and other natural remedies I don’t even need my inhaler anymore. It is soo nice not to go through the drowning feeling of pneumonia or living in fear of getting pneumonia or bronchitis.

    • I thought essential oils broke down and became less effective in heat. How much oil do you use and how long do the effects last before you refresh the oils?

  12. Love this idea because I never take a bath, always showers. Can we substitute eucalyptus essential oil instead of menthol? Thanks for a great gift idea. Especially like the lavender cake idea.

  13. Is it safe to put one in your bath to soak instead of a shower?

    • I’d use caution for using them to soak. Peppermint, eucalyptus and menthol can cause irritation in some when it comes in contact with “lady bits”.

  14. My husband is currently battling a cold and his cough is pretty bad. Since I didn’t have these made, I just squirted about 30 drops of eucalyptus in the corner of the shower and it helped him tremendously. But I will definitely be making these.

    • I usually put essential oils on a rag in the corner of the shower, and it does the same thing. The peppermint really helps with migraines when I use it like that in a dark shower. Have you tried her elderberry syrup, cough syrup, and vapor rub recipes? They work really well for colds. My husband stays sick from working outside in the cold all winter. I also mix 1 Tbs of raw honey with 1 tsp of cinnamon. It really soothes a sore throat. My husband says it’s kind of gritty from the cinnamon, but it tastes similar to red hots.

  15. Quick question. Is this safe to use while pregnant? I know Rosemary isn’t safe to use when pregnant, but is that for topical use only? Or is that true for inhaling as well? Thanks!

    • I would just skip it if you are pregnant or check with a doc or midwife first.

  16. Oh excellent. Thank you. just what I needed. Never heard of menthol crystals before but I will figure that out.

  17. Elizabeth,, how often do you use your “simmer pot’..sounds good , but expencive if you do it daily….lookin forward to your response…molly

  18. Are these safe to use during pregnancy?

  19. I had been using your toilet cleaner fizzies in the shower, adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil and putting the fizzies in a small food-type plastic container in the bottom of the shower ( which worked pretty well and was an easy cleanup). However, the addition of menthol is great!

    • Worked up a batch tonight, and these work very well. No fizz, but dissolve more slowly so they last longer. The combination of the Essential oils with the menthol provided soothing relief to an annoying cough and stuffed head. Thanks once again for an amazing homemade remedy. Use your elderberry syrup also which is very effective too.

  20. How much do you put into the molds?

  21. THis is great! i use baking soda and epsom salts in my daughters (and my occasional) baths already along with calming or healing oils depending on the intent. Its like a bath fizzie with out the fizz… which would be wasted on a shower :)… I’ll be trying this with my 4 thieves blend! I’ve already beat a nasty cold in only a couple days rubing it and a few drops of CO on my feet.

  22. I made these with tea trea essential oil for foot bath, can’t wait till they are dry 🙂

  23. What size jar did you use? I love this idea for gift-giving, but trying to determine what size container to get.

  24. When are you going to host another wellness summit?

    • Not for a long time! The amount of work involved to put it on is insane.

  25. Hi, I was wondering if you meant used 20 drops of all four essential oil for each batch or if you meant you to we can choose between those? Thank you.

    • YES! Before buying the stuff to make them I have the same question. Could you please give me the exact number of drops and combination that you use yourself for this recipe? Thank you

  26. Hi, I have been trying out a few of your ideas lately to give as Christmas gifts!
    My question is, how long do the melts last?
    As I am making up a batch now & have many to make!
    Thanks x

    • Better test them first……

  27. I was vey excited to make these and went out and bought several bottles of essential oils. I tried to make a batch with about 20-30 drops of Eucalyptus oil. They didn’t have any fragrance at all in the shower. So I added 30 more drops to EACH bomb I made. Still nothing. They didn’t even really melt, even after I broke them into pieces in the shower. What went wrong do you suppose?

  28. Hi, I tried making these. Followed the recipe, let it dry for 2 days. Put it in the shower, it did not melt. What went wrong?

  29. I love these. They came out so cute from the heart shaped molds. However, they didn’t totally dissolve when I tried one out in the shower. The fragrance wasn’t as strong as I thought it would be. Any recommendations? Is the melt good for another shower? Thanks so much!

  30. I just bought everything to make these menthol molds and now I am reading that they don’t really work. I should have read the comments first. Do you have any suggestions before I go to all the trouble. I love the idea and it would be so perfect for my kids and grandkids with allergies. It was going to be a Christmas present! Any ideas?!! Thanks for all your help.

