The only probable use for Vicks VapoRub that ever occurred to most of us was as a decongestant. As a child, we’ve all had our mothers rub Vicks on our congested chest to help relieve coughing and sleep better at night.

But did you know that you can use Vicks to treat cracked heels, sore muscles and even get rid of pesky warts on the skin?


Well, yes – that and much more! The formulation of Vicks VapoRub includes camphor, menthol, turpentine oil, and eucalyptus oil, all of which boast numerous benefits for your health.

amazing health and beauty hacks with vicks

Vicks vapor rub can also reduce the hardness from keratinization or thickened skin. It can help breakdown the dead skin cells to make the areas more smooth.

Camphor adds anti-inflammatory properties to the vapor rub. It stimulates the nerve endings to relieve pain and itching by acting as a counter-irritant (reduces pain and swelling by causing irritation). Camphor is also active against fungi that cause toenail infections.


Another component in it is menthol, which provides a calming and soothing effect. With the numerous health as well as beauty benefits that Vicks VapoRub offers, be sure to add VapoRub to your grocery list the next time you go shopping.

Here is a list of some of the many ailments and beauty hacks for which Vicks VapoRub can be your solution.


Method 1: Instant Cough Relief

Vicks VapoRub is an amazing treatment for instant relief from coughs and colds. It helps loosen the mucus, thus clearing it from your body to offer instant relief. (1)

A cure-all compound for almost every ailment related to coughs and colds, Vicks VapoRub, contains eucalyptus oil, turpentine oil, and camphor, all of which help soothe a severe cough and related symptoms.

Single-Step Treatment: Rub Vicks VapoRub on your feet and cover with socks

rub vicks on feet and leave overnight for relief from coughing

  • Rub some Vicks VapoRub on your feet at night before going to bed.
  • Put on socks and wear them throughout the night.
  • You should notice quick relief from coughing the following day.

It can dilate the blood vessels and smooth out the reflexes to soothe a cough.

Caution: Vicks is not recommended for children under age 4.

Method 2: Congestion

A common household name, Vicks VapoRub, works as an incredible decongestant to help loosen up mucus, clear up congestion, and reduce swelling in the bronchial tubes.

The formulation of VapoRub contains active ingredients like camphor, eucalyptus oil, and turpentine oil, all of which are effective decongestants.

It can help you breathe better and have a more restful sleep at night.

Single-Step Treatment: Rub Vicks VapoRub on your chest and throat

rub vicks on chest and throat to get rid of congestion

  • Rub some Vicks VapoRub on your chest, throat, and forehead before going to sleep at night.
  • Cover the area with a towel or a thick cloth. You may also wear an old shirt to prevent the salve from smearing all over your bed linens.
  • Repeat the remedy each night until your congestion is completely gone.

Alternatively, you can melt Vicks in hot water to use for steam inhalation.

Place your face over a bowl or pan of hot water. Drape a towel over your head to trap the steam, so that it can be absorbed into your face and inhaled through your nose.

Repeat the process 2 times a day to get rid of a blocked nose.

Note: Don’t use the steam treatment for children under age 12 or pregnant women.

Method 3: Cold Sores

The excellent healing and antiseptic, antimicrobial, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties of Vicks VapoRub make it one of the most effective remedies for treating cold sores.

Single-Step Treatment: Dab some Vicks VapoRub on the sore

apply vicks vaporub to the cold sore to relieve discomfort

  • Just dab some VapoRub on the area where you feel a tingling sensation of a cold sore coming up. This helps prevent the sore from developing into a blister.
  • Repeat the process until you obtain satisfactory results.
Note: Vicks VapoRub is for external use only. Be careful not to ingest it when applied near your mouth or on your lips.

Method 4: Nail Fungus

Ever thought that Vicks VapoRub could work wonders to cure your nail fungus? It’s a natural option to all the other conventional medical treatments.


Vicks VapoRub contains thymol, a compound that has exceptional antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties that inhibit fungal growth on the nails.

Things you’ll need:

things need to treat toe nail fungus with vicks vaporub

  • Vicks VapoRub
  • Bandage or gauze

Step 1. Apply Vicks on the infected nail

to treat toel nail fungus apply vicks on the affected nail

  • Wash your foot, especially the infected nail. Dry your foot and nails thoroughly with a towel.
  • Apply Vicks on the infected toenail, covering it completely (under the nail and down into the cuticle). You may use a cotton swab or a disposable stick to get Vicks along the edges of the nail.

Step 2. Cover with a bandage

to treat toenail fungus apply vicks on the nail and cover with bandage

  • Cover it with a bandage or gauze and put on socks.
  • Leave it for about 4 to 5 hours before replacing with new rub and gauze.
  • Repeat the process 2 or 3 times each day.
  • Be patient. The process may take anywhere from a couple of weeks up to 3 months to completely heal the nail.
  • As time passes, trim off the outgrown dark nail. Eventually, you will have a new healthy nail.

It’s important to wear gloves and apply each nail separately with the ointment. A cotton ball or cotton applicator for each nail is recommended.

Avoid double-dipping in the ointment. The fungus can spread with cross-contamination. Wash hands effectively and use a “one-time-use method” when applying to each nail.

