DIY Kid-Safe Vapor Rub Recipe For an Easy Chest Rub

A great kid-safe vapor rub recipe can be customized with simple ingredients and starts with a base oil such as coconut oil, beeswax, and shea-butter, and then is layered with aromatic essential oils that provide respiratory relief. Essential Oils that work well to promote optimal respiratory function include Eucalyptus, Spearmint, Pine, Lavender, and Tea Tree Oils. 

Now that the weather is cooler, and people are spending more time indoors – it’s likely that children in your household will eventually pick something up. Over the next few months, it may seem like they always have a runny nose!

Here is a DIY vapor rub recipe with natural ingredients that will work as an easy chest rub for those nights your child is experiencing a stuffy nose and chest congestion. 

DIY Vapor Rub for Kids Natural Chest Rub Recipe Vick VapoRub Substitute
This easy chest rub recipe is perfect for children 1 years old and up as it has mild ingredients.

Benefits of Making Your Own Vapor Rub

While it may seem like a lot of work, it is actually very easy to make your own vapor rub and has so many more benefits than buying one from the store. A homemade vapor rub recipe will always be free of toxic ingredients and any possible skin irritation. 

Many vapor rub products you find at the supermarket may contain some chemicals and ingredients that can be harmful to your child. For example, many contain the ingredient “petrolatum,” which, in some cases, contains PAHS, a carcinogeous chemical. By making your own, you will know exactly what is going into it, so you know it will be safe.

There are very few options available when it comes to helping your little ones with their cold and cough symptoms. By making a kid-safe vapor rub, you can further help your child find congestion relief faster – and always have some handy especially during flu season. 

By making your own, you also can control the number of essential oil that goes into the rub and can put in the only ones that are safe for your child. For children under three years old, you can stick with lavender, lemon, or frankincense.

As your child gets older, you can add stronger essentials oil such as thyme, pine, cedarwood, eucalyptus, and peppermint and create your own go-to favorite essential oil blend. 

Every child is different, and what works for one might not work for your kid. By making your own vapor rub, you can make one that works perfectly for your child!

It can also be cheaper, in the long run, to make your own vapor rub too! Commercial vapor rubs can get pricey especially considering all the artifical ingredients you will purchasing in the process.

Gather some carrier oils such as Shea Butter, Coconut Oil, and Beeswax; and some Essential Oils.

Is Eucalyptus and Peppermint Safe for My Kids?

There are mixed opinions about using eucalyptus and peppermint with your child. Ultimately, it is up to you to decide what is best for your family, and you should always consult with your healthcare provider, to get additional medical advice. 

According to the book Essential Oil Safety, it talks about how children inhaling eucalyptus can be harmful if it is applied to their face or nose in kids under ten years old. But, that does not mean you have to avoid it altogether [source – very good read].

The author of the book discusses that you can use both peppermint and eucalyptus in a recipe for children three years and older if you use a small amount (.5% concentration) [source] and do not apply it directly on their face. You can use it as a chest rub, by rubbing it between your hands until you produce medium heat and then apply it on the back and chest of the child, which will prove to be the most effective. 

Eucalyptus contains 1.8, cineole, known as eucalyptol – which is the compound that provides anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties to the airways. When used correctly, it can be added to your vapor rub and can benefit your little one!

However, if you are worried and want to be cautious, just in case, the recipe below does not contain eucalyptus or peppermint. Adapt the recipe however you would like!

DIY Vapor Rub for Kids Natural Chest Rub Recipe Vick VapoRub Substitute

DIY Kid-Safe Vapor Rub Recipe

Yield: 4oz Tin
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 10 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Difficulty: Easy


  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (mine was infused with spearmint)
  • 2 tbsp. shea butter
  • 2 tbsp. beeswax
  • 6-10 drops of essential oils (lavender and pine are what I used)


    1. Pour the beeswax pellets into the coconut oil. Microwave for 30 seconds and then stir for 30 seconds. Repeat until all the pellets have melted.
    2. Next, add in the shea butter and repeat until it has melted as well.
    3. Add in the drops of essential oils and stir until well mixed.
    4. Pour the mixture into tins or a glass container.
    5. Let it sit without the lid on for 4-5 hours or until it fully hardens. Wait until it is hard before putting on the lid.
    6. Keep it in a dark place without much humidity, and it can last up to a year (make sure to label when you created this batch)


    • You can use a carrier oil you prefer, such as jojoba oil, avocado oil, olive oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, etc. You can use infused herbal oils, but you don’t have to as well.
    • You do not have to use essential oils if you prefer. However, if you do, be sure to use kid-safe oils. For a vapor rub, these would be good essential oils: lavender, lemon, pine, frankincense, cedarwood, juniper berry, and thyme.)
    • You can use other essential oils if you don’t want a kid-safe version. Eucalyptus and peppermint are the most common ones.
    • If you want this to be a vegan recipe, swap out beeswax pellets for candelilla wax.
    • If you do not want to use the microwave, you can use the double boiler method to heat up the oil and beeswax.
    • Use more beeswax pellets if you want a harder ointment and less if you want a softer vapor rub. Because of the coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax, this is a little bit of a harder salve, but it still melts quickly when it comes into contact with your skin.
    • To help preserve the vapor rub, you can also add in a drop or two of vitamin C (commonly used as a preservative) as well.

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    How do you make vapor rub for kids?

    To make an easy vapor rub, simply use a base oil such as shea butter, and add any essential oil that has the compound eucalyptol – which is predominantly found in eucalyptus essential oil. 

    Eucalyptol comprises up to 90 percent of the essential oil of some species of eucalyptus (e.g.Eucalyptus polybractea),[1] hence the common name of the compound. It is also found in bay leaves, mugwort, sweet basil, wormwood, rosemary, sage and other aromatic plant foliage. Eucalyptol with a purity from 99.6 to 99.8 percent can be obtained in large quantities by fractional distillation of eucalyptus oil.

    In common with many essential oils (volatile oils), eucalyptus oil is toxic if ingested internally.

    – Encyclopedia from

    How do you make Vicks Vapor Rub at home?

    To make a homemade vicks vapor rub batch, you can use a 1/4 cup coconut oil and beeswax base and add 5 drops of eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils. Slowly heat up the base mixture over a double burner or in 30-second increments in the microwave and when the mixture is in liquid form – add the essential oils. For a stronger batch add an additional 5 drops of each essential oil, and 2 drops of clove oil which is also very strong, so use it sparingly. 

    vick vaporub has a combination of essential oils that help expel and clear airways

    What is a good substitute for Vicks VapoRub?

    A good substitue for Vicks vapor rub includes making a natural vapor rub with several drops eucalyptus essential oil, peppermint, rosemary, and clove essential oils. All of these essential oils have immune-bnoosting properties that will help with respiratory distress. Just add these drops of oils to a base of carrier oils such as coconut oil and hardier carrier oils like shea butter and beeswax, and voila – you have a good substitue for Vick VapoRub. 

    Is thieves chest rub safe for kids?

    A thieves chest rub can be safe for children 3 and up, as some of the essential oils can be very strong and irritating to sensitive skin and little lungs. Thieves essential oil is one of the oldest essential oil recipes for fighting off respiratory infections and bacterial contaminants. Thieves oil is known for its’ antiviral and anti-bacterial properties. A safe way to use thieces chest rub is to rub the oinment on the feet to help combat any oncoming symptoms of a cold or flu. 

    Josie Pena
    Josie Pena

    Josie is a mother of two girls (3 years and 5 years old). She's a SAHM that works remotely on various internet projects. She spends her free time exploring local parks, learning new things, and recording content for her YouTube channels. You can find her blogging over at

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