Homemade vapor rub using essential oils

Homemade Vapor Rub with Essential Oils

PUBLISHED: 11.8.2017  |  SHARE:

Cold and flu season is upon us once again. The beginnings of a cold – the congestion, achy body and head, runny nose – always have me reaching for a green smoothie. But once that cold has taken residence, you just have to kind of ride it out. Bleh. One of the most uncomfortable parts […]

Cold and flu season is upon us once again. The beginnings of a cold – the congestion, achy body and head, runny nose – always have me reaching for a green smoothie. But once that cold has taken residence, you just have to kind of ride it out. Bleh. One of the most uncomfortable parts of being sick is chest and sinus congestion. We’ve partnered with Plant Therapy for this Homemade Vapor Rub with top-quality essential oils.

Homemade Vapor Rub Recipe | SimpleGreenSmoothies.com

I don’t buy a vapor chest rub anymore—I make it! It’s easy to make, but the real benefit comes from knowing you are using something natural rather than a concoction full of unsafe chemicals and other icky things. Our DIY Natural Vapor Chest Rub uses 100% natural extra virgin coconut oil, shea butter, and essential oils. It’s safe and effective. (Note: don’t use on infants without first consulting with a healthcare professional!)

We love Plant Therapy essential oils because they are 100% pure, natural, and of the highest quality. In fact, Plant Therapy works directly with Robert Tisserand, a world renowned essential oil expert, and adheres to the strictest standards of quality in the essential oil industry.

Plant Therapy oils are selected from the producer after being vetted and the oil(s) tested 3-5 times for purity before being bottled in the Southern Idaho facility. Each bottle contains a tracking number that corresponds with information that is available on the website so consumers can see the testing results for themselves. All of this attention to detail and dedication to quality means that you are getting the very best essential oils on the market.

Homemade Vapor Rub Ingredients

Natural Vapor Chest Rub | SimpleGreenSmoothies.com
Extra virgin coconut oil serves as a carrier oil, but is also very moisturizing and soothing to the skin.
Shea butter is also moisturizing, but gives the mixture a thicker texture so it’s not too greasy.

Natural Vapor Chest Rub | SimpleGreenSmoothies.com

Essential oils: cinnamon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint. These oils help promote healing and soothe swollen tissues for easier breathing. The cinnamon also has a slight warming effect.

Mixing the Ingredients for Homemade Vapor Rub Recipe | SimpleGreenSmoothies.com
To make the Natural Vapor Chest Rub, simply melt the coconut oil and shea butter together and stir in the essential oils. Transfer to a jar or other resealable container and store in a cool, dry place. It will keep a fairly long time – I think we’ve used the same batch for five years, but just to be sure only make one batch at a time. It will last for the whole cold weather season and beyond.

To use, remove a small amount from the jar with clean hands. Rub in palms and apply gently to the chest area. Cover lightly. We recommend wearing an old t-shirt to prevent the oils from staining bedding or other fabrics and surfaces.

Love natural remedies? Check out our Natural Cold and Flu Remedy and Fire Cider Tonic.

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Homemade vapor rub using essential oils

Homemade Vapor Rub with Essential Oils

  • Author: Jen Hansard
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 6 oz 1x
  • Category: Natural Remedy
  • Method: Cooking
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegan


Ditch the nasty chemicals and make your own vapor chest rub to soothe and help ease congestion. Made with top quality essential oils, coconut oil, and shea butter.



  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter, unscented
  • 1012 drops Eucalyptus Oil (for ages 3+, use only 3 drops for children)
  • 1012 drops Peppermint Oil (for ages 3+, use only 3 drops for children)
  • 4 drops Rosemary Oil (for use in ages 10+)
  • 4 drops Cinnamon Oil (when making to use for children, use cinnamon leaf instead)


  1. In a double boiler, gently melt coconut oil and shea butter. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  2. Stir in the essential oils. Pour into a clean container with tight-fitting lid. Allow to solidify and cool completely before using.
  3. Store in a cool, dry place for up to six months. To use rub a small amount between the palms to soften and apply to the chest as needed.


