#Health & Fitness

12 Surprising Uses For Vicks VapoRub

by Shyla Batliwalla

12 Surprising Uses For Vicks VapoRub
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Vicks VapoRub is an age-old mentholated topical cream intended to relieve head, throat, and chest stuffiness. But did you know it can way more than that?


Vicks VapoRub has been around for more than 100 years and is one of the most widely used over-the-counter decongestants. There’s been a lot of buzz over the years about unique and unconventional ways to use this odiferous ointment. You’ll be surprised to learn that Vicks is a supposed treatment for so much more than just a congested chest. Will you give these ideas a shot?


1. Decongest Your Chest 

The most common use of Vicks is to decongest your chest and throat area. When applied to the upper chest, it provides excellent relief of cough and congestion symptoms.


2. On Your Tootsies

Applying Vicks on your feet provides nighttime cough relief. Generously rub VapoRub all over your feet and cover them with socks. Within moments your cough will subside — in the morning you’ll wake up hack-free.


3. Achy Breaky Muscles

Vicks relieves sore, overworked muscles. It increases circulation and provides almost instant aid. Use a generous portion and apply it all over the aching area. (Be sure to warn your bedmate as the stench can ensure a nookie-free night.)


4. Get Rid of Nasty Nail Fungus

Rub VapoRub on your toenails if you suspect you have a fungus. Within days, the nail will turn dark — this means the Vicks is killing the fungus. As your toenail grows out, the dark part will grow off and you will have fungus-free feet. Keep applying the ointment over a period of two weeks to fully cleanse nail beds of any remaining bacteria.


5. Stop Your Cat from Scratching

Cats are notorious for scratching every hard surface they get their claws on. To prevent Miss Kitty from ruining your doors, walls, and windows, apply a small amount of VapoRub to these areas. Cats detest the smell and will steer clear. Vicks can also be applied to your arms and legs if your kitty is prone to scratching you.


6. Pet Pee-Pee Deterrent

If your dog or cat is not yet potty trained, put an open bottle of Vicks on the area he or she likes to mark as their territory. The smell will discourage them from lifting their legs and wetting your rug.


7. Headaches Be Gone

Rub a small amount of Vicks VapoRub on your temples and forehead to help relieve headaches. The mentholated scent will release pressure in your head and instantly relieve pain.


8. Humidify Your Sleep

Vicks VapoRub can be used in special types of humidifiers and vaporizers. Ensure your humidifier has an aromatherapy compartment before using. The humidifier will circulate Vicks throughout the air and keep you breathing easy all night long. Or just get the Vicks Warm Steam Humidifier paired with Vicks VapoSteam, a medicated vaporizing liquid.


9. Paper Cuts and Splinters

To prevent infection and speed up healing time, dab a small amount of Vicks on any small cut or splinter.


10. Ticks and Bugs

If you get bitten by a tick, apply Vicks immediately. The strong odor might help get the critter to release itself and stop bugging you.


11. Reek-free Racehorses

Professional racers smother VapoRub under the nostrils of racehorses on race day. The strong stench deters the stallions from the alluring odor of the female pony and keeps them focused on the race.


12. Go Away Mosquitoes

Vicks wards off mosquitoes. Apply small dabs of Vicks VapoRub to your skin and clothes and mosquitoes will steer clear. If you do get bitten, apply Vicks to the area and cover it with a Band-Aid to relieve itching.


According to WebMD, there have been a few complications in children when Vicks is used inappropriately. A few children reacted negatively and ended up hospitalized when Vicks was applied directly under the nose. Though this is extremely rare and only happens to those who are sensitive to Vicks, consumers should use caution when applying it to the face or on young children. There are non-medicated versions made for children, but it’s always best to consult a doctor.


Even though its strong stench may cost me a few friendships, I am definitely stocking up on this little blue smelly bottle. After all, I never know the next time I’ll have a headache or am heading to the racetrack. Check out the assortment of Vicks VapoRub products below, as well as other similar alternatives highly rated by reviewers.


See: 10 Essential Oil Hacks That Will Make Your Life So Much Better


1 of 6 Image Credits: Amazon

Vicks VapoRub

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I ordered this to moisten my feet overnight per someone's advice I got recently. I thought it was weird at first, but it works. My feet are much softer by morning!”

2 of 6 Image Credits: Amazon

Vicks VapoInhaler

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“As someone with allergies who is always trying to find alternatives to drug medications, I was pretty stoked to find this existed. I have used Flonase nasal spray for several years but read a while ago that it can be damaging so I slowly stopped using it. This product is a sort of an alternative to nasal spray, but it's super temporary.”

3 of 6 Image Credits: Amazon

Vicks VapoSteam

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“It's great quality. I transferred the liquid to a spray bottle and actually use it to spray items around my home that I don't want the cats to claw. Cats do not like smell of menthol so by spraying this on corners of your mattress, it keeps them away.”

4 of 6 Image Credits: Amazon

Solimo Chest Rub

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“This Amazon brand works just like Vicks VapoRub. One trick I have found but apply this to your feet at night, and you won't cough. I have no idea why this works, but it does. It also has other uses like deterring pets from areas. It can help soothe achy muscles, headaches (put some on your temples) and bug bites.”

5 of 6 Image Credits: Amazon

Mentholatum Nighttime Vaporizing Rub

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I love the smell. I use this for migraines and sore muscles. It's also good for my dry hands. When I use normal vapor rub, the smell bothers others. I can use this, and everyone loves the smell.”

6 of 6 Image Credits: Target

Dr. Bronner's Magic Balm

What Reviewers Are Saying:

“I love this stuff. It is nice, smooth and glides on easily! I like to rub some on my neck when I have a headache. It has a tingly quality from the peppermint that is soothing.”