    • Deborah, I would still recommend making them. They did dissolve and release the essential oils after the second time I put the shower melt in how water so I know they work. I made another batch of them since I am giving them for Christmas presents. I am thinking that I packed them too well when I first put them in the heart molds. The second batch I didn’t pack as hard. I will let you know how they come out the second time! Anyone else make these?

      • “NOT MELTING” PROBLEM SOLVED! Ok. So I made another batch of these shower melts. I tested one from the second batch and figured out why there were NOT melting. First, you need to wash the silicon molds when you buy them with soap and water to remove any film they may be made with. I noticed that on the first batch the reason why they didn’t melt was because some turned out kind of shiny. I think they picked up some of the slippery coating of the silicon mold because I didn’t wash it with soap and water before I used it – I was too excited and just started making them. SECOND. I didn’t pack the second batch at hard (I really made sure the first batch was packed in). The second batch I “firmly” pressed in versus jamming the contents in. The second batch totally melted. It released the essential oils and I could smell them as well as the menthol. It was a gentle release of scent. (I also let them sit for 48 hours before popping them out.) Hope this helps!!!

        • I didn’t use a silicone mold; I used a mini-muffin pan. I did the same thing…I packed my second batch in less firmly. I don’t think the mixture was right though because they crumbled instantly upon touching them. I ended up crushing them all up – they are going to my sister as “bath salts”.

          • Just make sure that if you used Rosemary, your sister isn’t pregnant. Rosemary causes contractions.

          • For the person who cautioned me about making sure my sister isn’t pregnant, thank you.!

  31. I’m not sure why Katie has not answered. I have tried two different batches of these and will not do again. On the first batch I used Epson Salt and thought that might be the problem. The second batch, I used sea salt. The first batch was too hard, didn’t melt and didn’t smell good. The second batch was too soft, and melted immediately. I mashed up the remainder into “bath salts”. I, personally, would call this a fail recipe. I’d love to hear from Katie what she thinks the problem is……

    • How much water did you use in the mixing process. That is a very delicate balance… if you add too much, it will create the fizzing reaction ahead of time so it won’t work in the shower…

      • The “fail” in this recipe is clearly me since you and others have had success. 🙂 Thanks; maybe I’ll give it another whirl. Meanwhile…I LOVE the sugar scrub recipes!

        • I followed the recipe exactly several times. Only the first time I didn’t use enough water and they fell apart. However I kept them and dump those pieces in the sink with hot water and and breathe in the aroma. The others have turned out very hard but when the water hits DIRECTLY on them in the shower they work perfectly. And they don’t melt too fast which is a good thing. Love these!

  32. So I understand the directions where it states Essential oils: I used 20 drops each of Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender, Rosemary and Lemon (any combination of these would work)

    does that mean you put all those essential oils into the batch or you just pick one or a couple and put it together?

  33. I was so excited to try these and give away as Christmas gifts, but I didn’t have success. I didn’t have the menthol crystals so I left those out and I used sea salt. I am sure I sprayed in about 2 tbsp water and thought the consistency was right, pressed them hard into the molds, but after 24 hrs., they came out crumbly, so I scooped them into a mason jar to sprinkle on the shower floor anyways. Any suggestions as to what I could do to have success? I am using the heart silicon candy molds. Thanks.

  34. I made these for Christmas gifts and they smell fabulous! BUT, they melted in less than 10 seconds, so there really was little benefit from breathing them in the shower. (Making them was a delightful experience!) Any suggestions for a size or where to put them in the shower to allow for a slower release?

    • I used small molds. I told everyone to put it in the corner of the shower and to use two at a time. I also use way more menthol than recommended. Instead of a tsp. I used probably two tbsp since I noticed that they did melt quickly. I also used lavender scent epsom salt and ALL the recommended oils. It lasts for about 5 minutes. Or you can tell them to put it in a pot of hot water and let it scent the house.

  35. I just gave 1/2 of my very first batch away as a gift. They turned out great. I’ll mention a few things I did in hopes it may help someone else. I ended up using about 1/2 tsp more than the 2tsp as I am in north Idaho and it’s winter and DRY. I decided I would add water until I could squeeze up a handful and have it hold its shape when I dropped it back down into the bowel. Once I had this, I added all the essential oils (I think I was heavy handed on a few of them without the dropper lids-LOL). I quickly pushed them into a mini muffin tin that I had washed and filled them about 2/3 full. I read on an earlier post not to “pack” them tight so I did not. I did take a spoon and go around the edges trying to create a smooth “top”. They dried for 24 hours and I popped them out of the tin and let them dry an additional 24 hours. I of course tried one out and it worked great. I might add more of the menthol next time. Can’t wait to make some more for the bathtub (without the menthol products). Great Recipe!

