14 things you didn't know you could do with Vicks VapoRub

Vicks Vaporub is known for its cold-and-cough curing abilities, but real fans of the methol stuff know that it can do far more than that...

Vicks VapoRub
(Image credit: Geoff Moore/REX/Shutterstock)

Vicks VapoRub is known for its cold-and-cough curing abilities, but real fans of the methol stuff know that it can do far more than that.

From fixing skin problems to soothing migranes and even training your pets, here are 14 other uses for that pot of Vicks VapoRub in your bathroom cupboard.

After reading this, you may need to stock up...

'Melt away' belly fat

This is a new one to us, but some women are saying that Vicks has helped them to slim down by 'melting away' the fat from their tums. Apparently the ingredients stimulate the fat burning process - all you have to do is make it into a paste with camphor, baking soda and a little alcohol and apply it to the skin, covering with clingfilm and leaving for around half an hour. Be warned though - camphor, an essential oil extracted from the wood of a certain type of tree, should never be applied to the skin without dilution. Go carefully, using only a very small amount and remove the cream if you experience any kind of irritation.

Help a headache

This is one use that the makers of Vicks actually advocate, but a surprisingly small number of us know that Vicks is a headache cure. Simply massage a small amount of Vicks into your temples and the methol fragrance should help to relieve the tension.

Soothe sore muscles

Similarly, Vicks is great when applied directly to the skin after a particularly gruelling walk or workout - a quick smear should soothe muscles and reduce aches and pains. It's said to be especially good for tennis elbow.

Repel insects

Who needs to pay £9.99 for super-strength bug repellent when you've got a jar of Vicks VapoRub in the bathroom? Insects dislike the smell of the stuff, and will be sure to avoid you if you're wearing the scent.

Alleviate acne

Vicks has a drying effect when applied to spots, so can help to clear up acne. If your breakouts are particularly widespread or serious, it's worth seeking the advice of a dermatologist before trying this trick, but for those of us with the odd blemish here and there, it's worth a go.

Soften stretchmarks

Whether they're from pregnancy, weight loss or gain or simply the growth of your body, most women have stretchmarks in some shape or form. If you want to reduce the appearance of yours, rub Vicks into the affected area - the combination of eucalyptus oil, cedar leaf oil, petrolatum, camphor and turpentine oil in the formula is moisturising enough for the skin to appear improved.

Potty train pets

If your pet isn't quite accustomed to the litter tray yet and has a habit of going to the toilet in the house, leave an open jar of Vicks in the area that they usually relieve themselves. They won't be emptying their bladders there anymore!

Fight toenail fungus

Not an especially glamorous tip, but a handy one nonetheless - applying Vicks, which contains natural antiseptic, to an infected nailbed can kill the fungus. Continue to trim the nail as it grows and repeat until the fungus is gone. Don't worry if your nail turns dark or black - this is all part of the process.

Break down a bruise

Attention fellow clumsy people! Mixing your Vicks with salt and putting it onto a fresh bruise will help to break down the blood in the bruise, meaning it should go down far quicker than usual.

Antibac a cut

If you've really been in the wars, you can also applying Vicks to nicks, cuts and splinters. It might sting a little at first, but the antiseptic qualities can prevent infection and eventually it should lessen the pain as well.

Vanish verrucas

Some Vicks lovers report that putting a dab of Vicks on their wart or verruca and then covering with a bandage made the pesky little blighter disapaear. As with all of these tips, you should desist if you experience any kind of irritation, but you might just find that it's a much simpler alternative to a doctor's surgery removal...

Fix chapped lips

The menthol in Vicks is very strong, so you shouldn't spread your lips with a thick layer, but a small amount applied to sore, dry or cracked lips can help to repair the skin, leaving you with a happy smile again. Just be careful not to ingest it!

Cure a cough

But not in the way you might expect! Instead of applying Vicks to the chest, as most of us do, smear it onto the soles of the poorly person's feet, apply socks, and put them to bed. They should feel better as soon as they wake up.

Heal your heels

Dry, cracked heels are nobody's favourite summer look. Kick yours to the kerb by replicating the technique above, but only applying the Vicks to your heels. When you take the socks off post-soak, your feet will look much softer and healthier.


Trusted, informative, and empathetic – GoodToKnow is the ultimate online destination for mums. Established in 2007, our 15-year-strong archive of content includes more than 18,000 articles, 1,500 how-to videos, and 7,000 recipes.