Vicks VapoRub Stories

Since we’ve been talking about Vicks VapoRub, I thought I’d share a couple of funny stories.  I may have told these on here before but I’ll tell them again.  I come from a long line of Vicks users.  Our whole family is addicted to the stuff.

My dad’s mom was old in my first memories of her.  There were 7 kids, plus a couple more that died as children.  My dad was the youngest.  My grandma had given up housekeeping and would spend a few weeks with each of her children and their families.  She would ride the Greyhound bus from one location to the next.  When she came to our house, she slept on the sofa and there was an end table at one end of the sofa.  My grandma stuck her Vicks in the drawer and we all went to bed.  In the middle of the night, my mom and dad heard her scream and they went racing into the living room.  Granny had reached into the drawer, retrieved her Vicks, held it over her head to open it . . but . . she had grabbed mom’s bottle of ink instead of the jar of Vicks so when she opened it over her head, all that ink poured out onto her head, the pillow and the sofa.

Next story . . when Chad was about 3, I had put him to bed.  After a while, I heard some commotion in his room.  We were living in Jasper, Texas and had a one story house with a very long hallway.  As I walked down the hall, the closer I got to his room, the strong the smell . . Vicks VapoRub!  I always called it Vicks Salve because that’s what my grandparents called it.  When I got into Chad’s room, his eyes were watering and he said “I used your Vicks Sapper”.  He had it from head to toe, all over his sheets, all over his clothes, even on the wall beside his bed.  He kept saying “My *private part* (insert 3 year old terms) burns!”  One of us took Chad to the bath tub and we scrubbed and scrubbed and it took forever to get him halfway “Vicks free”.  The other stripped the bed, began scrubbing the walls . .

In the end, it was just another funny memory but when it was happening, I was seriously questioning my parenting skills.



  1. 1

    Jeanie in MO says

    If you have a cough at nighttime that won’t stop, put Vicks on the bottom of your feet, add socks and you won’t cough anymore. This really works!!!

  2. 2

    Terri says

    Vicks is one of those childhood smells that bring is back to our childhoods. Like frying chicken makes me think of I love Lucy, she came on at dinner time, and Charley Pride’s Kiss an Angel Good Morning takes me to Jacinto Cafe with french dressing and chicken fried steak.(juke boxes at each table)

  3. 3

    Peggy says

    Vicks has always been in my house. Right now it lives on the shelf on the headboard of our bed. I often grab it in the middle of the night when I have trouble breathing mostly due to a stuffed nose or just need the comfort from my past. I do worry that someday I may rub my eyes and get the vicks in them. That would not be good.

  4. 4

    Maria do Carmo says

    Tenho uma amiga Sônia que usa para TUDO,passa no nariz,acaba de escovar os dentes e passa um dedo e vai esfrega na boca,nas pernas para dar brilho saudável,e espantar os mosquitos,guando está gripada vai até nas fronhas.EU uso para nariz entupido e nos pés com aspirina.Mas que tem cheiro de infância e de coisa boa…ah!isso teem…. .beijo.

  5. 6


    Believe it or not, I had a similar experience with my husband . I still have not gotten a good explanation as to why he put vicks on his private part. And, by the way, he was yelling the very same thing, only in very adult terms!

    glen: who knows…….we were married only a few years at the time, so it is not like he was 55 and alone……

  6. 7

    Angela says

    Too cute, I had to read this to my hubby! He was laughing but also feeling for 3 year old Chad….he stated “Vick’s does not belong anywhere near a “private part” especially a 3 year old boy” he then laughed some more!! . We are parents of 5 sons and 2 grandsons, totally understanding! Thanks for sharing.

  7. 9

    Terri Schanz says

    We love Vicks. Did you know it can be used to cure fungal nails too? It takes a couple of months, but if you put it on your nails regularly, they’ll grow out all new and fungus free. There is medication that will cure fungal nails too, but it’s hundreds of dollars, so Vicks is a bargain.

    My son is an EMT/firefighter and they use a little Vicks in their nostrils when they have to work around unpleasant smells. Apparently, it works like a charm, although I”m certainly thankful I have never had to use it for that purpose!!