  • Use caution when making this for use on small children.
  • The oils should be used in smaller amounts for greater dilution, and some should be completely omitted in favor of other oils. Plant Therapy carries numerous kid-safe oils that can be substituted.
  • Eucalyptus and peppermint oils should only be used in ages 3+ and in very small amounts.
  • Do not use rosemary oil for children younger than 10 years.
  • If making for children, omit the cinnamon bark oil.
  • Other oils that can be beneficial for a children’s vapor rub are: lavender, tea tree, spruce, and pine.

Keywords: DIY Vapor rub


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  1. California says:

    How much coconut oil do you use as it is not listed.

    • SGS Rawkstar Carissa says:

      If you scroll to the bottom where it says “Ingredients” you will see the measurements. This recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of coconut oil.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Jen Hansard says:

    My family has been using this recipe for YEARS now and love it. It’s got a much more therapeutic scent to it and really opens the airways.

  3. Aimee Dewar, Essential Oil Specialist says:

    I think you’ve done a great job presenting this, but I do want to mention: 5 years is really too long to keep using a batch of this with these oils in it. Eucalyptus for example, even stored in ideal conditions (cool, dark, sealed tight) has a 3 year or so max shelf life. Past that you risk nasty dermal irritation. It’s not a clear cut “definitely as of now” but it’s more likely as it ages and it’s not pleasant. I would encourage you to make a smaller batch every year or two. That aside, this looks lovely.

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Thanks for your feedback + expertise Aimee. Can you tell me more about your work with essential oils? I’d love to learn more!

      • Aimee Dewar, Essential Oil Specialist says:

        I’m happy to talk to you and help any way I can. I have practiced Herbalism for more than 30 years. I have used essential oils for several years as well, and started to pursue education so that I could help people and most of all, help people understand the nuances of safety issues surrounding them. I am currently enrolled in a NAHA and AIA certified school, on my way to becoming a certified aromatherapist. I have completed my 159 hour course work and final (thus my school’s certificate of EO Specialist) and am still working on my case studies and research paper. I have also already taken several more elective courses, which will eventually count toward my advanced scholar program (oh so many goals!). I am by no means as educated or experienced as many, but I’m working on it. And I like to share knowledge when I can. Ultimately my goal is to use my herbal and EO understanding to work in a free clinic type setting. Thanks for asking and if I ever can help, feel free to contact me.

      • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

        Hi Aimee,

        Wow! This is amazing! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your background!! You’re totally rawkin’ it! And I will definitely reach out if we continue to share more about essential oils!

  4. Jodi says:

    What size jar did you use?

  5. Bonnie says:

    2 question’s
    * What does tablespoons x ounces mean?
    * u say store “up to 6mos” yet also say u have had yours for 5years?

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Bonnie,

      Are you outside of the US? Check out our Rawkstar Conversion Guide to help with the measurements!

      And yes, Jen has had this vapor rub for AWHILE!! Because you only have to use a really small amount for major congestion benefits. But it really is best to swap out for a new jar after a few months.

  6. Nancy Frazier says:

    Can this be used on a child with Tree Nut allergies?

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Nancy,

      Tree allergies can be funky. It’s always best to check with your child’s allergist before using any coconut products.

  7. Hi Jen ! Thank you ! This is a great idea also for the kids ! But the essential oils must be 100% pure 🙂 Do you know doterra ? It will be a pleasure for me to send you some samples 😉 please let me know xx

    • SGS Rawkstar Amanda says:

      Hi Adriana,

      Plant Therapy’s are! That’s why we love them so much! 🙂 But we’re always up for learning about different essential oils. Checking them out now!

  8. Nicole says:

    What would you recommend to replace the coconut oil if there is an allergy to tree nuts?

  9. Beth says:

    Can’t I just buy this little jar from you? 🙁 Looks like it would work great! Would love to use it on my little kiddos.

    • Jen says:

      Oooooh— that would be fun to sell! Maybe one day I could make some and sell it. I could see it being a fun Farmer’s Market stand. DIY Home Remedies. 🙂

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