The Best Cough and Cold Chest Rubs

One of the best ways to soothe cough and cold symptoms is to apply a powerful chest rub. Check out our picks for the top four chest rubs and you’ll never have to worry about congestion again.

By Amanda Lasater

Unfortunately, no one is immune to the common cold. The reality is that no matter what precautions we take, we will all come down with a cough or a cold multiple times in our lives. And, while there is no cure to a cold, there are treatments that will significantly improve the symptoms to help you get the sleep you need to kick the cold to the curb.

One of the best treatments to help you out during your cold is a chest rub designed to soothe cough and cold symptoms. Make sure you pick the most effective rub for your symptoms and preferences by using our list of the top four chest rubs on the market.

Our Picks for the Best Cough and Cold Chest Rubs

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Most Soothing

Mentholatum Original Ointment

Mentholatum’s ointment is a 100% natural chest rub unlike the other topical rubs on the market as it uses a much higher dose of camphor. The ointment includes 9% camphor and 1.3% menthol, both of which will soothe nasal passages and clear up your cough.

Aside from its soothing vapors, this one-of-a-kind formula also offers minor pain relief from the aches and pains caused by colds. Just apply the ointment onto the affected areas and the menthol and camphor will work their magic. 

matys chest rub

Best for Kids

Maty’s All natural Baby Chest Rub

Maty’s Baby Chest Rub is an all natural chest rub that was made with your child’s health in mind. Maty’s stays away from ingredients that may cause a reaction in young, sensitive skin, like petroleum, hydrogenated oils, and fragrances.

Instead, the rub uses natural oils like sunflower oil and coconut oil, vitamin E, and pure essential oils to comfort and soothe your baby. The key essential oils that work in this rub include lavender, eucalyptus, and chamomile – three powerfully calming and soothing scents. 

solimo chest rub

Best Value

Amazon Brand – Solimo Chest Rub Cough Suppressant and Topical Analgesic

Amazon’s Solimo Chest Rub is an affordable and classic cough suppressant and topical analgesic. The ointment blends together powerful camphor and menthol to produce vapors that will instantly clear up chest congestion and nasal passageways.

Camphor and menthol are also two very powerful resources in pain relief for the muscle aches experienced during a cold or flu. Finally, the chest rub also incorporates eucalyptus oil, an essential oil known for its respiratory benefits. 

vicks vaporub

Best for Bedtime

Vicks VapoRub Lavender Scented Chest Rub

Vicks VapoRub is the one of the most well known names in chest rubs – and for a good reason. This powerful ointment has been used for years to help soothe coughs, congestion, and joint and muscle pains associated with colds.

The strong blend of camphor and menthol act as both cough suppressants and topical analgesics, while the addition of eucalyptus oil works to clear your respiratory system. Plus, Vicks kicked up their classic recipe with the addition of lavender, which will help you relax and fall asleep even with the worst cold systems.

How chest rubs can help you sleep better

When you have a cough or cold, falling asleep can be a serious struggle. You are left tossing and turning all night, frustrated because you’re congested and achy. When this happens, chest rubs can be used to ease those symptoms and help you fall asleep faster. Here are the top reasons chest rubs help you fall asleep when you have a cold or cough:

  • They act as a chest decongestant
  • They help ease coughs
  • They clear nasal passageways
  • They relieve pain relief to muscle and joint aches
  • They relieve headaches

How to choose the right chest rub

There are a few ingredients that have proven themselves to be powerful decongestants and pain relievers. Look for the following ingredients in your chest rub when shopping for someone at least 2 years old:

  • Menthol. The smell of menthol will instantly leave you feeling like you can breathe. Also, it acts as a pain reliever when applied to muscles and joints.
  • Camphor. Camphor has been used for ages to relieve pain and clear the airways. Applied topically, it will reduce aching muscles and itching, and the vapors can help you breath easier.
  • Eucalyptus oil. This essential oil has become popular due to its beneficial effects on the respiratory system. When inhaled, it will help relieve your cough and itchy throat.
  • Lavender. Lavender has a very calming effect when inhaled, so including it into a vapor rub will help you calm down and fall asleep.

Note: For children 2 years old or younger, you do not want to use camphor or menthol, as these can be irritating to babies. Plus, camphor can be potentially toxic if ingested by a baby.


Finding a good chest rub means that you don’t have to worry about being kept up by a cough or cold again. These ointments will provide you with much-needed relief from congestion, cough, and muscle pains during your next cold, so make sure you purchase one that uses the best ingredients and will get the job done. 

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