DIY Vapor Rub

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While you can buy many commercial products, it is so easy to make homemade vapor rub. Whether you use it as a chest rub or other applications during the cold and flu season – it is wise to keep some on hand. Make your own natural diy vapor rub with beeswax and essential oils and avoid petroleum products..

Gift ready jar of diy vapor rub made with beeswax image.

As a beekeeper, I continue to be amazed at the many different ways to use beeswax. This gift from the hive is found in many health and body care products – a lot of those you can make yourself!

DIY Vapor Rub

In my home, we used vapor rub products for more than severe colds. Our family has always been plagued with seasonal allergies.  Sometimes the use of a bit of rub on the chest, made going to sleep much easier.

Good Substitute for Vicks Vapor Rub

I remember as a little girl the soothing sensation of my mom rubbing vapor rub on my chest. Yes, that little blue bottle and I have quite a history. It did help soothe my cough and sniffles and relieve congestion.

Commercial vapor rubs work well but they contain so many ingredients. Most of them have a petroleum base and many contain camphor. Camphor is a synthetic material made from mixing turpentine and menthol oil.

If it killed you-I would have died long ago. But, that doesn’t mean that I would not rather have other natural soothing oils on my skin instead.

Listed ingredient used to make homemade vapor rub.


  • coconut oil
  • cocoa butter
  • beeswax
  • essential oils

Coconut Oil

Seriously, is there anything coconut oil is not good for? You can cook with it, use it in moisturizers and even make candles with coconut oil and beeswax .

It is a very versatile ingredient. You should be able to order it or find it in small amounts in the grocery store.

Cocoa Butter

Cocoa butter is an all around good cream for the skin. It has vitamins that promotes healthy skin and serves as a barrier too. Along with the beeswax, it helps create the perfect thickness of your rub.

If you don’t have cocoa butter on hand – you may substitute shea butter instead. It is a bit different in chemistry but will perform well in this remedy.


Using beeswax in this chest rub recipe is beneficial because it helps hold in skin moisture. It also adds some body to the texture so your homemade vapor rub is not too liquid.

This natural wax is special because only honey bees can make beeswax. More valuable per ounce than even honey – we use the wax from many projects. Heck, even your wooden kitchen spoons can benefit from beeswax spoon butter.

Glass container of homemade beeswax vapor rub image.

Essential Oils

I listed a few popular essential oils to use in your diy vapor rub. Of course, you can choose others but these are known for being safe to use and effective. 

Peppermint oil does contain some menthol and creates a cooling sensation when inhaled. It is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Other commonly used oils include: lavender, rosemary and tea tree oil.

Eucalyptus oil is used in many products for stuffy noses or colds. The cooling sensation of Eucalyptus helps open my sinuses. Be sure that the essential oils you choose are skin safe – not all of them are.

Cough drops containing eucalyptus can be useful – but I prefer my own homemade honey cough drops.

There is no cure for the cold. But, by combining skin safe oils and other natural ingredients together, you may find some relief from your symptoms.

Basic Steps

1. Begin by melting your beeswax in a safe manner. (Safest method is a double boiler setup). When the wax is melted, add the coconut oil and the shea butter. The wax may seem to solidify for a minute but soon all will be melted and combined.

2. Remove your mixture from the heat source and let it begin to cool down just a bit. A few minutes is usually fine.

3. Add any essential oils that you want to use in your homemade vapor rub. I have suggestions in the instructions below – but the choice is yours.

4. Stir well. Then while still warm – pour your vapor rub into your desired containers. Let sit until the beeswax vapor rub mixture has solidified. Seal with a lid.

How to Use Homemade Vapor Rub

This recipe can be applied to your chest when you are feeling congested or having a stubborn cough.  

Rub a thin coat of homemade vapor rub into the skin. Mom insists on putting a warm piece of cloth over the area – but that’s up to you.

You may also apply a little under your nose if you are feeling stuffy. Beeswax is good for skin care – a natural humectant it helps hold moisture.

It may help that skin feel less irritated, as it works in the way way when we make beeswax lip balm to moisturize and soothe lips.

