VapoRub Isn’t Just Meant For Colds. Here Are 11 Clever Ways It Could Improve Your Health


A classic, Vicks VapoRub has been around for over a century and is a staple in many households. What began as a home remedy to combat colds, flu, and other common ails shot into popularity during the early 20th century. Bought by Proctor & Gamble in the ‘80s, the use of Vicks spread globally.

Made with a combination of menthol, camphor, and other ingredients such as oils of thyme, eucalyptus, and nutmeg, the salve cools and soothes at the same time. Individually, these items have specific uses including pain relief, itch reduction, anti-fungal, increasing circulation, and acne fighting.

Fast forward to today, where faithful users tout the famous rub for everything from coughs to stretch marks. Leave it up to good old fashioned ingenuity to find ways to repurpose the mainstay product. It’s no wonder that with all the combined properties of Vicks VapoRub that we use it for more than as a decongestant.

One of the world’s most common over-the-counter remedies is probably sitting in one of your cabinets right now. Let’s take a look at the list below at a few clever ways that people use Vicks in their everyday lives.

1. Pimple Buster

Got a huge zit that you swear everyone’s staring at? Some of the ingredients in VapoRub have antiseptic and skin healing properties. Try dabbing a small dot of the rub on a pimple to dry it out and make it disappear.

2. Headaches

If you have a sinus headache, inhaling the vapors can help open up your clogged passageways. All you need to do is rub a tiny bit of Vicks under your nose. Another method for non-sinus headaches is to rub a small amount onto your temples. It’s thought to relieve the pressure you can feel from your headache.

3. Nail Fungus

Here again, many of the compounds in the Vicks ointment are anti-fungal and can work against funky fungal growth in your nails. Use a cotton swab to apply it to your toes or fingernails and let it go to work. Wearing socks to bed will help to protect your feet as Vicks does its job.

4. Stretch Marks/Cellulite

I know, you’re thinking: “Really? Stretch marks?” There are people who swear by this one – even posting videos on the internet about how great it works and how to do it. While you can look up entire processes on the best ways to VapoRub your cellulite and stretch marks into subspace, just try using it as balm or lotion and rub it into the affected areas.

5. Itch and Sting Relief

From poison ivy to bee stings and mosquito bites, grandmamas across the world have stuck to using Vicks to stop itching and pain from outdoor encounters. It’s also been reported that mites are doomed if VapoRub is used as weapon against their attacks. Just rub it in and let those magical ingredients do their thing!

6. Dry Feet

Are scaly, ashy looking feet an issue for you? Spread some VapoRub on the soles of your feet like butter to battle cracked, dry skin. Pay special attention to problem areas like the heels. Cover your feet with cotton socks overnight and wash the salve off in the morning using warm water.

7. Nausea 

The use of mint aromatically and internally has been a popular go-to for nausea. Some people use Vicks by rubbing a small line under their noses or creating a facial steam to inhale. The minty/menthol scent has been heard to quell queasy tummies.

8. Burns

Ouch! It hurts when you touch a hot iron by mistake or steam escapes from a simmering pot. A minor burn can be soothed with VapoRub. Camphor and other elements in Vicks have the ability to heal burns and numb the pain they cause.

9. Creaky Doors

Attention handymen and women: Vicks has been known to cure creaky doors with a quick slather and pat. In case you can’t get your hands on oil or WD40, try it and see for yourself.

10. Shower Bombs

Instead of inhaling Vicks off of your body or through a humidifier, you can make you very own shower “fizzies” to ease congestion. Place them on the shower floor and allow the hot water to melt them into a vapory steam.

11. Bruises

This is actually one of the uses listed on an old Vicks advertisement from the 1920s. Camphor and menthol contain constituents that aid in circulation, which help bruises to heal faster. Rub a little bit of the ointment onto a bruise to aid in healing.

Keep in mind that the majority of these methods aren’t backed by scientific studies, so proceed with diligence and caution. As with any home remedy, know when to seek medical attention for your particular problem. Do you keep VapoRub on hand for multiple uses? What else do you use it for? Tell us in the comments!

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