How to Use Vicks VapoRub in the Shower (to Combat a Cold)

Jennifer Rhodes

By Jennifer Rhodes · Updated

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Vicks VapoRub is one of the best remedies for coughs and congestion caused by a cold. But did you know you can get all of its benefits even while you're in the shower?

The best way to use Vicks VapoRub in the shower is by mixing it into solid shower melts with cornstarch. Once exposed to warm water, these melts will turn the VapoRub into decongesting and refreshing steam. Ideally, you should try to place them over your drain to avoid creating a mess or accidentally slipping.

Throwing a Vicks VapoRub melt into your shower is an excellent method to fight cold symptoms. And the best part? They're also surprisingly easy to make!

How to use Vicks VapoRub in the shower

If you apply Vicks VapoRub directly on your skin, shower water will wash most of it away. So instead, you want to mix the ointment into shower melts—much like bath bombs.

Below are the ingredients you'll need:

  • Vicks VapoRub (3 tbsp)
  • Cornstarch (1 cup)
  • Water (⅓ cup)
  • Food coloring (optional)
  • Silicone molds

Now, here's how to make the VapoRub shower melts:

  1. Add the water, cornstarch, and Vicks VapoRub to a mixing bowl.
  2. Stir until the mixture is a thick paste. Optimally, you should be able to mold it into a ball. If it's too runny, add extra cornstarch. If too dry, add water.
  3. If desired, add 5 drops of your preferred food coloring and stir.
  4. Press mixture firmly into the silicone molds.
  5. Place the molds in your freezer and allow them to sit for 1 ½ hour.
  6. Place the hardened melts in your shower and enjoy! Store any extras in a sealed container to help maintain freshness, such as a jar.

These melts may seem too strong at first and make your eyes water. In that case, try only using half of one to reduce the amount of VapoRub steam.

How does VapoRub work in the shower?

Usually, Vicks works by rubbing it into your chest and neck so that you can breathe in the vapors. So, how does it still work when you place VapoRub melt in the shower?

To put it simply: the answer is steam!

As you might expect, shower water will wash away any ointment you've recently applied. But when mixed into a shower melt, the VapoRub will turn to steam instead.

This vapor can actually be more effective than applying Vicks outside the shower. After all, steam on its own is a home remedy for congestion. So mixing it with VapoRub can relieve your sinuses and help you breathe easier in no time.

And remember to always place the melts directly over your shower drain. That way, you can ensure that hot water hits and generates steam. Plus, it reduces the chances of you accidentally slipping on the melt.

Ingredients to add to your VapoRub shower melts

Vicks VapoRub is an effective way to relieve sinus pain and coughing. However, there are other beneficial (and fun) things you can also add to your shower melts.

Here are some examples:

  • Essential oils: Adding essential oil to your VapoRub melts will supercharge their decongesting powers. Eucalyptus and peppermint oil are the best options for sinus relief. And only a few drops are necessary for each melt.
  • Flower petals: Crushed flower petals can make your Vicks VapoRub shower melts all the more fragrant. Rose petals work best, but make sure you break them into tiny pieces to prevent clogging.
  • Orange peel: Similar to petals, orange peels will add a pleasant aroma to your VapoRub. Not to mention they're also natural decongestants like essential oils.
  • Bath glitter: The only downside to shower melts is that they can look a little bland. So, why not add some bath-safe glitter? If you put your melts into cute molds, the extra sparkle will make them look downright dazzling.

Can you add Vicks VapoRub to the bathtub?

As it turns out, you should avoid adding Vicks VapoRub directly to your bathwater.

You get the benefits from your melts due to the steam they produce in a hot shower. But if you drop some into a tub, it won't generate nearly as much vapor.

Because of that, you won't get the same decongesting benefits from Vicks that you ordinarily would in a shower. The ointment may instead clump up at the bottom of your tub. Or fail to dissolve evenly and float around.

And when that happens, the ointment may coat the bottom of your tub and make it feel greasy. As a result, you might slip and get hurt.

Finally, you also have to worry about skin irritation. Vicks VapoRub is usually supposed to go on your throat and chest. So getting it onto sensitive areas, such as your private parts, may cause a burning sensation.

Alternative remedies to Vicks VapoRub

Sometimes, using Vicks VapoRub alone won't be quite enough to combat your cold. But thankfully, there are a few other things you can do to relieve your symptoms.

  • Nasal spray: Nasal sprays are an excellent solution for clogged sinuses. When combined with steam in a hot shower, you should feel decongested in no time.
  • Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is crucial for helping you get over a cold. This point is vital to remember since you can quickly get dehydrated when taking long, hot showers.
  • Turn off the fan: If your bathroom has a fan, consider keeping it off during your next shower. That way, it's much easier for steam to fill the space and decongest you.

Stay in touch

Get exclusive tips on how to make the most of your hot tub.

We won't spam you. Unsubscribe any time.