Some people report good results from rubbing homemade vapor rub on their feet!  But if you do so, be sure to wear socks – or you may slip and fall.

*Remember – anyone can be allergic to anything – test on a small area of skin first.


Store your product in a container with a tight fitting lid. If kept in a cool place – it should last for at least 12 months. When choosing your container, keep in mind that you may want to use a finger to get your chest rub out later.

Small glass jars with wide opening for vapor rub image.

Expert Tips

  • Always label your jars – you may forget what is in there!
  • If pouring hot oils into glass – temper the glass first by warming it up
  • If making these for gifts – be sure to include the ingredients on the label

While I do not believe that essential oils are a cure for everything, they do have many beneficial properties. 

Be very cautious when using any product like this on young children. Some folks make a kid version using half of the recommended essential oils in the recipe.

However, I would always check with your doctor or health professional before using on the kids.

And, because there are so many good ones to chose from, you are sure to find something that appeals to you.  I even use some essential oils in my beekeeping.

More Ideas

If you want to pamper your skin even more – consider trying this whipped beeswax body butter – it has a luxurious feel. For the arms and hands homemade beeswax lotion is a good choice.

However, I also love the portability and feel of a good beeswax lotion bar. Just wrap it in a piece of cloth and when you need it – the heat of your hands will melt enough to use.

If the high cost of face cream is getting you down, perhaps you should try this recipe for face moisturizer.

And, for those minor cuts and scrapes – you can’t beat this homemade Vaseline type product.


If you don’t have the desire of time to make your own homemade vapor rub, be sure to choose the natural versions when shopping. And, always read the use directions on the bottle because even natural essential oils are powerful stuff.

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure.

Gift ready jar of diy vapor rub made with beeswax image.

Homemade Vapor Rub (with Beeswax & Essential Oils)

Charlotte Anderson @ Carolina Honeybees, LLC
This recipe for diy vapor rub makes about 6 ounces of finished product. Even though it will keep for months, I prefer to make small batches. If you want more – just double the ingredients.
4.50 from 2 votes

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Read my Disclosure.



  • Start with preparing your beeswax and getting the right measurement. If you are using beeswax pellets, this step is a breeze.
    Using blocks of wax is fine – if you want to help the wax melt faster – you can grate the wax down into smaller pieces.
    Grated beeswax measured for making beeswax vapor rub recipe image.
  • Beeswax is such an easy medium to work with. Whether you are making beeswax candles or even body butter, it melts quite easily.
    However, beeswax is flammable if it is overheated and can scorch or burn. The safest way to melt wax is by using a double boiler.
    Because getting wax out of a good pot is almost impossible – I use a small double boiler insert for all recipes involving beeswax. I have several of various sizes and they are just so handy.
    Melting beeswax in a small double boiler insert image.
  • Once the beeswax is completely liquid, it is time to add your cocoa butter and coconut oil. The coconut oil will melt quickly, the cocoa butter takes just a few minutes. Stir well.
    Cocoa butter and coconut oil added to melted beeswax in boiler image.
  • Have your essential oils handy and ready to use. It is advisable to let the vapor rub mixture cool just a moment to lower the temperature. This avoids harming our essential oils.
    However, if you leave it too long it will begin to harden. Count the required drops and add the selected essential oils.
    Adding essential oils to beeswax vapor rub recipe image.
  • As soon as the essential oils are mixed in, pour your vapor rub into the selected containers. I used what I had on hand.
    However, as this is a rub that might involved you dipping it out with your fingers – keep that in mind when selecting a container.
    Pouring beeswax vapor rub recipe into containers image.
Learn more about bees and using products from the hive!Join me on Pinterest – @carolinahoneyb

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  1. William Franklin says:

    Dear Caroline
    Wishing you enough this festive season, may you be blessed with happiness and good health.
    I live in Zambia, and it’s summer here, soon our crops will have an abundance of food for our bees, harvesting starts in February.
    I do enjoy your weekly messages, very informative and often a wakeup call to get out there, ensuring all is well and our bees are happy and healthy.
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge.
    With kind regards
    William Franklin

  2. Charlotte Anderson says:

    Thank you are best wishes for a great harvest season.