DIY Vapor Rub (Revised)

Original post 11/2014, updated 3/13/15 to include more cowbell, I mean camphor.  So, the commercial vapor rub that I love so much during cold and flu season (and allergy season) has got to go because of the “special petrolatum” listed in the ingredients. I used the last of what I could find a few nights ago, so it was time to experiment in the kitchen.

I have made two changes to my original attempt. The first major tweak was the missing ingredient: camphor. Second tweak (3/13/15) was adding more camphor. It is a great cough suppressant, an so is rosemary. I am very happy with the result and noticed a very quick reduction in the 5 year old’s coughing the first night we used it. Just rub it on your chest and neck before bed.


I tend to buy most of my lotion/body/housekeeping product making supplies at Wholesale Supplies Plus.  They have a nice variety of items and good prices on oils, butters, glycerin, and the jars/bottles to put the finished products in.  I’ve been using them for several years now.  What they don’t have, Amazon will.  Once you get a little supply of this stuff and a variety of essential oils in your stash, I assure you that there are many other uses for it.  I’ve made bath and body products, foaming soap refills, toothpaste, body/linen spray, household cleaners, and so on….I’ll post more of those as I go along.

THE RECIPE: DIY Vapor Rub

4 teaspoons grated beeswax or candelilla wax (vegan option)
3 tablespoons shea butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
30 drops camphor
20 drops peppermint oil
20 drops of eucalyptus oil
10 drops rosemary oil

1. Melt wax and shea butter in a glass measuring cup. I do 30 second increments and stir between each one to get an idea how close it is to melting. It usually takes a couple minutes.

2. After it is melted, add the coconut oil and essential oils. Stir well and pour into a jar. Let it cool a little more before putting the lid on, otherwise it may get a little grainy (and if that happens, heat it up in the microwave 30 seconds at a time until melted again). That’s it.  It’s ready to use. You can also pour it into an empty deoderant or lotion tube. Just let it harden overnight before turning the knob–don’t even make eye contact with it so you aren’t tempted (it happened to someone I know, in my kitchen…..). 

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