    • Why do you recommend not packing it?

  36. I made these last night and only 11 came out, I just read the serving size and its 24+. Obviously my molds were big and I filled them all the way up. Can these be cut without crumbling so I can have two servings per melt?

  37. I just mixed some of these up… Can’t wait to try them out this weekend after they’re all dried!

  38. I read all the reviews on these and made them for Christmas presents. I used Epsom salts, all of the essential oils but no menthol crystals (could not find them locally) They made the house smell wonderful. I packed them up and sent them off, with a few extra to keep at home for us.
    My husband decided to try some and imagine my dismay when he dropped it in the shower and there was no smell at all. It completely dissolved in the tub with so scent what so ever. Imagine my dismay when I had to message everyone I sent them to and explain they did not work.
    What can you suggest for me to do?

    • Test your formulas before you give them away. Obviously. They work well when done as directed.

  39. Hi, do you have a recipe that does not use salt? I am worried about our septic system.

  40. Where do I find the menthol crystals???

  41. Bath bombs or shower tablets are meant to be used fairly quickly. The scent will fade after time. I have not used this recipe, but do sell both and recommend using them within 2 months. The ones I make are fizzy and work best if put out of the stream of water, that may not be the case with these, but I find it works best to allow the essential oils to release into the air instead of washing down the drain.

    • How do you make your Melissa?

  42. Mine are made with baking soda, citric acid, corn starch or white clay, epsom salt, almond oil, water and essential oils.

  43. Is possible to get the amounts of each ingredient? Where do you buy white clay?

  44. I had the same issue as Jeri. My mother had come down with her third allergy/bronchial ‘cold’ of the season, and I decided I’d try to make a few things for her to try (if she would be willing!). One of the things I made were these shower bombs. Now, I had not been sick for many years, and the very weekend she was coming home, I was heading out of town….but, I took some with me because I was getting really congested. When I opened these, (3 days after they dried), I didn’t smell anything. I placed in the shower, opposite end of the drain, and never smelled anything. I even moved it close to the drain little by little. Also – these were to be kept in an airtight container, so I vacuum sealed mine in twos. My mother, who has not opened hers, has an air pillow with her salts inside. She keeps her’s in a little bit of a warmer spot than where I’ve kept mine, but I also have air in my once vacuum sealed bags. Not sure what went wrong. Thought perhaps some didn’t get enough EO? I’ll try the other from my pack, see if there is any difference. =) Thanks for this recipe, hope it works this time!

  45. I didn’t have a whole lot of luck with these melting in the shower – perhaps because my water was not hot enough or my shower was too quick. However, I place these in a jar and inhale the scent when my sinuses are acting up. Today, for example, I woke up with a pretty significant sinus headache. After 5 deep inhales, my headache disappeared. Wish I would have thought of this yesterday before I was forced to down sinus meds for my headache. I’m considering these a win!

  46. Mine, for lack of a better word, melted. They didn’t puff up but just spread out. I have no idea what I did wrong. Anyone have any ideas?

  47. I have let these dry over night and I have baked them in the oven. I found the ones baked in the oven release scents better. I don’t know why but the ones I let air dry had very little scent. Was a bummer as I made them as gifts.

  48. I got the consistency right after two tries and they look great, but it barely dissolved in the shower. Any idea why? Tried under direct water stream too. I’m stumped.

  49. Would you consider it acceptable (or safe) to substitute Tea Tree EO instead of menthol crystals? I have on hand the Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Tea Tree Oils (as well as Rosemary, Grapefruit, Fir Needle, Spearmint, Sweet Orange, Lavender, Patchouli, Lemongrass, Tangerine, Lemon and Lime), but cannot find menthol crystals locally. Our oldest son has requested these, so I would probably leave out anything less than “man smelling” (as he puts it). Just wondering if the Tea Tree EO substitution would work instead of the crystals.

  50. I followed the recipe exactly but I don’t think they turned out right. Put it on the floor of the shower, it dissolved almost immediately and I didn’t smell a thing.

  51. I’m wanting to make these but purely lavender scent. Would I just do the lavender, water, baking soda & Epsom? I have a little one I watch who has epilepsy so he needs only lavender for relation at bed time.

  52. Be sure and use a quality essential oil. If you are using the oils from Walmart, they not very pure and you will not have very much scent when used.