Hopefully cold and flu won’t strike at your home this year, but in case it does, this natural vapor rub is a good natural remedy to have around. I used to keep regular Vicks Vapor Rub and the baby version on hand for times when the seasonal cold would hit until I realized that it had PETROLEUM in it … yuck!
In the name of not consuming or slathering my children’s skin with anything that is more beneficial to a car engine, I’ve been making this really easy homemade version ever since.
How to Make a Natural Vapor Rub Alternative
The familiar blue bottle of vapor rub was a staple around my house growing up, and now as a parent I understand why. Cold and cough treatment options are limited for babies and kids, and vapor rub is invaluable for soothing the coughing and congestion that can really interfere with everyone’s ability to get a good night’s sleep. (The most essential component to getting well and staying well!)
Don’t let the ingredient list deter you from making this recipe, either. If you don’t have the necessary ingredients on hand or don’t want to take the time to make this recipe, mixing the essential oils with coconut oil works almost as well!
Thankfully, since I started making DIY natural products some great companies have come out with more and more natural store-bought versions. (Options are great!) I found a pre-made natural vapor rub in case you don’t have the ingredients on hand and there is even a formula specifically for babies and children. I haven’t found it in a store near me yet, but if you have a Whole Foods or a natural health store nearby you might be in luck!
Essential Oil Vapor Rub Safety
Caution: If making this for babies or children under age six, make sure to use essential oils that are safe for these ages. I take safe use of essential oils very seriously, and err on the side of caution. I love this kid-safe line of essential oils because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of choosing the correct oils. The Sniffle Stopper is most similar to my blend in this recipe.
I make a gentler kid-safe version of this recipe by using just 4 drops of the eucalyptus and fir oils and omitting the rest.
Natural Vapor Rub Recipe
A soothing and petroleum-free version of the classic cough and cold soother
Vapor Rub Ingredients
- 1/2 cup olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil
- 2 TBSP beeswax pastilles (level, not heaping)
- 20 drops of eucalyptus oil (use only 4 drops for use on babies and young children)
- 20 drops peppermint oil (substitute 4 drops fir essential oil for use on babies and small children)
- 10 drops rosemary oil (omit for use on babies and small children)
- 10 drops cinnamon or clove oil (optional – omit for use on babies or small children)
Vapor Rub Instructions
- Melt beeswax with oil of choice in a double boiler until just melted.
- Add the essential oils (use half the amount for a baby version or dilute with coconut oil before using)
- Stir until well mixed and pour into some type of container with a lid to store. Small tins work well, as do little jars. I also always make a few in empty lip chap sticks to keep in my purse or to use on baby feet.
- Use as needed to help reduce coughing and congestion.
Many essential oils, including these, are not considered safe for babies or small children. Make sure to dilute for babies and children and use as little as is needed. Always check with a doctor or healthcare provider about using herbs or essential oils on young children.
You can also make this recipe with 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.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.
What are your tried and true remedies for beating illnesses? Ever made your own vapor rub? Share below!