DIY Alternative to Vick’s VapoRub

Whether it’s a cold or seasonal allergies, nasal congestion gets in the way of good living. It can keep you awake at night, stop you mid-sentence, or prevent you from doing any activity that requires increased work of breathing.

When congestion strikes, you may want to reach for your tried and true Vick’s VapoRub. But is this actually the best solution?

The Downside of Vick’s

You may have grown up on Vick’s. Like literally felt yourself growing beneath gobs of it slathered on your chest by your mom during bouts of fierce nasal congestion. Sound sleep accompanied you and the goop to bed. Ah, sweet relief. Or so you thought.

In reality, Vick’s VapoRub doesn’t actually relieve your nasal congestion. It’s the methol in the rub that gives the illusion of clearing your nasal passages.

Aside from the fact that it’s not actually doing anything for your nasal congestion, its primary ingredient is camphor. Back in the day, camphor was made from distilled bark and wood of the camphor tree. Today it’s chemically created from turpentine oil.

If you dig a little deeper, you’ll find that turpentine oil is made from the resin of pine trees. Sounds good, right? Wrong. Even though at times it’s possibly safe, it’s known to cause airway spasms. Plus, it’s toxic when too much is applied to your skin or accidentally ingested.

If Vick's isn't so good for you, then what is? Nothing gets is better than homemade. Try out this super simple DIY vapor rub recipe.

DIY Vapor Rub Recipe

If Vick’s isn’t so good for you, then what is? Nothing gets is better than homemade. Try out this super simple DIY vapor rub recipe.


  • tin container
  • glass jar plus lid
  • pot with water
  • disposable stirring stick, like a chopstick


  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 1/2 tbsp candelilla wax
  • essential oils (see below)

How to choose the right essential oils:

If you’re creating this vapor rub for a child, then you’ll want to steer clear of certain essential oils, which are known to be harmful to kids. Specifically, rosemary, peppermint, and eucalyptus.

The best essential oils for children are lemon, sweet orange, sweet marjoram, frankincense, cedarwood, cinnamon leaf, tea tree, lavender, thyme, juniper berry, fragonia, and pine.

If the rub is for an adult, the best options for respiratory relief is a combination of rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint oils. You can add 20 drops of each. You want the rub to have a high dilution of oils for optimal effect.

How to prepare:

  1. Once you have all your supplies, you’ll use the double boiler method. Bring the water in your pot to a boil. Place the ingredients (except the essential oils) inside the glass jar in the boiling water. To protect the glass you can place the jar on top of a lid.
  2. Allow the ingredients to melt. As they melt, stir with the chopstick or another disposable tool.
  3. Once completely melted and combined, remove the jar from the heat and allow to cool slightly. Then you’ll stir in the essential oils and pour the mixture into your tin container.
  4. Allow the mixture to completely cool on the counter. It should form into a paste thick enough to be solid but loose enough to rub on smoothly.

Now you’re ready for true nasal congestion relief the natural way.

Images via Thinkstock


Marie W
Marie W4 months ago

Thank you for posting.

Peggy B
Peggy B4 months ago

interesting article. TYFS

Janet B
Janet B9 months ago


Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer9 months ago

While I'm not sure the info is correct I appreciate that it was presented.

Naomi D
Naomi Dreyer9 months ago

Hmmmmm. I'm not so sure the article is correct.

Joemar K
Joemar Karvelis9 months ago


Cathy B
Cathy B9 months ago

Thank you.

Winn A
Winn A9 months ago


Winn A
Winn A9 months ago


Dr. Jan Hill
Dr. Jan H9 months ago