Shower tabs have been on my “to do” list since last year. There are never enough hours in the day or days in the week or weeks in the year for me to get to everything though! This year I was determined to experiment with them so they went to the top of my list.
It’s been interesting! I had one recipe I knew would work (a variation from Holly Port’s book Make it Fizz.) Then started the research. Over the past year I’d had been book marking a bunch of different pages I’d come across on making shower tabs. From there I did some reading/research and then came up with five different recipes (six technically…but it was very similar to one recipe so I didn’t count it.)
The results were quite interesting.
Test 1: Baking Soda
I didn’t believe in this method from the get go. I just didn’t think it would get hard enough or stay hard enough to last any significant amount of time in a shower.
First, despite experimenting with different amounts of water I couldn’t get these to hard up. I tried putting them in the oven too. Nothing worked. They just never harden up much. I could get a couple out of the mold mostly intact, but many ended up like the picture below. Plus it took very little pressure for me to break them. I wasn’t convinced they last through even half a shower. I didn’t even bother testing these.
They were so soft I just broke up the baking soda and reused it in other batches.
Test 2: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
(Please disregard the misspelled “backing”…my brain apparently wasn’t working when I was making the pictures.)
I did a couple variations of baking soda and citric acid. This batch I put in the oven (mostly because I was curious to how they respond). I didn’t think it would work to put them in the oven with citric acid, but I’d read a lot about people doing that. All I can say: Complete disaster!
They grew and grew and grew. It was kind of funny actually. They still work and they’re quite hard, but they do dissolve faster. In part because I think they’re not dense and water just goes through the entire tab, hence it’s dissolving faster.
For your amusement: You can see just how MUCH the tabs grew in the oven. I tried the same recipe (with one minor alteration in Test 3) and as you can see they turned out much better.
Test 3: Baking Soda/Citric Acid
These were essentially the same as Test 2 (one minor change to the recipe). I didn’t not apply any heat to these. These are probably my favorite of all the trial ones. They work well. They seem to last a full ten minutes in the shower (if I control how much water hits them) and they release a good aroma.
Test 4: Baking Soda/Citric Acid w/ Oils & Butters
These worked mostly ok. They were much softer than test batch 3 though and didn’t unmold as well. Testing wise they work as well as Batch 3 for me, but they are softer and I think they last maybe a tad being less than Test Batch 3…is so insignificant an amount of time that it probably doesn’t matter. The oils make them more expensive and I’m not sold on them being worth it in a product that basically is being washed down the drain.
Because these were much softer than Test 3 (with the only difference being the oils/butters) I did a second round adding more alcohol to them. They were a little harder, but still softer than Test Batch 3.
Test 5: Altered Recipe from Make it Fizz
These worked perfectly. I like them, but I have one major problem with them. They’re SO EXPENSIVE to make (compared to the other four test batches). I mean like 3-4x more expensive. And I have a hard time using such nice oils in a shower tab. The oils just go down the drain…and to me that’s such a waste.
There you have it. I’ve got friends testing them for me now to see if they find the same results I do when they use them. Overall, I think Test Batch 3 is my favorite of them all.