soles of feet poking out from under the covers

On Paul Simon’s Grammy award winning album “Graceland” is an amazing song titled “Diamonds on the Soles of her Shoes.” Take a moment to watch it being performed with Ladysmith Black Mambazo. 

Link to early Paul Simon version

Link to mature Paul Simon version

Vicks VapoRub on the soles of your feet may not be as memorable as diamonds on the soles of your shoes, but it has some equally amazing stories:

“I was skeptical about Vicks for my feet, but my current cough and other symptoms were keeping me from doing anything, especially sleeping. I begged my husband to pick up some Vicks VapoRub on his way home from work. It was a long, hacking, aching wait! But I finally got the stuff on my feet and drifted off to sleep peacefully within about 5 minutes. I’m praying for similar effects during the day so I can get back to work soon.” Angela

“I wouldn’t have tried it or believed it, but at 3AM I was desperate to suppress my constant cough and sleep! So I decided to try it and IDK why it worked, but it did. Lasted for several hours; I’ve done it twice now!” D.K.C.

“I have heard for several years that when your child has a cough you should put Vicks on his feet. I thought it was ridiculous. Why would that work? On his chest, yes, but feet? So I hadn’t done that.

“My son coughs until he starts to vomit. Every single time he gets even the slightest cold, he does that. He’s seven years old and has a nasty virus right now, as do I.

“I decided to try Vicks on his chest. I didn’t remember it working that well when I was a kid, so I hadn’t tried it before.

“My husband said to put it on his feet. So, I said, ok, I’ll try it. Still thinking it was silly, I put it on his feet but not mine.

“I am amazed. He slept all night with no coughing. I know because I would have heard him; I was awake most of the night coughing. I didn’t put it on my feet.” Gayle

“This comment is only partly about Vicks VapoRub and partly about the bottoms of the feet. About seventy years ago I learned about putting medication on the feet instead of into the stomach; my brother had pneumonia and was in great distress when a neighbor lady suggested that we make a poultice of onions boiled in sugar syrup, pack it on his feet and wrap with cloth and cover with socks. Don’t laugh! It worked! His fever broke and he got well very quickly.

“Back to Vicks; it has always been a mainstay for my family as it cures, yes cures, many things including athlete’s foot.” Y.E.

“This absolutely works for me.  I usually get bronchitis at least 1-2 times per year and Vicks on the soles of my feet stops the cough so I can sleep.  Usually works in 5-10 minutes.” Pat

“I just tried this Vicks remedy about 10 minutes ago and my coughing has already stopped. I was coughing every 3-5 minutes for about 30 minutes straight and it’s amazing how something can work so quickly. Not even those over the counter cough medications work as well as Vicks, soles and socks! Love it.” Jenny

We cannot promise that putting Vicks on the soles of the feet  will work for everyone. But if it does the job, it would be at least as valuable as having diamonds on the soles of your shoes.

Share your own Vicks VapoRub story below in the comment section. Want to read more about amazing uses for Vicks VapoRub? You can find them in our guide, Unique Uses for Vicks, or in Quick & Handy Home Remedies or in Best Choices From The People’s Pharmacy. Hereis a link to all our publilcations.


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  1. Sally
    United States

    I have chronic cough because of reflux (caused by hiatal hernia). Suppose vicks on soles of my feet would help this cough? Took omeprazole for 5 years (shudder to think I was that dumb) & it was of no help. Suggestions, anyone?

  2. Tori

    Awesome. All my kids swear by this for coughing and they are 6-10 years old and all use it! When they cough they head straight for the vapor rub smear it all over their feet and put on socks. We’ve used it for over a year now and I’d say 95% of the time it works amazingly well. Tonight I have 2 kids with rub and socks on sleeping quietly.

    I thought it was crazy the first time I read it but after my kid had a really bad cough with vomiting and vomiting blood due to busting some vessel I tried it on my her and it totally worked. Amazing. We were all sold after that.

  3. M

    Works!, Just did it,and within a few minutes my cough was gone!

  4. Sandra
    Simi valleyIve had yhis

    I’ve had this cough for a week and haven’t been able to sleep through the night. My daughter told me to put Vicks on my feet. So I did and so far I haven’t coughed it’s only been an hour but I haven’t coughed can’t wait to see how I sleep tonight.

  5. Jenifer
    San Francisco, Ca

    It could be the eucalyptus essential oil in the Vicks that is the healing factor. I have chest/sinus congestion and I mixed the eucalyptus oil with coconut oil to put on chest. I’ll try it on my feet :)

  6. Patti
    Michigan, USA

    I crawled out of bed last night to put Vicks on the soles of my feet for the very first time. It worked! I quit coughing, crawled slowly back into bed and fell asleep. I slept seven hours and woke up with 75% of my cold symptoms gone. We have to sleep so our body can repair itself. I’ll try it again and again and suggest that others give it a try too.

