Have you seen all the recipes for shower melts circulating around on the web? The concept is brilliant. You mix a couple ingredients together to form a hard tablet that you can add essential oils to. Then, you place one in the bottom of the shower, and as the water melts it, the oils are released into the steam, so you breathe them in while you’re showering. It basically turns your shower into a giant diffuser. And that’s a great thing, if you’re looking for relief from congestion caused by sinus problems, allergies, a cold or the flu. Just scent your shower melts with essential oils that help to relieve congestion – peppermint and eucalyptus, for example — and by the end of your shower, you should start to feel some relief from all of that sinus pressure.
Like I said, it’s a brilliant concept, but the recipes I tried were less than brilliant. They all basically danced around the same idea of combining three parts baking soda with one part water. That combination will give you a tablet of sorts, but you either have to wait forever for them to air dry or bake them in the oven before you can use them. Then, once they’re dry, you have to be super careful with them because they crumble really easily. But the biggest problem by far is that they dissolve too fast to get all the diffuser benefits that you’re after. After looking at the comments on a bunch of blogs, I could see that other people felt the same way, so I decided to come up with my own recipe.
Having already developed recipes for dishwasher detergent tabs and laundry detergent tabs, I suspected washing soda was the answer (and it was). If you’re not familiar with washing soda, it’s a close relative of baking soda. Washing soda is sodium carbonate; baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. The only difference between the two is a little water and carbon dioxide. That’s it. And washing soda is about as natural as it gets. It’s made from the ash of sodium-rich plants. It appears in many commercially-produced products, including laundry detergent, toothpaste and some foods, so you’re probably already using it, whether you realize it or not.
In fact, if you pick up a package of store-bought shower melts, you’ll see washing soda on the ingredient list. So, while this is the only homemade shower melt recipe on the web that calls for washing soda, plenty of companies have been using it for this purpose.
Okay, now that you know a little about washing soda, let’s get on to the recipe, shall we?
Shower Diffuser Melts Recipe:
What You’ll Need:
Washing soda can be found on the laundry aisle in many stores. You may also find it at a home improvement store or pool supply store. Amazon sells it, too (though honestly, it’s a lot cheaper in store). Arm & Hammer is the brand you’re likely to come across. They call theirs Super Washing Soda.
If you don’t want to hunt washing soda down, you can also make it yourself. When you bake baking soda, it turns into washing soda. Magic! Here are instructions..
What You Do:
Measure the baking soda and washing soda into a bowl, and mix until well combined.
Add the water, and stir until it forms a paste.
Divide your shower melt mixture between the cups of a silicone muffin pan.
Press it in with your hands or the back of a spoon, so it’s firmly packed. Try to work as fast as you can. The mixture will harden very quickly. Trust me when I say you don’t want to stop to answer the phone during this step. You’ll come back to a bowl of concrete.
But it’s that quick-dry quality that’s going to give you really good shower melts.
Allow the melts to dry (like I said, it won’t take long). Then, remove them from the muffin pan (they’ll pop right out if you used a silicone pan), and fragrance them with essential oils.
Whenever you use essential oils, it’s important to stick to safe dilution rates. Most essential oil books recommend a 1% dilution rate for kids and a 2% dilution rate for adults. For this recipe, that means you could use up to 12 drops of oil per shower melt for kids and 24 for adults. I’ve been using 10 per shower melt, and that seems to be plenty.
Some essential oils aren’t safe for kids. Invest in a good essential oil book so you can educate yourself.
I have this one: Essential Oils Natural Remedies: The Complete A-Z Reference of Essential Oils for Health and Healing. It’s arranged so that you can look up information by the problem you’re treating or by the oil. It’s become an important part of my reference library. I find myself reaching for it all the time.
Which Oils Do I Use in My Shower Melts?
My primary interest has been in treating sinus problems, so I’ve been using peppermint oil (good for headaches), eucalyptus (a decongestant) and tea tree oil (which has anti-bacterial properties). Here’s the blend that I came up with:
4 drops eucalyptus oil
4 drops peppermint oil
2 drops tea tree oil
This blend also works well for cold/flu symptoms.
And here are some of the other blends that my family has been using:
Seasonal Allergy Melts
4 drops lavender oil
4 drops peppermint oil
2 drops lemon oil
4 drops peppermint oil
4 drops lemon oil
2 drops rosemary
You can either fragrance your shower melts when you make them (store them in an air-tight container, if you do), or leave them fragrance-free until you’re ready to use them. This allows you to choose your oils based on your needs on that particular day, and ensures your oils are at their most potent.
To Use Your Shower Melts:
Place one on the floor of your shower, where it will get wet, but not drenched. Then, breathe in deeply as the oils vaporize. These melts are long-lasting, so it’s quite likely they’ll outlast your shower. Just push it into the corner of your shower, and it’ll be there for next time.
A Word of Warning:
I’m not a doctor or even an expert on essential oils, so I can’t tell you what’s safe for you and your family. It’s smart to do your own research (I always do).
And not to get all obvious here, but shower melts could pose a tripping hazard for some people (young kids, the elderly and the accident prone). Use your own judgement there.