· Natural Remedies · Kick Congestion To The Curb With This Easy Vapor Rub

Kick Congestion To The Curb With This Easy Vapor Rub

vapor rub

I love the challenge of trying to make a homemade version of something that works just as well as its store-bought counterpart. And if I can do that using things I already happen to have on hand, that’s just the icing on the cake! :-)

And that’s precisely how I ended up with my recipe for a homemade vapor rub (à la Vicks), which I’ll be sharing with you in today’s blog post! It works like a charm for easing congested airways, making it a useful addition to any cold and flu “survival kit!”

Related:  7 Surprisingly Practical Uses For Eucalyptus Oil You Need To Know

vapor rub

What’s In It?

Let’s start with a quick overview of the four ingredients that go into this vapor rub – coconut oil and a few of the best essential oils for congestion – and how they work together to clear up congestion and quiet coughs:

How To Make Your Own All-Natural Vapor Rub

vapor rub


1/4 cup virgin coconut oil
10-15 drops peppermint essential oil
10-15 drops eucalyptus essential oil
5-10 drops lemon essential oil

vapor rub


In your microwave or a double boiler, gently melt the coconut oil until it is completely liquified. Add the peppermint, eucalyptus, and lemon oils to the melted coconut oil and stir to combine.

vapor rub

Pour the oil mixture into a small jar and allow it to solidify. You can do it quickly by placing it in the fridge, or leave it out on the counter if you’re not in a hurry to use it.

vapor rub

How To Use It

Apply the vapor rub to your chest, neck, and back, the same way you would use the store-bought stuff. The essential oils will help open airways, loosen coughs, and provide a pleasantly cool tingling sensation.

Don’t apply this mixture to broken skin, sensitive skin, or your face. (The pleasant tingling sensation of peppermint oil feels a lot less pleasant anywhere near your eyes!)

vapor rub

A Note About Kids

For young children, use about half the amount of essentials oils listed in this recipe. Avoid using it on children under two. Instead, add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a diffuser to help ease congestion.

vapor rub

Bonus Tip: Make It Mini!

  • You can easily adjust this recipe to make a smaller amount of vapor rub.
  • This mini version of the recipe will make just enough to see you through your cold without having a lot leftover!
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, pour it into a small jar, and add 5 drops of peppermint oil, 5 drops of eucalyptus oil, and 3 drops of lemon oil.
  • Stir with a bamboo skewer and allow to solidify before using.

What are your must-haves for surviving a bout of cold or flu?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Natural Remedies

  • Hi Jillee,
    Do you make homemade lip balm? Mine has beeswax, sweet almond oil, coconut oil and Vitamin E (squeezed out of those caplets-seems like less additives in those). All these ingredients are good for skin in general. So, with a cold, the skin around your nose can get really chapped and sore, but this lip balm really helps. It may sound strange to put lip balm on your face, but the beeswax also helps put a thin barrier over your tender nose and upper lip skin. Of course, if you are wiping and blowing a lot, like at the beginning of a cold, you reapply a little more often.
    Also, we don’t use Vick’s very often, but my daughter loves your Defend essential oil blend in her diffuser (I got this for her for Christmas from your shop).
    Thank you!

  • Spring, summer and fall we use Vicks as an insect repellent , which works great! This year I’m going to see if this works as well. Fingers are crossed!!

  • Your recipe for a vapor rub may be fine for those who have to time or energy, when feeling ill, to shop for all the ingredients. However, if I am down with a chest cold or flu and it is accompanied by a fever I call my doctor. If no fever is present, I just use that old stand-by Vicks. Your recipes are fine for those who have the time, but at my age, I must admit, I take the easy way out.

  • Eucalyptus is not recommended for children under 10 years old.. . safe substitutes are Fir Needle, Pine or Spruce essential oils.

    Peppermint essential oil is not recommended under 6 years of age.

  • This sounds great. One question, though; I can’t use eucalyptus so am wondering if there is something else I can use instead, like maybe menthol? Must give this a try. Thanks.

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