DIY Stress-Relieving Shower Steamers
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
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Bath bomb fans have known for a while how relaxing it is to soak in the glorious scent of essential oils. But what if you prefer showers to baths?
Shower steamers (also known as shower bombs or shower melts) are a great way to enjoy the stress-relieving benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils without having to fill up the tub.
Since shower bombs are designed to have high amounts of essential oils for aromatherapy benefits, don’t use them in the bath. Bath bombs are not as concentrated; shower bombs are too strong to soak in.
If a stress-relieving shower is just what you need, and you have a little creative energy to expend, try your hand at making a homemade shower steamer. You can cut the recipe in half or double it if you want to make a bigger batch.
Things to keep in mind
If you find that your shower steamer fizzes away too quickly, you can make it last longer by moving it further from the water source. Place your shower tablet at the opposite end of the shower floor (out of range of the spray) to extend its life.
You can make shower steamer tablets with or without citric acid—just be aware that the citric acid and baking soda combo is what gives them their fizz. If you leave out the citric acid, replace it with an equal amount of baking soda or Epsom salt.
There are several liquids you can choose from when making your DIY aromatherapy shower steamers: water, witch hazel, and isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol). Water and witch hazel create an instant fizzing action when added—so you’ll need to be careful and either use a spray bottle or add the liquid a tiny bit at a time.
Rubbing alcohol will also get the fizz going, but since it evaporates quickly, you won’t lose as much fizz if this is your liquid of choice. Using a spray bottle is still a good idea, though.
Some people like to add Epsom salt to their shower steamers for a soothing effect on tired feet. I’ll include options below for you to try out both methods: with citric acid or substituted with baking soda or Epsom salt.
One of the best things about making your own shower steamers is the ability to customize your fragrances. I prefer to use essential oils (not artificial fragrances) and choose them according to the desired effect.
Essential oils can vary in strength depending on the brand, how the essential oil was collected, and how long it has been stored. You can adjust the recommended amount of essential oil by adding a few more (or less) drops if needed.
Here are some essential oil blend ideas to get you started with your at-home spa experience. (Numbers in parenthesis are the number of drops of each oil to use. You can adjust the drops to your sensitivity level.)
Lavender and sweet orange (100:50)
Rose (rose absolute), ylang-ylang, and vetiver (100:60:40)
Clary sage (100)
Bergamot and lime (80:50)
Peppermint* and pine (50:30)
Lemon and sweet orange (100:50)
*Peppermint essential oil gives a cooling effect, but too much can cause a burning or tingling sensation. If you’re sensitive to peppermint, try using the citrus essential oil blend as your energizer instead.
Eucalyptus and spearmint (80:50)
If you’re not an essential oil fan, you can use soap fragrance oil instead. You may need to adjust the number of drops you add according to the strength of the fragrance and the manufacturer’s recommendation.
You want to be able to inhale the shower steam without it causing any side effects (like sneezing, coughing, or an unpleasant sensation in your lungs or on your feet).
Ready to make your DIY shower steamer? Let’s get started!
DIY shower steamer recipe and tips for success
Tip #1: If your shower steamer is expanding in the mold, you have added too much water or witch hazel. Just spritz on enough to make a barely wet, sand-like consistency, or the fizz will fizzle before it makes it out of the mold and into your shower!
Tip #2: What if my shower steamers are too dry? If your shower steamers crumble when you remove them from the mold, it just means they need a little more liquid added. Go ahead and crumble them back into the mixing bowl, spritz with a little more water, witch hazel, or rubbing alcohol, and press the mixture back into the mold.
Tip #3: Wear gloves to protect your nail polish and hands. Citric acid can remove nail polish and irritate sensitive skin.
Tools you will need
Silicone mold with 1–2 ounce-size shapes
Mixing bowl (I prefer glass since it won’t interact with the oils.)
Mixing spoon or wire whisk (Avoid wooden spoons since they will absorb the essential oil.)
Nitrile gloves (Protect your hands.)
Ingredients for stress-relieving, sinus-soothing shower steamers
1 cup baking soda
½ cup citric acid (You can substitute Epsom salt or baking soda if you don’t want to use citric acid, but the shower bombs won’t fizz.)
½ cup cornstarch or arrowroot powder
⅛ cup kaolin or bentonite clay
80 drops eucalyptus essential oil**
50 drops spearmint essential oil**
**(Or your chosen essential oil blend)
Water or witch hazel or rubbing alcohol
Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Gently whisk them until they are evenly distributed.
Add the essential oils by sprinkling the drops randomly over the surface of the dry ingredients. The oils won’t initiate the fizzing action, so don’t worry about stirring between different oils.
After the essential oils are added, use the whisk to blend them with the dry ingredients.
Using a spray bottle (or very small spoonfuls), add your chosen liquid to the dry ingredients a little at a time. Mix well in between spritzes.
At this point, you may want to use your hands to knead the mixture to give you a better idea of how the consistency is coming along. You want to add just enough liquid to dampen the dry ingredients so they will stick together like wet sand.
Be aware that humidity in the air can affect how much liquid you will need. If you make this recipe on a dry day, it may require slightly more liquid than if you make it on a humid or muggy day.
Using a mixing spoon or your hands, scoop the damp mixture into the silicone mold. Press firmly, and make sure the edges are smooth and not too thin.
Allow the shower melts to dry for several hours or overnight before unmolding.
Stress-relieving shower gift ideas
It seems like there’s always a birthday, holiday, or another gift-giving occasion right around the corner. Homemade shower melts are an easy make-ahead gift idea. Whip up a few batches, and tuck them away for last-minute gift ideas.
Create a DIY spa gift basket. Include shower steamers, bath melts, sugar scrub, and a relaxing massage oil.
Individually wrap shower bombs in clear cellophane and tie with raffia or ribbon. Give several different scents, artfully arranged in a gift box, to a tired or overworked friend for a fun pick-me-up.
Stack shower melts in a mason jar and top with a pretty painted lid in a coordinating color (pink for rose-scented, mint green for minty shower melts, etc.).
Create a themed gift basket. For sleep, include a lavender shower steamer, lavender tea bags, and a lavender essential oil pillow sachet. If the recipient loves roses, use a rose absolute shower steamer, rose bath melts, and a pretty potpourri made with rose petals from your garden, and other rose-scented ingredients.