Herb baths can be a great way to relieve some skin conditions, ease symptoms of illness, or calm nerves. But how do you take an herbal bath without needing to re-bathe yourself and the tub of leftover plant matter? Here are five ways to take an herbal bath without messing up your tub – and with things you may already have at home!
For each method, use between 1/4 and 1/3 cup of your chosen herb or herb blend. Here are Five Easy Herbal Bath Blends if you don’t have your own. It is important not to bundle herbs too tightly using any method – give them room so the water can flow through easily.
Tie or fasten your bag or contraption from below underneath the faucet. Close the drain, and turn the water to its hottest setting. Obviously, do not be IN the tub, and use caution with small children during this step. Turn the water to a medium-low stream, so that it runs through the bag over the herbs. Fill the tub to 1/4 of your intended depth. Turn the water off, and drop the herbs (still in their contraption) into the water. Let steep for five minutes. Then check the water temperature and adjust as necessary and finish filling the tub. Leave the herbs in the water while you soak, cleanse, and heal.
For use with small children, or for convenience, the herbs may be steeped in six cups of water on the stovetop. Bring water to a boil, then allow it to cool until it stops bubbling before adding herbs. Do not boil the herbs. Steep five to ten minutes before removing the herbs and allowing it to cool. As always, if you are using herbs with children, ensure their safety first and remember they may need far less than an adult.
5 Less-Mess Ways to Add Herbs to Your Bath
An Old T-Shirt
Your thinnest, oldest, tee, or at least the clean one that fits the description. Preferably light in color, like an undershirt. Cut off the top, including the arms and collar. Cut down one side to form a piece that will lay flat. If necessary, trim to about a 10-inch square. Add herbs to the middle of the square, and gather the corners and edges to create a little pouch. Tie with string or secure with a rubber band.
Clean socks or pantyhose. Or trouser socks. Or thigh-highs. Whatever you’ve got going on! Just note the word “clean”, and avoid using new and brightly-colored socks. They can bleed into the tub, and those dyes may be irritating. Use your thinnest, oldest socks if that’s what you have – but no holes in the toe. Depending on the size, cut it down to where it would cover an adult foot, or leave it whole. Add herbs to the toe, fasten with a rubber band, string, or even another bit of hosiery! Barring all that, you can just leave yourself a little extra room and a knot in the top of your “tube”. The heavier the sock, the longer it will take to steep your bath, so choose wisely! But don’t go too far – your fishnets aren’t useful here.
If you’ve got good. pure commercially-bagged tea from the plant you want, toss it in your bath! If it’s good enough to go in your body, it will work here. The number of bags used will depend on the amount in each bag, unfortunately. And while I have a “crap ton” of tea in my home, I don’t have them all. Since I usually have loose herbs for this purpose, I’ve only relied on commercially packaged tea twice. Both times, I had success with this organic chamomile tea from Republic of Tea (not an affiliate link). I used four bags each time. OK, from that brand they’re little disks, not traditional bags. They have good reasons. Either will work.
There are also empty disposable tea bags that I sometimes pack for travel when a reusable bag won’t do. I’ve used this brand the last three times I’ve needed empty bags. They’re easy to fill, easy to close securely, and don’t come open or burst in my mug. (Again,not an affiliate link. There are none in this post.)
Finally, you can keep a reusable cloth tea bag on hand. Personally, I haven’t found one I love. In my opinion, they’re difficult to clean because little bits of herbs get stuck in the seams. I have not tried them all! If you have a link to a good one, please feel free to post it in the comments!
Using the method above indicated for children, add your herbs straight to the pot after you’ve allowed the bubbling to stop. Steep five to ten minutes, then carefully strain the herbs in a fine mesh kitchen strainer. Add the resulting tea concentrate to your bath while it fills. Check the temperature real quick and adjust as necessary.
Now do yourself a favor. Do it quickly so your bath doesn’t overflow. Go back to the kitchen, and flick the herbs, while they are warm, into the trash or compost container. Now quickly rinse the strainer, or set it in a bowl of warm water. You’re going to have to clean that sucker, and it’ll be much easier if you’ve taken these steps now. You don’t want to come out of a relaxing bath directly to clean the strainer. You also don’t want to leave that strainer for very long, because the herbs will dry and seem as if they have been set with a Permanent Sticking Charm. So unless you have a house-elf* who will do it for you, do it now.
Go back to your tub, which is now almost full and perfectly warm. Bathe peacefully.
The cone-style filters work best for this application, because they’re easier to stuff with herbs and close. The round ones will work, too, they’re just a little fussier. For a conical filter, add your herbs, then pinch the top back together and fold it over a few times to close. Use a paper clip, clothespin, stapler, brads, alligator clip, chip clip, or large bobby pins to secure it. If you have none of that, unfold it and bunch it up at the top. Secure with string or rubber band.
For the round filters, mound your herbs in the middle of the flat bottom. Then gather up the ruffled sides, making a little pouch. Tie near the top of the ruffles, using a rubber band, string, random hair tie (clean), scrunchie, shoelace (also clean), or a bit of old pantyhose (again).
Bonus – Tea Ball
Like a reusable tea bag, but usually made of metal and found frequently in antique stores or old-fashioned vintage shops. With tea making a bit of a resurgence, you can now find them in specialty kitchen stores or online, with some versions made of silicone or other materials. Great because they’re easy to clean and reusable for generations if you get a sturdy one. Not as great for a bath because they’re usually a little small for the job. But if you want to have some on hand, they’re a good addition to an herbal kitchen, and you can always add more than one to your bath if you have them!
*We at Liberty Zen understand the complexities surrounding the issue of keeping house-elves. It is our view that any intelligent creature wishing to live a liberated life should be permitted to do so. We support the employment of freed house-elves, and the liberation of all those wishing to be free. For those house-elves wishing to remain tied to a family in the traditional manner, we encourage new methods of discipline and punishment, as promoted by S.P.E.W. We hold that all house-elves should be rewarded for their service with payment in their preferred form through contracts agreed to by both parties. While the Ministry should not meddle in the personal contracts, it should see that each elf is permitted the true choice to live free or remain tied to their family with a new contract breaking all older spells or agreements.