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Child-Safe Shower Steamers for Congestion

This recipe for child-safe shower steamers for congestion and colds is a natural way to ease discomfort when your family is feeling the effects of seasonal illnesses or allergies.

Watching your little ones suffer with a stuff nose or irritated throat is so sad.

When my toddler caught a cold a little while ago, she wouldn’t let me use the Nose Frida on her. All I could do was stand in the shower with her and let steam loosen her congestion.

With these shower steamers, you can amplify the soothing power of a warm shower to help your family feel a bit better when they’re suffering from congestion.

child-safe shower steamers for colds and congestion

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Ingredients for child safe shower steamers for congestion

  • 250 g of baking soda 
    • This is approximately 1 cup, but weighing is more accurate!
  • 120 grams of citric acid
    • This is approximately 1/2 cup
  • 2 grams of essential oil. I recommend using Sniffle Stopper.
    • 2 grams of essential oils is approximately 60 drops
    • If you don’t have Sniffle Stopper, 40 drops of lavender and 20 drops of eucalyptus works well. Tea tree is also a helpful essential oil for colds. This set from Now Foods has lavender, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil.
    • Please see below for more information about eucalyptus oil!
  • 20 grams of oil (sweet almond oil, EVOO, or your other favorite cold-pressed oil)
  • Spritz bottle with alcohol or witch hazel
    • 91% isopropyl works, but I prefer to use Everclear because it’s what I use for my homemade cleaning products.
    • The alcohol evaporates over 24 hours, leaving you with a nice, hard shower steamer!
    • Witch hazel is mostly water, which can cause the shower steamer to activate while you are making it. Many people use it for making shower steamers and bath bombs, so if you’re comfortable/familiar with it, you can use it.
  • Bath bomb or soap mold – plastic or metal is better. I love silicone, but, in my experience, silicone molds don’t work well for bath bombs and shower steamers.
  • Mesh strainer, optional but recommended.
  • Nitrile gloves, optional but recommended.
  • Clean bowls, spoons, and spatulas for measuring and mixing.
  • A piece of parchment or wax paper for easy clean up, optional but recommended.
    • I prefer the If you Care brand
  • If you want to use these as bath bombs, you will also need 6 grams of polysorbate 80 added with the other liquids.

Exact yield will vary somewhat depending on how much liquid you add and how tightly you pack your molds. I made three ~4 ounce (by weight) shower steamers with this recipe.

eucalyptus lavender shower steamers

If you plan to make your own skincare or bath products, owning an accurate digital scale that can measure .01 grams is important. Although volume measurements like cups and teaspoons are convenient for most of us, they are not effective for formulating. I didn’t realize just how important weighing all ingredients in grams is until I started studying for my Certificate in skincare formulation with the School of Natural Skincare.

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Is eucalyptus oil safe for children?

People frequently debate if eucalyptus essential oil is safe for children. 

First, remember that you should always consult your pediatrician if you have questions about your child’s health or using essential oils. Also, you should always avoid using essential oils on or around newborns.

Dr. Tisserand’s Essential Oil Safety is a go-to guide for safe use of essential oils. If you don’t have the textbook, you can find a wealth of information on the Tisserand essential oil safety pages.

This page about the safety of peppermint and eucalyptus for children oil explains that it is best to avoid peppermint completely for children under 3, but that eucalyptus can be diffused or applied topically up to .5% for children under 3 or up to 1% for children 3-6. The amount of eucalyptus in these shower steamers is well below .5% by volume.

eucalyptus leaves and essential oil

As mentioned above, if you plan to use these as bath bombs, it is important to add polysorbate 80. Polysorbate 80 is a solubilizer that helps the essential oils incorporate into the bath water instead of forming blobs on the water’s surface. These blobs of essential oil can be hazardous, especially to children.

Alright, let’s get to making some shower steamers!

child safe shower steamers for congestion

How to make child-friendly shower steamers for colds

Scroll down past the tutorial for a printable shower steamer recipe card!

Measure your ingredients into clean bowls or measuring cups. Keep all ingredients separate for the time being.

Add your baking soda and citric acid to your large mixing bowl. Use a mesh strainer to ensure there are no lumps.

adding baking soda through a mesh strainer

Stir to combine the dry ingredients.

Add your essential oils, and polysorbate if using, to your carrier oil. If you aren’t using oil and will rely on alcohol or witch hazel, combine essential oils and polysorbate, if using.

