This article was originally published on 24/7Mirror
Most of us grew up with it, and many remember having it rubbed on our chests as kids to help us breathe our way through those awful colds. Yep, we’re talking about Vaporub. It’s an item universally found at the back of medicine cabinets across the land and easily located on drugstore shelves. Its heady mix of eucalyptus oil, menthol, and camphor means most of us can summon up its smell from our memory banks without trying too hard. It’s great as a decongestant, but did you know this little pot of wonder can also double, triple, quadruple and more, as a solution to tons of other everyday occurrences? Read on for some incredible ways to utilize this cure-all!
Soothe That Headache
A favorite and much-used Vaporub hack is using it when you have a headache. If you prefer not to take pain meds, try rubbing Vaporub straight onto your temples to relieve some of the pressure. Hopefully, this should provide some fast and effective pain relief. If your day continues to be impeded by an annoying sinus headache, try taking some deep breaths of the potent-smelling rub in and out.
The menthol/eucalyptus/camphor ointment is a heady mix but may help alleviate your pain. But we’d always advise that if the headaches are a regular thing, go and see your doctor!
We all have them, but stretch marks can feel unsightly despite that. However, fans of Vaporub vouch for its success at reducing the appearance of their stretch marks. These can be caused by pregnancy, weight loss or gain, or puberty. Typically, they're pink, brown, red, or silver in appearance. Fans of this solution apply a layer of Vaporub over the area and cover it with cling film or a tight pair of leggings to ensure it absorbs fully.
You can always use Vaporub as a moisturizer and anti-inflammatory solution to keep your skin soft and supple. The added bonus is that this magic rub will also help keep thicker stretch marks from standing out.
A Secret Pet Training Tool
It’s pet training time! Vaporub can be used to potty train less than obedient pets. This elixir surefire solution for stopping your furry friend from marking their territory around your home and other people’s. For example, if your pet pooch has a favorite spot in your home it likes to use as a bathroom, try rubbing some Vaporub near there. This should deter them from making that spot their go-to toilet. Don't let them eat it, though, as it can be quite dangerous to animals.
The pungent smell will help them realize that this isn't the spot to have a pee-pee! On top of that, be sure to take your four-legged friend out to the garden plenty of times throughout the day to give them ample opportunity to do their business.
Let’s face it, dandruff is gross. The too-familiar snow-like sprinkling on someone’s shoulders is a sure sign they have a flaky scalp. While not a serious condition, it can feel seriously embarrassing if you're constantly brushing your shoulders and scratching your head. Dandruff is a kind of seborrheic dermatitis, and you can try Vaporub to help prevent your scalp from flaking. Please note: we’re not saying this little tub is a cure.
However, the eucalyptus in Vaporub can help soothe an itchy and scaly scalp and also stop the scales from flaking and falling. But, you have to ask, do you really want to go out smelling like Vaporub rather than your favorite perfume?!
Eradicate Toe Nail Fungus
Yup, it’s time for a little more grossness. Toenail fungus can take years to treat and be a real drag in the summer months when you want to get your feet out and tan those toes. However, help is at hand. A 2011 study lasting 48 weeks found that if you rubbed Vaporub into the affected area at least once a day, it had “a positive clinical effect” on infected toes.
There's no magic cure for this common ailment, also known as onychomycosis. So, as long as you’re patient, using a cheap means like Vaporub to try and eradicate it doesn’t seem like such a bad idea to us, right?
Bring On the Tears
Vaporub is an excellent tool if you’re a budding actor and are in a scene that requires you to shed a few fake tears in your starring role. It’s pretty simple. Just pop a tiny bit of Vaporub underneath your eyes, and you’re sure to impress your fellow actors with your crocodile tears. Alternatively, you may be one of those weird people whose favorite party trick to impress their friends is to cry on demand.
Either way, just remember to wash your hands after so you don’t accidentally rub the stuff into your eyes. Otherwise, you risk causing your eyes some damage and crying for real!
Get Rid of Cracked Heels
Alongside toenail fungus and dandruff, cracked heels aren't a good look, especially in the hotter months when you want your feet to look good when you hit the beach. One way of treating the hard, dry, and cracked skin on your heels is to spread a good amount of Vaporub on them before going to bed and putting some socks on. Then wash the Vaporub off in the shower the following day.
Then, gently exfoliate the area daily with a pumice stone to eliminate any dead skin cells. Continue until your heels look soft and you're confident enough to put your feet on display in sandals or flip-flops.
Keep Breakouts at Bay
Spots and acne can be more than a mere inconvenience; breakouts can be really distressing and cause us to feel self-conscious about our appearance. The good news is that Vaporub’s antibacterial properties can help combat the bacteria that can cause acne and spots. This same mixture can also reduce inflammation, making spots less noticeable. Just rub a little on the affected area at night while avoiding areas where your skin is broken.
