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  • Jenica Barrett

DIY Cough Vapo Rub

Updated: Mar 7, 2021

With the cold months sticking around and my cough hanging on day after day, I have come up with the loveliest cough vapo rub recipe to ease my pain a little. Designed with moisturizing oils and soothing essential oils, this recipe will not only smell lovely but likely help that tickle in the back of your throat!

Why should you make your own cough rub?

I grew up using Vicks Vapo Rub with every cold and learned to crave that minty-chemical scent at night. I realized the hard way though that the topical creams can only be put on so many nights in a row without causing a red rash to develop. The harsh chemicals and alcohol in the recipe easily dry out the skin and leave it sensitive after extended use.

In the recipe below, you'll find no "bizarre" ingredients and absolutely no alcohol to dry out your skin!

Homemade Vapo Rub with Essential Oils Pinterest Graphic

Picking the Right Ingredients

The recipe includes three main parts: the moisturizing base oils, beeswax, and essential oils. The shea butter and coconut oil are used for their moisturizing properties and as a carrier oil for the essential oils. It isn't safe to place essential oils directly on your skin nor in a super high potency. You need to ensure their is enough carrier oil to dilute the essential oils.

The beeswax is added to harder the rub. With just shea butter and coconut oil, it will likely become quite melted in the summer months and be a little gooey to put on. The beeswax keeps it firm all year long! Soy based wax can also be swapped for a vegan friendly version.

This recipe made me three jars of it (which was way too much!) so I gave two away. I suggest downsizing the recipe to about a third and it will still give you a couple ounces to try out and make sure your skin reacts well with the oils.

Cough Vapo Rub


5 oz. Coconut Oil

2 oz. Shea Butter

1.5 oz. Beeswax

1.5 ml Eucalyptus Essential Oil

1 ml Peppermint Essential Oil

1 ml Lavender Essential Oil

1 ml Rosemary Essential Oil

0.5 Tea Tree Essential Oil


1. Melt down the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a double broiler or in the microwave.

2. Add in all the essential oils. Please note that peppermint essential oil is not safe for children. Before using this recipe on children, please make sure to do your research and ensure any essential oils are left out that are not safe.

3. Pour the mixture into your desired storage container and cool in the fridge until solid.

That’s it!

DIY Cough Vapo Rub

How to Use Homemade Vapo Rub

To use, I just scoop some up with my fingers and rub it on my chest, the bottom of my feet, and on my sinuses. Remember, the above recipe may seem like it contains a lot of essential oils (which it does!) but it produces nearly 9 ounces of product which is usually more than you could ever need.

The essential oils can also be altered or substituted if you are highly sensitive to one of them. The carrier mixture however does a great job of retaining the potency of the oils without causing skin irritation.

May this ease the pain of having a horrible cold!

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