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Commercial vapor rubs are not as harmless as you may think. They contain ingredients that can actually cause breathing problems! Try this homemade vapor rub instead.

homemade Vicks

Homemade vapor rub

Well, unfortunately it’s cold season. I find the worst thing about having a cold is being unable to breathe properly. I’m sure you’d agree, it’s so uncomfortable, not to mention annoying to be congested and to have a stuffy nose. To remedy that, I’ve concocted a very simple vapor rub recipe (got the idea from a friend).

Ditch the Vicks

When I was young, we always to turned to vapor rub to help us feel better (didn’t we all?). However, I don’t recommend commercial (store-bought) vapor rubs because they contain harmful ingredients. Instead, I recommend a homemade decongestant like my homemade vapor rub.

Harmful ingredients in commercial vapor rubs

What makes commercial vapor rubs so harmful? Well, first of all, they contain turpentine oil. Turpentine oil can cause breathing problems, which is the thing it is supposed to help with in the first place! I know, ridiculous.

Furthermore, they contain petroleum jelly. Petroleum jelly is a by-product of oil. You know, the kind they drill for. Need I say more?

As a result of the dangers of potential breathing problems of using commercial vapor rubs, it should not be used with children under two. Commercial vapor rub is not as harmless as you may have thought.

A safe alternative

Unlike commercial vapor rubs, my homemade Vicks contains only two ingredients. These ingredients, that you may have on hand, are coconut oil and essential oils. I use peppermint oileucalyptus oil and camphor essential oil.* If you do not have all these essential oils, I would suggest eucalyptus oil as my number one choice.

These essential oils are expectorants, which mean they help to loosen phlegm so you can cough it up. It is for this reason that they are great decongestants.

You can use this homemade vapor rub topically (applied to the skin) or you can add it to an essential oil diffuser.

*If you would rather buy it, you can grab my roll-on vapor rub here.

Homemade Vapor Rub
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 4 drops camphor essential oil
  1. Add coconut oil to a container.

  2. Pour in essential oils and combine well.

  3. Use as needed (apply to chest, under nose).

Recipe Notes

*These oils may not be safe for young children. Eucalyptus oil is not recommended for children under 10. Peppermint essential oil is not recommended for children under 6.

*During the colder months, coconut oil will harden. Therefore I find it easiest, during these times, to scrape the coconut oil out of the jar with a spoon. You shouldn't use your fingers anyway as it can add bacteria to the vapor rub. So you should use something you can throw away or wash each time.

Where I buy my ingredients

I am very frugal. My mom taught me well. I always hunt down the best products for the best price. Here is a list of what I used and where I bought it.

  1. Organic virgin coconut oil – local grocery store (Superstore) or Costco
  2. Peppermint essential oil – Amazon or Plant Therapy
  3. Eucalyptus essential oil – Amazon or Plant Therapy
  4. Camphor essential oil – Amazon or Plant Therapy

Please share if you know someone who would love this recipe. Thanks! 🙂

Have you tried a homemade vapor rub? Have you tried eucalyptus essential oil for colds? Share your comments below.

I wish you health and happiness,



homemade vapor rub








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