The end result? Hopefully, your skin will feel and look less inflamed the next day and have a softer-looking appearance. So give it a try, and let us know how it turns out!
One familiar accompaniment to the pesky common cold is an earache. It is painful and can be super painful, itchy, and irritating. If this is something you're struggling with, try putting a small amount of Vaporub on a cotton ball and inserting it into your ear for several hours a few times a day. Keep repeating this until the pain subsides. It is the camphor that helps to reduce the pain.
Just remember, however, that if you think you may have an actual ear infection, and this home hack doesn’t help, you may need to treat it with antibiotic pills or drops.
Relief From Piles
They can be embarrassing to talk about - not to mention painful, itchy, and very uncomfortable. Of course, we are talking about hemorrhoids, also known as piles. The good news is that Vaporub when applied to the area in question, will help reduce any swelling you may have and cool the area. The only downside is that it may sting or burn a bit, so definitely proceed with caution here!
Also, it's vital to ensure you use it externally, as you would in #6 and 7. Otherwise, you may find yourself squealing and running around in pain or heading straight to the shower to wash it off!
Manage Bugs and Animals
Bugs in the summer months are annoying and irritating, resulting in unsightly bites that itch and swell. If that's something you're contending with, reach for your handy tub of Vaporub to scare the bugs away or to relieve itching if you’re unlucky enough to have been bitten. Also, if you have pets, you can use this mixture on your furniture, doors, or soft furnishings such as curtains and cushions. This should deter your furry friends from scratching them.
Not sure? Then just imagine relaxing at home after a long day with your favorite pet on your lap, without worrying about them scratching their claws all over your favorite sofa and cushions. This might be enough to change your mind!
You may be one of those unlucky people who bruise like a peach. Either that or your bruises are thanks to an unfortunate accident. Of course, we all know about the benefits of arnica cream in treating bruises and pain. Still, Vaporub can also be used as a topical treatment. Just mix a little with salt and apply it to your bruise. The mixture should help your blood circulate faster and dissolve the bruise in a shorter time.
You can also rub it on the area around your cuts, as long as you avoid the open wound area or where you have damaged skin. So a careful approach is a must!
Many column inches are devoted to the benefits of the sun and the importance of protecting ourselves against its harmful UV rays. If, however, you forgot to apply sunscreen or didn’t apply it regularly enough and are suffering from sore and red sunburn, Vaporub can step in and help. The cool sensation you get when you rub it on your burn will give you some relief from the stinging sensation.
Apply some to the affected area, and it’ll also help the redness go away. The downside is if your entire body is sunburnt, you’ll need to invest in a ton of Vaporub and put up with the pretty strong too!
A Recovery Aid
If you love walking, running, or going to the gym but occasionally forget to warm up and down, you may be familiar with the pesky after-effects. Muscle aches and pains can take time to diminish and make it challenging to go about our daily lives. In this instance, you can use Vaporub to relieve some of these symptoms. All you have to do is gently massage it into the affected areas.
Then, wrap it in a dry, warm towel for a while until the Vaporub absorbs into your skin, and the soreness eases. Why not pop a jar of it into your gym bag for some instant post-workout relief?
Get Smooth Lips
Cold and dry weather can cause the skin on your lips to peel or become chapped and cracked. Sometimes this also happens after eating spicy food or licking or biting your lips too much. Enter Vaporub - your chapped lip solution. It’s a great home hack to soothe chafed lips and keep them soft and moisturized. We know it doesn’t taste as good as flavored lip balms, but it's effective.
If you keep applying it until your lips are no longer chapped, you’ll soon be able to pucker up and apply your favorite lipstick or tinted balm in no time at all! Consult your physician before doing this, though, as ingesting Vaporub can be quite dangerous.
Here’s a handy hack that’s strictly only for the tops of your eyelids. If you run out of your eye makeup remover and soap and water just won’t cut it, apply a tiny amount of Vaporub to a cotton wool ball or pad. Then wipe the top of your eyelids and brows. You should definitely avoid any other area of your eye, including lashes, or you risk irritating your eyes.
Remember to wash your skin after this, or rinse it with saline solution. Otherwise, you chance it getting in your eyes or having it transfer onto your eye mask as you’re blissfully asleep.
An Alternative Eczema and Psoriasis Treatment
While it’s hard to sometimes tell the difference between the two, eczema and psoriasis are different from each other. Psoriasis happens when your immune system causes skin cells to grow faster than usual. As a result, dead skin cells accumulate on the skin surface rather than falling off. In contrast, the causes of eczema are unknown. But, what we do know is that both can cause irritated, itchy, dry, flushed skin.