Add oil mixture to the baking soda and citric acid. Mix to combine. I find it easiest to wear a pair of gloves and knead the mixture with my hands.

stir to combine shower steamer ingredients

Put your piece of wax paper or parchment paper down.

Add alcohol or witch hazel a few spritzes at a time until the mixture is just moist enough to stick together. Adding too much at a time can cause the mixture to fizz up.

spritz shower steamer mixture with alcohol

To test your mixture, compress a handful and see if it retains its shape. If it does, drop this ‘blob’ into the bowl. If it breaks apart, add more alcohol. If it mostly stays together, you’re ready to pack your molds! Repeat as needed, adding just a little alcohol at a time.

Pack your mixture into molds. I used a plastic soap mold. Dust off excess with your hands. You can use your piece of wax paper to collect any material that falls and pour it back into your bowl for use.

Allow your shower steamers to harden for 12-24 hours before de-molding.

Store in an airtight container before use (humidity can ruin shower steamers!) and use within a month for best results.

How to use shower steamers

Using shower steamers is easy!

All you need to do is set your shower steamer in the corner of your shower out of the direct stream of water. When it becomes wet, it will fizz and activate, releasing helpful essential oils.

To make the oils release more quickly, move the shower steamer more into the flow of water. To make it release more slowly, move it further out of the water’s flow.

If you’d like, you can place the shower steamer in an open plastic container. This keeps the ingredients from getting into the shower, itself. Because there are no colorants or mica powders, these steamers do not make much of a mess, but the small amount of oil can be a little bit slippery. Putting the shower steamer in a container keeps the oil contained.

Don’t lose track of this shower steamer recipe! Pin it now!

must-know kid-friendly shower steamer recipe
Yield: 3 4 oz steamers

Shower steamers for congestion

Shower steamers for congestion

These shower steamers are a child-safe way to ease congestion.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Active Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes

Materials

  • 250 g of baking soda
  • 120 grams of citric acid
  • 2 grams of essential oil. I recommend using Sniffle Stopper.
  • 20 grams of oil (sweet almond oil, EVOO, or your other favorite cold-pressed oil)
  • If you want to use these as bath bombs, you will also need 6 grams of polysorbate 80 added with the other liquids.

Tools

  • Spritz bottle with alcohol or witch hazel
  • Bath bomb or soap mold – plastic or metal is best.
  • Mesh strainer, optional but recommended.
  • Nitrile gloves, optional but recommended.
  • Clean bowls, spoons, and spatulas for measuring and mixing.
  • A piece of parchment or wax paper

Instructions

    Measure your ingredients into clean bowls or measuring cups. Keep all ingredients separate for the time being.

    Add your baking soda and citric acid to your large mixing bowl. Use a mesh strainer to ensure there are no lumps. Stir to combine the dry ingredients.

    Add your essential oils, and polysorbate if using, to your carrier oil. If you aren’t using oil and will rely on alcohol or witch hazel, combine essential oils and polysorbate, if using.

    Add oil mixture to the baking soda and citric acid. Mix to combine. I find it easiest to wear a pair of gloves and knead the mixture with my hands.

    Put your piece of wax paper or parchment paper down.

    Add alcohol or witch hazel a few spritzes at a time until the mixture is just moist enough to stick together. Adding too much at a time can cause the mixture to fizz up.

    To test your mixture, compress a handful and see if it retains its shape. If it does, drop this ‘blob’ into the bowl. If it breaks apart, add more alcohol. If it mostly stays together, you’re ready to pack your molds! Repeat as needed, adding just a little alcohol at a time.

    Pack your mixture into molds. I used a plastic soap mold. Dust off excess with your hands. You can use your piece of wax paper to collect any material that falls and pour it back into your bowl for use.

    Allow your shower steamers to harden for 12-24 hours before de-molding.

    Store in an airtight container before use (humidity can ruin shower steamers!) and use within a month for best results.

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soothing lavender eucalyptus shower steamers
{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Vladka November 13, 2019, 04:12

    I love the recipe and the video too. I am going to make it, just don’t know what is sniffle stopper? Is it kind of essential oil? I am from Europe so maybe we have a different name for it here. Thanks

    • Natasha November 13, 2019, 11:42

      Sniffle Stopper is a particular child-safe essential oil blend for congestion. It’s made by Plant Therapy. You can use other essential oils for congestion, instead!

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