Method 5: Cracked Heels

Vicks VapoRub is just the right ingredient to keep your heels soft, smooth, healthy, and free from unsightly cracks.

Vicks contains compounds like menthol, camphor, turpentine, and eucalyptus oils, all of which act as natural emollients to trap and lock moisture into the skin, thus keeping your heels softer and smoother.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply Vicks on your cracked heels and leave overnight

to treat cracked heels apply vicks and leave overnight

  • Apply some Vicks VapoRub on your cracked heels and any other extremely dry areas on your feet.
  • Massage gently for 5 minutes.
  • Put on cotton socks and let it work overnight.
  • Wash it off the next morning with lukewarm water.
  • Grab a pumice stone to exfoliate the softened skin.
  • Moisturize with coconut oil.
  • Repeat the process each night for 2 weeks to heal your heels completely.

Alternatively, you can soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes and scrub off the cracked skin with a pumice stone to get rid of dead skin cells.

Wash and dry the area completely, apply Vicks, pull on socks, and leave it overnight for softer heels.

Method 6: Insect and Bug Bites

Of the many uses of Vicks VapoRub, one is providing relief from the itchiness of a mosquito bite. The menthol in Vicks acts as an anesthetic to numb the itching and discomfort in the area.


Moreover, the strong scent of VapoRub acts as a repellent to keep mosquitoes and insects at bay, thus preventing further bites.

Plus, Vicks offers a cooling sensation that has a soothing effect on itchy skin.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply Vicks on the insect bite

apply vicks on mosquito bites for quick relief in itching

  • Smear some Vicks VapoRub on the insect bite for quick relief.

In addition, you can prevent insect bites by rubbing some Vicks on any exposed skin, especially before going outdoors at night.

You can also simply place an open bottle of Vicks near you to keep mosquitoes at bay.

Method 7: Warts

Vicks VapoRub works great for treating warts on your skin, especially warts near your fingernails or toenails.

The formulation includes compounds like thymol, methanol, and eucalyptus oil, all of which help kill the virus that causes warts. The compounds also help shrink and dry out the wart.

It’s important to not scratch or pick at the area when dead skin arises. Warts are caused by a virus, and the virus can spread if the areas are picked at.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply Vicks on the wart daily for 1 week

apply vicks on warts each day until it falls off

  • Apply Vicks VapoRub on the affected area.
  • Cover it with duct tape or gauze. If you’re treating a wart on your foot, wear socks.
  • Leave it on for a few hours or even overnight.
  • Repeat daily for about 1 week or until the wart falls off.
Note: Make sure your feet are completely dry before you apply Vicks VapoRub for treating your warts.

Method 8: Sore Muscles and Headaches

Of the multiple uses of Vicks VapoRub, one is offering relief from tense, sore, and overworked muscles as well as headaches. It increases blood circulation to help provide instant relief from pain.

Vicks is also good for relieving headaches and migraine pain.

Single-Step Treatment: Massage Vicks on the sore muscle or your forehead for headaches

massage vicks on forehead for relief from headache

  • For sore muscles, massage some Vicks onto the affected area to relieve aches and pains. The best time to use the remedy is at night just before going to bed, so that the overworked muscles relax and then rest.
  • For a headache, simply rub Vicks onto your forehead and temples. Lie back, relax, and breathe in the vapors. Repeat the process every hour until your headache or muscle soreness is gone.


Method 9: Chapped Lips

Another handy use of Vicks VapoRub is for healing chapped lips.

The VapoRub contains menthol, a natural lip plumper that speeds up healing of your chapped lips. Moreover, it is made from petroleum jelly that naturally helps soften your lips.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply a thin coat of Vicks on your chapped lips

apply vicks on chapped lips and leave overnight for healing

  • Apply a small amount of VapoRub on your dry, chapped lips.
  • Leave it overnight before washing it off the next morning.

Method 10: Odor Removal

Of the multiple uses of Vicks VapoRub, one is for the purpose of odor removal.

There are a number of stinky jobs like changing your little one’s diaper or taking out the trash that requires you to hold your breath while hoping for it to get done ASAP.

Vicks VapoRub contains a strong, distinctive odor that blocks foul smells and keeps you distracted.

Single-Step Treatment: Apply some Vicks under your nose to block bad odors

apply vicks under the nose to block offensive odor

  • Put a little VapoRub under your nostrils to block offensive odors. Be careful not to let any of it get inside your nose.

Additional Tips

  • You may use Vicks VapoRub to reduce the visibility of stretch marks. Due to the presence of eucalyptus oil that contains anti-inflammatory properties, Vicks helps lighten stretch marks.
  • Vicks is an effective solution for quick relief from acne. The menthol content in Vicks helps dry out the acne while offering quick relief from pain and swelling.
  • For those with pets, Vicks VapoRub could be a lifesaver. Pets dislike strong smells. You can apply a bit of Vicks on furniture or elsewhere to prevent your pets from scratching or chewing on the area.
  • You can also use Vicks VapoRub for potty-training your pets. Place an open bottle of Vicks in the area where your pet marks its territory and the strong smell will keep them away from it.


  1. Paul IM, Beiler JS, King TS, Clapp ER, Vallati J, Berlin CM. Vapor rub, petrolatum, and no treatment for children with nocturnal cough and cold symptoms. Pediatrics. Published December 2010.