How to Make Your Own Natural Vapor-Rub

How to make your own natural Vapor Rub for illnesses How to Make Your Own Natural Vapor Rub

Hopefully cold and flu won’t strike at your home this year, but this is a good remedy to have on hand in case it does.

For babies and small children especially, treatment options are limited, but congestion and coughing can really interfere with their ability to sleep well.

We used to keep regular Vicks Vapor Rub and the Baby version on hand for illnesses, until I realized that it had PETROLEUM in it.. yuck!

In the name of not consuming or slathering our skin with anything that is more beneficial to a car engine… I’ve been making this really easy homemade version ever since.

If you don’t have the ingredients or don’t want to take the time to make this recipe, mixing the essential oils with coconut oil works almost as well. All ingredients for the recipe below  (including tins or lip chap containers to keep it in) are available here.

Homemade Vapor-Rub Ingredients:

How To Make Vapor Rub:

  1. Melt beeswax with oil of choice in a double boiler  until just melted.
  2. Add the essential oils (use half the amount for a baby version or dilute with coconut oil before using)
  3. Stir until well mixed and pour into some type of container with a lid to store. Little tins work well, as do small jars. I also always make a few in lip chap sticks to keep in my purse or use on baby feet.
  4. Use as needed to help sooth coughing and congestion.
Note: Make sure to dilute for babies and children and use as little as is needed. Can also make with the herbs instead of essential oils by infusing the oil with 1 tablespoon of each of the herbs in a double boiler over medium heat for 2 hours.

What are your tried and true remedies for beating illnesses? Ever made your own remedies? Tell me about it below!

Reader Comments

  1. Jess M. says

    Thanks for posting this!  I have always loved Vicks but never paid attention to the fact that it has petroleum in it…boo!  Hopfully I can find all those ingredients & get some made pronto since I love to grease baby girl up especially when she gets the croup.  Love your site BTW!!

    • Charlotte Quevedo says

      I strongly disagree that cosmetic grade petroleum is harmful. What research do you have to back this up? I know of a person who has done a lot of research on cosmetic mineral oil and petroleum, they are not only just as natural as coconut or any other oil, they are better at certain things, such as moisturizing. I have very curly hair and it was always relentlessly frizzy until I started using pure fragrance free mineral oil. My son’s lips were relentlessly dry and I tried everything. A watee based moisturizer with vaseline cured him. My daughter had a chronic scalp condition. I started using fragrance free mineral oil. The “chronic” condition was gone in a week. Now she does not need it anymore. I would not avoid something because it has mineral oil or petroleum. Cosmetic mineral oil is safe and natural. It is proven to be the best moisturizer there is.

  2. Rebeccajlewis54 says

    I use vicks on my own feet at times. It helps me to sleep better and soothes any tired or sorness that I may have in them. I think this would even smell better. Thanks

    • Tiffani says

      Try making it a bit stronger and putting it in the top of you scentcy burner works great to alleviate stuffy noses and allergy symptoms!

      • Jessica says

        Love this idea! Thanks. :). Love this site too, thanks Katie. ( same name as my little girl, Love It! ) love the uses for Coconut oil too, tried one so far and can’t wait to try some more!

    • EnidinTN says

      The menthol in the eucalyptus is a great cough suppressant. I use a pre-mixed thieves oil (clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary) that stops coughing better than any prescription or OTC cough syrup I’ve ever tried. The other herbs are anti-bacterial. However, please be careful to dilute well!

  3. Deb_conner says

    Thanks for the ideas! Is the coconut oil to be used in place of the olive/almond in the vapor rub? I didn’t see it listed as an ingredient.

  4. Sarah says

    Thank you wellnessmama for the recipe. I didn’t care for the peppermint/cinnamon scent. I had an old jar of vicks baby vapo rub, and it had in order: rosemary eo, eucalyptus eo, lavender eo. With that as my guide, I followed your recipe and instructions, with substitutions. I did 30 drops rosemary eo, 20 drops eucalyptus eo, 20 drops lavender eo. I love it.

  5. says

    How is a vapor rub like Neosporin? ( Stated on the picture above)? Vapor rub helps sooth coughing and congestion and Neosporin you put on your minor wounds. I could not find anything in your article either relating it to Neosporin as the picture says.

  6. Kathy says

    When the kids had coughs, I would steam chopped onions, garlic and cabbage using a strainer setting inside a pan with a little water until it was slightly cooked, then wrap up in a white cloth rag, (an old t-shirt worked great). Then put it on their chest. (be sure to let it cool to nicely warm to avoid burns). This will loosen the cough and bring up a lot of the congestion. They didn’t like the smell but would ask me to put it on after they fell asleep. ; ). It was a lot of work to make in the middle of the night when they started coughing and I was sleepy so I think I’ll make some of this for my grandchildren! Thanks for the ideas!