While it’s not a cure for either of these conditions, Vaporub can help to reduce your skin’s inflammation and itchiness and make it feel nice and cool at the same time.
So you’ve stepped on a piece of wood or picked it up and found yourself with a painful splinter in your foot, finger, palm, etc. If you’ve subsequently managed to pull the splinter out using a sterilized needle and a pair of tweezers, congratulations! That’s the worst part over and done with. Once you’ve cleaned the area and stopped any minor bleeding, apply a tiny amount of Vaporub to it.
The Vaporub will help relieve any stinging you may experience while also healing your skin faster than it would otherwise. It may sting a little at first, but don't worry, that will fade.
One for the Horse-Lovers
If you love horses and ride regularly, you may already be familiar with this particular Vaporub hack. But, for those not in the know, if you want to keep your horse focussed, especially during mating season, keep a jar of Vapotub where you keep your horse. Then, before heading out for a ride, rub a little Vaporub under your horse’s nose, avoiding the nostrils, to stop it from being distracted by female horses.
Don't go too close to the horse's nostrils, though, as Vaporub can be poisonous to animals.
Say Goodbye to Verrucas
We’ve seen some reports saying they use Vaporub to vanish their verrucas, and a quick Google tells us there are tons of hat tilts to this particular hack. In addition, there are loads of other suggested remedies, including apple cider vinegar and tea tree oil. We’re taking an open-minded approach here; we’re going to add this hack in the hope that someone out there can tell us if this actually works or not.
Just rub some Vaporub on your verruca, wrap it in a bandage and wait and see! Alternatively, you could just head to the pharmacy and buy an at-home treatment instead.
Use As a Moisturizer
You already know you can treat your chapped lips with Vaporub, but did you know that you can also use it as an effective skin moisturizer too? If you also experience dry and cracked skin, you can apply Vaporub to the affected area. For example, dry elbows, knees, or even your face, as long as you’re careful to avoid the eye area. Luckily, you don’t need to apply it liberally.
Just administer a small amount to the affected area and rub it in well to benefit from the Vaporub cooling your skin if the dryness is causing irritation or inflammation.
Clean Away Stubborn Lipstick
Lipstick wearers are often frustrated by how easily their chosen shade comes off, especially after eating or drinking. But, if you’re lucky enough to have found a lipstick or lip stain that lasts all day, that’s fabulous. But how do you remove it without causing the skin on your lips to become sore? Consider using a tiny amount of Vaporub instead of makeup remover, and see how you get on.
Just apply it to your lips, leave for five minutes and wipe off with a cotton wool pad or ball. This should leave your lips soft and moisturized, ready for the next time! Consult your physician before doing this, though, as you don't want to ingest any of the stuff.
Ease Tennis Elbow
Suppose you play tennis a lot; in that case, you may have experienced pain around your elbow. This is aptly called tennis elbow. We are by no means saying that Vaporub is a cure for this condition. However, it can offer you some light relief. However, this is most effective when paired with avoiding the activity triggering your tennis elbow. You'll need to abstain from this activity until the pain goes away.
All you have to do is gently massage some Vaporub into your elbow and the surrounding area until the camphor and menthol soothe your discomfort. Hopefully, you’ll be holding your racket again soon!
Ease That Night Time Cough
If you have a cold that’s keeping you awake at night, not only is it preventing you from getting a good night’s rest, it’s also distressing. While this suggested hack may sound a little bit more out of the ordinary, it’s certainly worth a go if your cough is keeping you up at all hours. All you have to do is apply a generous amount of Vaporub to your feet at bedtime.
Remember to pop some socks on your feet, too, to prevent staining your bedding. The result? Hopefully, you’ll have a cough-free and dreamy night’s sleep and wake up feeling a ton better.
Humidify The Air
Humidifiers can be pretty effective in dry climates. The same goes for humidifiers when placed in rooms where someone has a cold or the flu and has difficulty breathing. They work wonders for alleviating dryness in our throat, lips, and skin. Some humidifiers that come with an aromatherapy compartment for essential oils can be used with Vaporub. However, you must check that your humidifier can be used with petroleum oil first.
If you get the green light to go ahead, all you need to do is add a small amount of Vaporub to your water-filled humidifier for that soothing scent and added comfort.
Stop That Door From Squeaking
Those with overactive imaginations are reminded of scary horror or ghost movies when we think of this particular problem. We’re referring to squeaky doors! If you have a door that creaks and squeaks each time you open or close it, and it makes others around you jump in fright, or it wakes your household when you return home late, you don’t have to head to the hardware store for an expensive DIY remedy.
Simply add a touch of Vaporub to the squeaky joints, and you’ll soon have a door that opens and shuts silently. It works as a handy emergency hack when you’ve run out of oil.
