Learn how to make DIY shower steamers with menthol crystals and eucalyptus essential oil as a natural home remedy for stuffy noses caused by colds, flu and seasonal allergies. Easy natural relief from congestion caused by colds or allergies, this easy shower steamer recipe is a must for back to school season. Learn more about this home remedy as well as the benefits of menthol crystals when used to promote health and wellness.
Shower Steamers for Natural Symptom Relief from Seasonal Allergies, Colds & Flu
My seasonal allergies have been terrible this year. I mean generally they aren’t great, but I’ve had to pull out the big guns recently. Meaning I stood in line at the actual pharmacy to buy Sudafed. Unfortunately that didn’t work quite as well as I’d hoped, being that it was a last resort. So I made DIY showers steamers with menthol crystals as a last ditch effort to avoid getting a sinus infection. And they worked great at easing my allergy symptoms by opening up my nasal passages so I could breathe better. Better than the Sudafed, in fact. They also conquered that irritating sinus headache I’d had for two days straight.
With back to school right around the corner, there’s really no better time to make your own DIY shower steamers. After all, if you have kids, you know that schools are a cesspool of germs and viruses. When my son started kindergarten I’d had him out of daycare for over year. He got community acquired pneumonia his first week. Of course, seeing as how he inherited my stubborn streak, he ran around like a little chicken with his head cut off anyway. It took two months for him to fully recover.
And of course there are the joys of sports practices. Whether my son was struggling through a cold, or suffering with seasonal allergies himself, I quickly learned that yes, all boys hock loogies the size of a small country.
No one wants to over medicate their kids if they don’t have to. After all, you want them to develop a healthy immune system while also avoiding the overuse of antibiotics. At the same time, however, you don’t want them to suffer either. It’s no fun struggling to breathe through your mouth or fight a sinus headache. Luckily, shower steamers with menthol crystals are a great natural remedy for chest and nasal congestion.
What Are Menthol Crystals?
Menthol crystals are derived from a species from the mint family known as mentha arvensis. These flowering plants, which are found in the mint family known as Lamiaceae, include corn mint, field mint and wild mint and contain the organic compound known as mentol. The menthol is extracted from the plant by freezing the essential oil of said plants, then removing the resulting menthol crystals through a filtering process.
Menthol crystals have a number of therapeutic properties that make them useful in aromatherapy as well as medicinal and cosmetic applications. The medicinal properties they are believed to exhibit make menthol crystals analgesic, anesthetic, antibacterial, cooling, circulation-stimulating, expectorant, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, decongestant, antiemetic and antitussive. While cosmetically they offer antibacterial, invigorating, soothing, cooling, circulation-stimulating and skin plumping properties.
Due to their inherent chemical makeup, menthol crystals are a popular choice for a number of medicinal applications. You may be most familiar with menthol crystals from the over-the-counter product, Vicks VapoRub, in which they are a key component.
Benefits of Menthol Crystals in Shower Steamers
Menthol crystals have a number of benefits when used in aromatherapy. Whether you have a stuffy nose, chest congestion or even a sore throat, menthol crystals have been historically used in aromatherapy to relieve the symptoms of colds, flu and allergies. Not only do menthol crystals help promote easier breathing and offer temporary relief from nasal congestion, they can also be used to soothe sore throats, alleviate fever symptoms, coughs, headaches and sinus related discomfort. Additionally, their aromatherapeutic properties also support immunity and can help with nausea.
While menthol crystals also have a number of both cosmetic and hair care applications, for this purpose I chose to use menthol crystals as a key ingredient in DIY shower steamers. As, when used as a decongestant agent, menthol crystals in combination with eucalyptus essential oil, offer natural symptom relief from stuffy noses and sinus headaches.
Precautions for Using Menthol Crystals in Shower Steamers
It is important to note that menthol crystals are not recommend for use by children ages 7 and under. Likewise, if you are pregnant or nursing you should consult a physician before using menthol crystals. You should also seek out guidance from your doctor before use if you have cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders or hormone-related ailments. Additionally, do not use menthol crystals if you have an open wounds as high levels of absorption may be toxic and take care to keep menthol crystals out of contact with mucous membranes.
The maximum dilution rate for using menthol crystals is 5% in order to protect respiratory system and skin from any distress or discomfort.
How to Make DIY Shower Steamers
Made with menthol crystals and eucalyptus essential oil for their aromatherapeutic benefits, these easy DIY shower steamers are the perfect addition to your morning shower. Just take care not to mistake them for bath bombs. As soaking in a tub filled with menthol crystals is likely leave your lady parts in an overly frigid state.
You make shower steamers in much the same way you would make bath bombs. The main difference is, however, you don’t need additional dry ingredients in your shower steamer recipe aside from the baking soda and citric acid. Nor will you need to use more expensive oils or butters to bind these two ingredients together. As you aren’t soaking in a tub with your shower steamers, you can use an inexpensive carrier oil instead. Additionally, you’ll find that DIY shower steamers harden and dry out much faster than bath bombs as the menthol crystals recrystalize once the shower steamers are made.