  7. says

    I didn’t have any beeswax so I mixed 1T oil with a drop or two of each oil. It really improved the headache and stuffy nose I woke up with this morning! I will use the rest of this while I wait for the beeswax I am ordering :) thanks so much for the recipe.

  8. jacquelynlopez says

    Just made it and it’s perfect!! I truly never knew you could make your own things with basic oils that are extremely effective. Thank you!! I look forward to learning more and making more awesome recipes!

  9. says

    You mention to dilute it for babies and children. I have a 27 month old, how exactly do I dilute it? Can I maybe use half the recommended essential oils? Thanks in advance!

  10. says

    This makes about a 3% dilution. Never use more than 1% with children…and peppermint eo is a stimulant and can increase respiratory issues and mucous production. Clove eo and cinnamon eo are known skin irritants and mucous membrane irritants and should be used in small %’s, if at all (and never cinnamon bark eo).Just stick with the eucalyptus eo and 1%…even for adults. More is NOT better in the world of essential oils and they are very effective in small %’s. Please, always research essential oils (from a couple reputable sources) before making homemade recipes. Not all essential oils are safe and can be used without proper education. Spend $60 and get a good safety book (like Robert Tisserands Safety of Essential Oils), not recipe book, if you make a lot of things with essential oils (and particularly if you have children)…you might be surprised at what you find…

    • Kathy says

      I want to make this for a 2 year old and I want to make the application as simple as possible. Instead of making this blend and mixing it with shea butter – can I add the sea butter into the mix? Would it change the consistency? Or should I just half all of the essential oils?

  11. Diana Prins says

    Thanks – I am working hard on social responsible by avoiding products which are animal tested (like Vicks) eat healthy with lots of juicing , planting organic/heirloom seeds and and and … as I am not medicating us with chemicals … this is rather awesome!!

  12. Annabel'sMommy says

    How much would you dilute this for infants? 1:1 ratio? Making this for my daughter this morning, don’t want to hurt her :(

  13. Theresa M. Houghton says

    I love this but my husband is deathly allergic to eucalyptus is there a substitute I can use to keep it effective still?

  14. Melania Bernarda says

    This is an awesome post! Thanks. I just have 2 comments, every time I click on the different links to purchase the essential oils it gets me to the same place. And, what is a double boiler? I have been following your posts for a while and find them amazing! So happy that I stumbled upon them. Great work!

  15. Laurel says

    products like this can help for foot problems like fungus and in grown toenails…I have found that applying Vicks’ and then wrapping my toes over night there was a reduction in toe nail problems. If you add camphor you get a muscle rub like Tiger Balm ingredients include Camphor, Mint, Cinnamon, Cajuput, Clove, and Menthol.
    Cajeput is Melaleuca leucadendra (also called Melaleuca cajeputi) it is related to the Bottle-Brush bush.

  16. Stephanie says

    Love the entire website, anytime I think to myself, “Oh I’d like to make that”, I just come to your website and you already have an awesome DIY for me to follow. Thanks!

  17. Devangi says


    So I made this for my 6 month old with all the essential oils halved. Thing is I had bought a plastic container to pour it in but because it was too hot I poured it in a tall glass bottle initially for a few seconds. Just as I was going to transfer it my daughter started crying. I had to rush her to her. Now it’s set in the tall glass bottle and I don’t know how to transfer it in the small container. Can anyone help?

      • Devangi says

        Thanks Vicki. I was thinking of doing that but was a little skeptical because it is a glass jar. You reckon it would be okay in a double boiler?
        Cheers again.

  18. Brandy says

    Petroleum is all natural and can not hurt you at all. What is used in motor oil is not the same thing. I do not use coconut or olive oil. I sometimes use almond oil but it’s not often. I will be using petroleum since it is safe to use.

  19. Kristin says

    Thank you so much for this recipe! It is helping my baby breathe better through her nose and therefore breastfeed more easily. She absolutely despises any nose sucker, including the Nose Frida, and so this is a great help.

  20. sydne says

    I wish I would have seen this when I came down with a crippling cold a few weeks ago. After using th neti pot my nose was head were much less congested but it would return all too quickly, ginger, lemon and chili powder tea helped break my fever a few times. I bet this remedy
    would have really helped to ward it off. I will be sure to make some up so it will very on hand

  21. Christine says

    I am wondering on the thieves, you said worked better than any cough medicine, did you make that into a vapor rub or just an oil rub? Can you give me the ratio’s of the thieves oils? What brand of essential oils do you use? Some say the expensive MLM oils are just hype, buy from a more reputable company (you get what you pay for), etc. I know it should say 100 percent pure essential oil.
    Back to the better than any cough medicine, my children do not like cough medicine and I feel the chemicals can not be for them. I have tried the vicks and have tried to make a home made vapor and neither one stopped the cough. I had put it on the bottom of the feet. Thank you so much in advance for all your advice and help.

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