  8. 10


    Oh HOW FUNNY! I have a story almost exactly like that but it involves Vaseline, not Vicks. He was in his crib but awake as I could hear him. All of a sudden, wham then crying. I ran in, he was in the floor and when I picked him up he slipped thru my hands. WHAT IS THAT?! He’d greased up the crib rails and when he’d reached to put the Vaseline back on changing table (I’d moved it back too close after vacuuming), he just slipped over the rail. EVERY stuffed animal, the sheets, the crib, the wall was coated in Vaseline. Oh, and Vaseline is very difficult to remove from the walls of the washing machine when stuffed animals and sheets are put in there covered with the stuff! HA

  9. 11

    Sandie says

    Just think Judy… Soon Addie will be making memories like that for Chad and Nicole, to make them question themselves and give you a good laugh! Thanks for the chucles!

  10. 13


    I LOVE the smell of Vicks!!

    Great stories, Judy. Before I became a RN, I had to take 3 terms of Anatomy/Physiology. For the lab sections of each class, we worked with human cadavers. There was always a tub of Vicks in the cadaver lab for those who needed it. I never used it until after I was done with those 3 classes and my instructor asked me if I’d like to do “cadaver dissection” as a 4th term. I was thrilled, but there was something different about “doing the work” and I had to dig out that tub of Vicks a couple of times! I know – EWWWW! But that’s my Vicks story.

    BLM 🙂

  11. 14

    Roberta says

    Better vicks than a giant economy sized can of baby powder all over the bedroom. Forever to get that stuff all cleaned up. Memories!!!!!!!!

  12. 16

    SarahB says

    Judy, we have it and use it all the time for it’s intended use! :o) The kids think the smell is too much though so I only rub it on their chest (under their shirts!) and on their feet (under their socks), not sure how it works when there is clothing on it but their feet DO stay so soft. I think the menthol helps them relax at bedtime even when they have a chest cold and can’t breath. When I was growing up my Dad swore by it and whenever we got colds he would slather our noses (inside and out!) with it. I think Vicks has a kind of cult following and you’re either in or out! :o)

  13. 17


    Vick’s also works well at soothing itchy mosquito bites! I love it for that reason since I’m the one who always gets bitten…

  14. 18

    Helen Koenig1 says

    Vicks – definitely part of my childhood memories – as well as adult memories….. When my mom was still alive, she would use Vicks to bring boils to a head when they could be lanced and drained (we’re talking about PAINFUL boils!) I’ve also heard that Vicks when a person has hemmorhoids will work wonders – that it burns like you know what – but it heals the hemmorhoid VERY quickly. I can personally vouch for Vicks on the chest with congestion – and on the feet for that nagging cough!

    My mom’s biggest problem re Vicks is that I (who liked weird stuff) had an inordinate fondness for EATING Vicks!

    • 18.1

      Janice Stockwell says

      My ex-husband also swore by EATING Vicks. To cure a cold or cough! I was horrified but wondered if I would see any posts about that. Too funny!

  15. 19

    Kate says

    Too funny, my little sister was about 3 when she got ahold of the tube of Desiden and painted herself, crib, walls etc with it all. We eaven have a picture! Ill have to try some of the Vicks tips… Cheers!

  16. 20

    Beth says

    Vicks also works well when you have a girl dog in heat and a boy dog who’s too interested! Put a little Vicks under the boy dogs nose and he won’t be so interest…..

    My father also made us swallow a tablespoon or so when we had sore throats. Then he wrapped a clean sock around our throats and everything was fine the next day. He did this until we learned to read and discovered that Vicks is for EXTERNAL use only..

  17. 21


    LOL – someone ought to collect all these and put them into a book. Isn’t it funny how something like Vicks brings out so many stories. I hated the stuff as a kid because me mom always swore by it. Even after we were married, if I ever mentioned anyone coughed or felt ill, she would mail a package with multiple jars of Vicks in it.

  18. 22

    Dot says

    My mother spread a line of Vapo-Rub on her upper lip, under her nose, when she cleaned up any smelly messes!