10 weird ways to use Vicks VapoRub

100g tub of Vicks Vaporub - 4 in 1 cold symptom relief

Vicks VapoRub is something that most people have in their medicine cabinet, ready and waiting to fly into action when a cough or a cold is threatening to strike. But can it be used for more than just a cold?

People have come up with some weird and wonderful ways to use Vicks VapoRub. Some of them work like a charm and others… well, we’ll see!

Let’s take a look at some of the crazy ways people are using VapoRub, and whether it actually works.

1. Use Vicks VapoRub for a cold

Okay, so this use isn’t exactly strange. Let’s face it, easing cold symptoms is what Vicks VapoRub does best!

But you may not know that Vicks have another product that can help to stop a cold in its tracks before it even begins.

Vicks First Defence Nasal Spray stops the cold virus from spreading when it’s in its early stages. So, if you use it early enough you can avoid having a cold altogether!

Don’t worry if you’ve missed your cold prevention window, though. Vicks VapoRub will still be there to soothe that blocked nose and move that catarrh.


2. VapoRub on your feet with socks

Lots of people swear by Vick’s VapoRub for a cold. But many of these people aren’t rubbing it onto their chest for all of its decongestive benefits. Nope, the latest trend is to rub it onto your feet, pop on a pair of socks, and then go to bed.

Rumour has it that this will ease coughs and colds. However, we’ve found very little evidence to suggest that it actually works.

If you want to ease a cold, rub VapoRub onto your chest, throat or back and inhale it. You’ll get much more benefit out of those soothing vapours!

3. Hydrate your dry skin overnight

So, rubbing Vicks VapoRub onto your feet may not ease a cold, but could it have another use?

Many people believe that sleeping with it on your feet at night can help to soften the dry skin on your feet, so it can be buffed away with a pumice stone for soft, smooth feet.

The jury’s still out on whether this actually works, but as there are so many amazing moisturisers and foot care products out there, we’re not entirely sure why this one caught on.

Maybe people love that it makes their stinky feet smell like VapoRub? Maybe someone was trying to cure their cold and found that their skin looked softer? Nobody knows where this one came from, but some people swear by it!

4. Vicks VapoRub for a cough

If you’ve got a cough and you’re wondering whether you should reach for VapoRub, then you’ll be glad to know that you’re onto a winner this time!

VapoRub can be used to ease coughs that are caused by colds, relieving the catarrh and phlegm that give you a chesty cough.

Not only that, but Vicks lozenges can be used help to soothe a sore, irritated throat, which can happen when you’ve been coughing up a storm for a few days!

A small pot of Vicks Vaporub - Releases vapours for up to 8 hours

5. Vicks VapoRub to ease headaches

Although VapoRub isn’t exactly known for its ability to soothe a headache, it contains the ingredient Levomenthol, which is used in other headache treatments, like 4Head sticks, to soothe a sore head.

Levomenthol works on the forehead by creating cooling and soothing sensations which is followed by a painkilling effect. So those who use VapoRub for headaches may not be too far off the mark!

However, we'd recommend speaking to your doctor or pharmacist if you're looking for a headache treatment that's guaranteed, they know their stuff!

6. Clear your acne-prone skin

If you’ve had a spot break out just before a big night out, then someone may have recommended using VapoRub as a sure-fire spot treatment.

Honestly, though, those people may not be giving you the best advice, and it may backfire on you!

Some of the ingredients in VapoRub could help to ease your spots, but at the same time, some of the other ingredients could make them even worse!

If you’re suffering from acne and want to treat it properly, we’d recommend that you visit your doctor and get your hands on a treatment that’s actually going to do some good!

7. Vicks for muscle pain

One of the other most common uses of VapoRub is to ease muscle pain.

It may help to ease minor muscular pain, providing a cooling, soothing sensation in the area that might make your muscles and joints seem less sore.

Bare in mind though, that this may not be the most effective way to ease muscle pain, especially when compared to all of the very effective medicated treatments that are readily available from your pharmacist.

8. Vicks VapoRub as an insect repellent

This one’s a weird one, because honestly, who can say what insects think about VapoRub?

Some people insist that VapoRub repels insects like nothing else, whereas others say it just doesn’t work.

There’s no evidence to suggest that this works at the moment, and we may have to wait until some magical person can speak to creepy crawlies and find out their feelings about Vicks before we’ll know for sure.

Now, where did my English to Ant-ish dictionary go?

Split image of people using Vicks Vaporub, on the left a woman uses Vaporub in a bowl for inhalation, on the left a woman rubs Vaporub into a mans chest as he lies in bed with a cold

9. Reduce the appearance of stretch marks

As much as we’d love VapoRub to be able to make stretch marks disappear, we’re afraid that it’s just not true!

Stretch marks are fickle things, and nothing has currently been proven to get rid of them entirely.

There are a few treatments which have been proven to reduce the appearance of stretch marks, but unfortunately, Vicks VapoRub isn’t one of them.

10. Relieve an earache

One of the more unusual tales we’ve heard is putting Vicks on a cotton wool ball and sticking it into your ear to help ease an earache.

Personally, we don’t think sticking any foreign objects into your ear is a good idea. You could accidentally cause damage to the delicate organs in your ear if that cotton wool gets into places it shouldn’t.

Play it safe, and give this one a miss!

A child's right ear with some blonde hair tucked behind it

So, there we have it, all of the weird and wonderful ways you can use VapoRub. Of course, we can't forget about some of the utterly bizarre ways that you should avoid like the plague!

Don’t forget, if you’re ever fighting off an illness and need a remedy that will definitely work, your doctor or pharmacist should be your first port of call.

The internet’s nice and all, but these people have the degrees to prove that they know what’s best. So listen to them before you go trusting crazy old wives’ tales!

Laura Henderson - Medical Content Writer
James O'Loan - CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist
James O'Loan , CEO & Superintendent Pharmacist on 07 February 2024
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