Like bath bombs you are working with citric acid. Therefore you may want to use a face mask or respirator to avoid inhaling this ingredient should it become airborne. I also highly recommend wearing gloves to make your DIY shower steamers so you are able to protect your hands from the cooling action of the menthol crystals and eucalyptus essential oils.
You don’t necessarily need a bath bomb mold for this recipe. I used my favorite heavy duty round bath bomb molds to make my shower steamer with menthol crystals. However, as these mold rather easily, you can also use a meat baller for smaller sized shower steamers, or simply mold them into balls with your hands. Other than that, if you need additional tips on making shower steamers, you can find tips and tricks for molding and unmolding bath bombs here.
Shower Steamer Recipe with Menthol Crystals
© Rebecca D. Dillon
10 oz. baking soda
5 oz. citric acid (or cream of tartar)
1.5 – 2 oz. carrier oil, such as sweet almond or fractionated coconut oil (increasing as needed, or witch hazel)
.5 oz. eucalyptus essential oil
.5 oz. menthol crystals
Using a digital scale, weigh out the carrier into a small glass measuring cup. Then weigh out the menthol crystals. Add the menthol crystals to the container with the carrier oil, then stir until the crystals have dissolved. Then weigh out and mix in the eucalyptus essential oil. Set aside.
Next, weigh out the baking soda and citric acid into a large glass or ceramic bowl. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients together until they are evenly combined throughout.
Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, slowly mixing as you go. You want the consistency to be like wet sand. Start with a small amount of the liquid, then work your way up as needed. The mixture should clump and then hold when dropped. You don’t want it to be too wet.
The amount of liquid needed may vary based on how quickly the menthol crystals soak up the oils, as well as the humidity in your area. You can also use witch hazel for this application if you don’t want oil in your tub. (As witch hazel weighs less than oil, you’ll want to use less. As with the oil, add just enough of the liquid as needed for a wet sand consistency.) However, you may run into issues with the shower steamers activating when using witch hazel. Using cream of tartar in place of the citric acid may help to alleviate this somewhat and is a great alternative if you don’t wish to use citric acid.
Mix thoroughly then use your hands, a meat baller or a bath bomb mold to form your shower steamers.
If using a round bath bomb mold, loosely pile the ingredients into each half of the mold. Then lightly pack. Follow with additional mixed ingredients, lightly tap down, then firmly press both sides of the bath bomb mold together. Then unmold your DIY shower steamers.
Repeat until all the ingredients from the shower steamer recipe have been used. Then set your finished shower steamers with menthol crystals aside for several hours, until dry. If your bath bombs crack, use your fingernail to smooth over the cracks.
Once dry, wrap your DIY shower steamers tightly in foodservice film or store in an airtight container until ready for use.
- 10 oz. baking soda
- 5 oz. citric acid
- 1.5 -2 oz. carrier oil, of choice
- .5 oz. eucalyptus essential oil
- .5 oz. menthol crystals
- digital scale
- bath bomb mold or meat baller
- large glass or ceramic bowl
- glass Pyrex measuring cup
- utensils for mixing
- Using a digital scale, weigh out the carrier into a small glass measuring cup. Then weigh out the menthol crystals. Add the menthol crystals to the container with the carrier oil, then stir until the crystals have dissolved. Then weigh out and mix in the eucalyptus essential oil. Set aside.
- Next, weigh out the baking soda and citric acid into a large glass or ceramic bowl. Use a whisk to mix the ingredients together until they are evenly combined throughout.
- Now pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, slowly mixing as you go. You may not need all of the liquid. Add just enough so the shower steamers are the consistency of wet sand. Mix thoroughly then use your hands, a meat baller or a bath bomb mold to form your shower steamers.
- If using a round bath bomb mold, loosely pile the ingredients into each half of the mold. Then lightly pack. Follow with additional mixed ingredients, lightly tap down, then firmly press both sides of the bath bomb mold together. Then unmold your DIY shower steamers.
- Repeat until all the ingredients from the shower steamer recipe have been used. Then set your finished shower steamers with menthol crystals aside for several hours, until dry.
- Once dry, wrap your DIY shower steamers tightly in foodservice film or store in an airtight container until ready for use.
More Natural Remedies for Cold & Allergy Symptom Relief
If you’re looking for more natural alternative for symptom relief of cold and allergy symptoms, then try one of these natural remedies.
- Best Essential Oil Blend for Colds & Flu
- Natural Ways to Fight Colds & Flu This Fall
- How to Make Immune Boosting Elderberry Syrup
- Sickness Support Bath Soak Recipe
- 5 Natural Products to Boost Your Immune System
If you like my DIY shower steamers, then be sure to pin my shower steamer recipe with menthol crystals for later. You can also follow me across your favorite social media platforms for regular DIY ideas for soap, bath and beauty recipes you can craft at home. Follow me now via facebook, twitter and instagram. Or sign up to receive my newsletter to stay in the loop.
This article is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice and is provided for informational purposes only. Information on products mentioned are based on my own personal experience or research and have not been evaluated by the FDA. Please consult a physician prior to making any changes that may impact your healthst