How to Make Homemade Vapour Rub

homemade vapour rub

As the days get shorter and the nights get longer, our minds turn to those trusty remedies we need close to hand for winter. Whether you suffer from common colds and lingering coughs, or you dread the season of the blocked sinus, vapour rub is a bathroom cabinet essential.

It may have been around for longer than even our grans can remember, but vapour rub is still a go-to remedy for everything from congestion to aching muscles. People of all ages and from all walks of life regularly turn to the trusty, heady scent of vapour rub to treat coughs, colds, blocked sinuses, aches and pains and everyday headaches.

lady blowing nose

Why make your own vapour rub?

Vapour rub is one of the easiest home remedies to make for yourself. Tailoring your very own, homemade solution is quick, simple and cost-effective. Winter can be an expensive season, with prescriptions to collect and over the counter remedies making their way back into our homes. So, why not create your own vapour rub to see you through the season of symptoms?

We’re becoming increasingly mindful of what’s in the food we eat and the products we use, and that should go for remedies too. Making your own vapour rub means you have complete visibility of what goes into it, so you can choose the oils that you know work best for you.

One of the biggest concerns with buying branded vapour rub is that it contains petroleum. More and more of us are starting to veer away from petroleum-based products, and it’s perfectly fine to create a homemade alternative without including any.

Once you get the knack, homemade vapour rubs make thoughtful gifts for friends and family, or why not sell your homemade products online?

homemade vapour rub

How to make homemade vapour rub

When making your own vapour rub, you’ll need to start with three core ingredients to form the base of your recipe:

You’ll also need to choose which essential oils you want to add, and that’s where you need to consider the strength, scent and effect you want your homemade vapour rub to have. The chances are, you’ll be using your vapour rub to clear your airways and relieve congestion, so make sure you include at least one essential oil with decongesting properties.

Simple homemade vapour rub recipes

Recipe 1



  1. Set the essential oils aside, and place the remaining ingredients into a double boiler
  2. When the blend is melted, remove the heat
  3. Leave the solution to cool down
  4. Add the essential oils
  5. Store the vapour rub in a glass, airtight container

Eucalyptus is found in all shop-bought vapour rubs, and its powerful scent helps to cleanse the respiratory system and break down decongestion. When a common cold takes your sense of smell, it’s the distinctive, medicinal scent of this oil that manages to seep through first.

This recipe combines the physical benefits of trusty eucalyptus oil with the invigorating scent of peppermint. Zest lemon essential oil will have an uplifting effect on your mood, helping to banish those bedbound blues until you’re back on your feet. Simple yet effective, this vapour rub recipe is perfect for beginners.

Recipe 2



  1. Using a double boiler, melt the coconut oil and shea butter
  2. Carefully add the beeswax and gently stir until all wax is melted
  3. Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool for a few minutes
  4. Add the essential oils
  5. Transfer your vapour rub to a glass container
  6. When the rub cools down, it will harden, leaving you with a creamy rub

One of the advantages of creating your own vapour rub is that you don’t have to stick to the traditional scent. If you prefer to combine the powerful fragrance of eucalyptus with your favourite fragrances, then we say go for it. Lavender and rosemary essential oil blend well together, creating an energising aroma that will help you to sleep through the night.

Lavender is often used for its calming qualities, and its scent will help you to forget your ailments and get a good night’s rest. Rosemary essential oil has a positive effect on the mood, so it will help to focus the senses, keeping you relaxed until you’re feeling better.

Recipe 3



  1. Mix the beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil into a glass bowl
  2. Fill a saucepan with 6cm of water and add the ingredients, placing over a low heat
  3. When the ingredients have melted, remove from the heat and add the essential oils
  4. Stir
  5. Transfer the mixture to an airtight jar, store in a cool, shaded area

For those first few days of a cough or cold, you need to turn to the big guns. Together, eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil are strong, punchy allies in the face of congestion or blocked sinuses. As a natural decongestant, eucalyptus will do a lot of the groundwork when it comes to helping to clear those airways and soothe a cough, while peppermint essential oil can help to relieve headaches, muscular aches and joint pain.

When inhaled, rosemary essential oil can help to clear nasal passages and reduce congestion. The scent is also said to reduce stress levels and encourage feelings of calm, perfect for leaving you to focus on feeling better.