10 Surprising Uses for Vapor Rub


Some parents everywhere swear by the healing power of vapor rub. It's been used to treat cough and cold symptoms since the 1890s, when Vicks VapoRub was invented. But vapor rub — a mentholated ointment that includes topical analgesics and other ingredients — can do a lot more than quiet a cough. Its strong odor and pain-relieving qualities make vapor rub a truly multifunctional item to keep on hand.

Buy your own vapor rub here.

Video of the Day

10 Surprising Ways to Use Vapor Rub

1. Treat Itchy Insect Bites

If you've ever had a mosquito bite on your ankle, you know that a single tiny bite can drive you absolutely mad. The next time a little pest takes a bite out of you, apply some vapor rub to the area. It'll relieve the discomfort and itching, and should help minimize swelling.

Woman scratching her arm

2. Repel Insects, Too

You can't help it that all the neighborhood insects are naturally attracted to you. Luckily, if you treat your first insect bite with vapor rub, you may notice that bugs start steering clear. Vicks VapoRub includes cedarleaf oil, a natural insect repellent. Other brands of vapor rub may also contain different ingredients that keep insects at bay. For example, Puriya Breathe-Ease Balm contains lavender oil, another insect repellant.

You can also buy vapor rub with lavender.

Mosquito on Hand

3. Relax Aching Muscles

Vapor rub isn't only for sore and aching muscles caused by sickness. It can be a useful tool for athletes and anyone who suffers with aches and pains. When you pull a calf muscle or wake up with a crick in your neck, try massaging vapor rub into the affected area. Bonus: the mentholated odor will wake you up as effectively as coffee.

massaging pain in leg after exercise

4. Heal Your Heels

Cracked and dry heels are a normal part of being an active person. Just because it's normal doesn't make it any less irritating, though. Vapor rub can work wonders on cracked heels, especially if it has hydrating ingredients like beeswax and coconut oil. Try Natrulo Vapor Rub, which contains both. Before bed, massage the ointment onto clean skin. Wear socks to bed and wash your feet in the morning.

Buy your own moisturizing vapor rub to heal your feet.

Female feet under blanket

5. Make a Smelly Job Easier

That stinky trashcan isn't going to empty itself, nor is the baby going to change their own diaper. It's time to face the (smelly) music. Before tackling a task that you know is going to involve unpleasant odors, rub a small amount of vapor rub just under your nose. The strong mentholated smell will mask everything else. Be careful to keep the ointment from getting in your nose.

A close up shot of a baby boy changing diaper

6. Minimize Sunburn Pain

You had your fun in the sun, and now you're paying the price. Vapor rub won't get rid of a sunburn, but it will temporarily relieve the discomfort and cool your burned skin. It may also minimize swelling and redness. If you don't have aloe available, vapor rub is a good backup.

Sunblock Application

7. Soothe a Headache

Vapor rub is commonly used to soothe chest aches, but it can be equally potent for an aching head. Try massaging a little of the ointment onto your temples and across your forehead. If you've taken pain relievers for the ache, the vapor rub may ease your suffering while you wait for the medication to kick in. You can also try a product like Maty's All Natural Baby Chest Rub, which contains soothing ingredients like chamomile and lavender.

Buy your own vapor rub with chamomile and lavender.

Not today, world

8. Repel a Scratching Cat

You pay for everything, while they lie around all day — and your cat still has the nerve to scratch up your expensive furniture? That furry freeloader is lucky to be so cute. Many cats are repelled by the smell of vapor rub. Smear a little on the leg of any furniture that you want your cat to stay away from.

Domestic cat sharpening her claws, side view

9. Potty-Train a Puppy

A new puppy has a lot to learn about the big, bright world. One of the most important lessons to learn is where they can and can't relieve themselves. With its powerful odor, vapor rub has a tendency to get through to even the most stubborn little pup. Whey they "go" indoors, smear a little vapor rub in that area to keep the pup from returning and doing it again.

Purebred puppy Golden Retriever in a cage for potty training

10. Ease Ear Pain

Vapor rub is never a substitute for a doctor's advice about ear pain. But some ear pain sufferers swear that vapor rub quickly numbs discomfort in their outer ears. Coating a cotton ball with vapor rub and tucking it loosely into your ear may give you the same relief — but always talk to your doctor about the cause of your pain before putting anything in your ears.

Tinnitus, young woman has pain in the ear

Share this article

Recent posts

Teachers’ Top Needs for 2019

Teachers’ Top Needs for 2019Great classrooms don’t happen by accident. Teachers across the country work hard to build vibrant, energizing learning environments for their students, which often means ev

Top Tips to Transition Back to Work After Baby

Top Tips to Transition Back to Work After BabyMany new parents spend hours preparing for the arrival of a new baby – reading books, seeking professional advice and consulting friends and family. Howev

Get Away Without Going Away

Get Away Without Going Away5 family staycation ideas that won’t break your budgetFamily vacations are a great way to bond and take a step back from the hectic schedules that accompany everyday life, b

5 Common Questions for Memorializing a Loved One

5 Common Questions for Memorializing a Loved OneOne of the most difficult conversations in a person’s life typically takes place near the end of that life. Planning for a funeral can put an emotional

Boat Safe

Boat SafeEnsure your boat is ready for the water with this checklist No matter how much experience you have on the water, prepping your boat – and your passengers – before leaving the dock can make fo


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent comments