Cover Up That Smell
Maybe you had a spicy meal last night, or your dog ripped open your trash bag just for fun? Whatever the reason for the bad smell in your home, opening the windows usually works when you want to get rid of the smell. If, however, the smell is so bad you can’t handle it as you rush to make the cause of the foul odor go away, try something different.
Before running around flinging windows and doors open, pop some Vaporub under your nose. That way, you can breathe easy as you work to make your home smell fresh as a daisy again!
Shower Your Way to an Unblocked Nose
We’ve all heard of scented bath bombs that make bathtime a little more fun and floral, but have you heard of shower bombs? They’re the shower version and often come in cube or disc shapes that dissolve to release different aromas. In this instance, invest in the Vaporub version. You can use these when you’re tired after a long day and just want a refreshing shower that makes you feel great again.
The intoxicating mix of camphor, eucalyptus, and menthol also has the added benefit of unblocking your sinuses while you enjoy a relaxing, warm and steamy shower. What’s not to like?!
Be Rid of Athletes Foot
Do you have itchy white patches between your toes? If so, you may have Athlete’s foot. It’s a common fungal infection found on your feet - but fear not, it's easily treated. The downside is that it can quickly come back and make your skin red, sore, and flaky. There are tons of remedies out there, but if you suddenly find you have Athlete’s foot and don’t want to head to the pharmacy, try Vaporub.
All you have to do is rub it on the affected area twice a day after cleaning your feet first and keep repeating this until your condition has cleared up.
One interesting Vaporub home hack that we’ve noticed is its ringworm treatment. This fungal infection can crop up anywhere on the body and looks like a silver, red, or dark rash, and is usually ring-shaped. While we can’t attest to trying this particular remedy, there are a fair few home remedy sites out there that suggest that applying Vaporub to the affected area two to three times a day can help.
We’re all in favor of trying something new. Still, if we found rings like these anywhere on our bodies, we’d be high-tailing it to the pharmacy or doctor’s office pretty fast!
Take The Sting Out of Burns
We’re no stranger to kitchen-related burns, and our hands and arms tell the tale of many kitchen disasters over the years. However, if you’re practicing your chef skills and unfortunately burn yourself, don't worry; Vaporub is here. First, run cold water on the impacted area, or place a bag of frozen vegetables on it to cool things down a little. Then, keep the area cold for at least 10 minutes.
Now all you need to do is gently massage some Vaporub into the affected area. Hopefully, it will help soothe the stinging sensation you feel after you’ve burnt yourself. Just don't apply directly onto broken skin.
A Weight Loss Remedy
Allegedly this tiny pot of wonder can help you burn fat, not by eating it but by rubbing it into the area of your body where the fat is. Then wrap it in plastic wrap if you want to shed a pound or two. However, the last time we checked, the best way to get rid of fat was to exercise, eat healthily, eat less. Or, in more extreme cases, use more reliable fat removal methods.
But we included this in case you had something to say on the matter. Has anyone tried this? Does it actually work? We're eager to hear your experience with this!
Rosacea sufferers are no stranger to this inflammatory skin complaint that is sometimes likened to acne, an allergic reaction, or eczema. It’s quite a common complaint and is more common in females. Typical symptoms include redness and irritated skin. If untreated, it can worsen over time. However, one allegedly successful home hack for this condition is to rub a small amount of Vaporub on the affected area to help treat any soreness and discomfort.
If you ask us, we would prefer a simple medical or pharmaceutical intervention here. Perhaps some topical antibiotics, tretinoin, or azelaic acid? But hey, each to their own right?
Ease Chest Congestion
Apart from using Vaporub to alleviate a blocked nose, it's probably best known for giving some much-needed relief to anyone with a congested chest or cough. Most of us will remember being sick as a kid and one of our parents rubbing this stuff on our chest, right? Well, people are still doing it today. Just apply a generous amount to the upper chest area at bedtime to ease the nagging symptoms that accompany chest congestion.
Sometimes these old-school remedies are the best ones of all. In this case, we think that this particular Vaporub classic home hack stands a good chance of outliving us all!
As a Neosporin Standby
Best known as an antibiotic ointment to reduce the risk of infection, Vaporub could be a good shoo-in when you’ve run out of Neosporin. Suppose you’ve suffered a minor burn or have a different kind of skin wound. In that case, it’s essential to keep the area clean and prevent it from becoming infected with germs or bacteria. If it's not an open wound, try regularly applying some Vaporub to the area in question to help prevent infection.
However, if the area doesn’t improve or worsen, you should definitely go and see your doctor. Or, at least go to your pharmacist for medical advice. They may suggest an over-the-counter remedy.