  7. Julian
    London, UK

    I’m 47 and had heard this as an idea 30 plus years ago from my grand parents but laughed it off… my wife is now a reflexologist and she told me to do it because I have a terrible cold at the moment which it seems I have had on and off since xmas… there seem to be a lot of people around saying similar.

    Anyway, I did it last night for the first time… covering the whole of my feet, not simply the sole, in a thick layer and the results were absolutely astonishing.

    I did it again tonight about an hour ago… and when I did I had a totally blocked nose and bad headache… as I sit here now I can breath through my nose again and my headache has gone. I will reapply the rub before I go to bed.

    So yeah try it… you have nothing to lose.

    Thanx :)

  8. Tina

    My best friend and I swear by this! I don’t wait till bedtime, I do it a couple times a day when I’m down with head/chest colds.

  9. Jennifer
    Cobh, Co.Cork

    My 6yr old girl has a bad cough for the week and was sent home from school, I was told she should be on Exputex (cough syrup) and the cough would get worse and it did, sent her to bed a 8pm, and she went too sleep at 12am, the cough got so bad she was vomiting, and cried ” mommy it’s not going away ” but my sister and my mother said put Vicks vapour rub on her chest back and soles of her feet!!! WHAT??????????? But I did and tonight she went to bed at 8pm and not a sound, so now I will sleep better, Jen x x x

  10. Nico
    Highlands, Scotland

    Have to admit I was skeptical. My daughter has had a really angry (viral) URTI, she has been coughing for the last 5 days, things got worse earlier on and she just couldn’t stop coughing. Put the vicks on her feet and she was sleeping soundly and cough free within 10 minutes. Recommended wholeheartedly.

  11. DB

    Yes ! Vicks vaporub on the soles relieves the cold, I have done it for my kids and they get well really faster than any other medicine taken orally.

  12. Anne
    Knoxville, TN, USA

    Thank you. I have been coughing and congested for days. Will try this tonight.

  13. A

    I have had a cough at night that is keeping everyone up plus my stomach muscle are so sore. Today I did some research and came across this website and read about putting Vicks on the bottom of your feet. I was amazed it worked instantly and I was able to rest today.

  14. Julia

    My daughter used Vicks Vapour rub on her feet just after Christmas when she can to stay with us. I was fed up listening to her cough on the first night and she thought I was joking about rubbing the Vicks on her feet, but she had this cold/cough for a few weeks that she just wanted it to stop. Well the first night she put some Vicks on her feet she slept really well and so did we as she didn’t cough, I told this to my friends who have had a cough for weeks and they are willing to try this.

  15. Jenny
    Chico, CA

    I had a nagging cough once, during a massage therapy appointment, and my massage therapist who is originally from Germany and who has been a therapist for many years, told me that her grandmother would rub Vicks VapoRub on her feet when she had chest congestion and/or a cough. I asked why not her chest, and she wasn’t really sure herself but she swore by its effectiveness herself. I began to use it on my kid’s feet and it works! Turpentine is in Vick’s, and it’s ‘approved,’ that really means little these days…anyhow, I haven’t gone as far as making my own Vick’s, I just use it on my family’s feet now whenever anyone gets those coughs and congestion. So happy to discover this little trick and thanks for sharing it!

  16. Helen R.

    Happy I have started using the Vicks on my 4 year old daughter’s feet. She sleeps so much better. Thing is, when I have used it on her feet, I have also been rubbing it into her neck/chest area and placed a bowl of freshly boiled water in her bedroom up high with the Vicks Vaporub in. I only did her chest and feet tonight though. See how that works.

  17. Sarah

    My mom told me to do this for my cough and not only did it cure that but it got rid of my fricken verrucas! This stuff is a miraculous.

  18. Elizabeth

    Someone gave me the tip of putting Vicks on the soles of my feet as I have had a persistent cough for eight weeks. Having been back and fore to the doctors and given antibiotics etc., I thought it would not work as I am asthmatic too but was desperate as I had lost lots and lots of sleep. I tried it and within minutes I was asleep and deep sleep too. The next morning I thought it was because I was so tired so tried it again the following night and yes, another brilliant night of no coughing. So it really does work.

  19. clare
    north wales

    Very impressed! my four year old daughter has been coughing all evening until 1:30am. I just put vicks on her soles and already her coughing has died down. She and I will be asleep very soon. very happy daughter and mummy!!! :)

  20. alice
    northern Ireland

    Can you use this remedy when pregnant?

    • Foo

      Yes, as it doesn’t actually do anything, it’s a PLACEBO.

  21. Brian T.

    My neighbor has had a horrible cold for some weeks. This last week it turned into a rasping cough, she saw her doctor who said there was nothing they could do but needed to have a blood test!.

    I picked up some cough medicine but it didn’t work; the cough was so severe her throat became sore. Then I read about Vicks on your feet which, to be honest, made us laugh. But we are sitting here watching TV together and she was having yet another coughing fit. So she tried the Vicks on her feet!

    Within 2 minutes her coughing has stopped. Amazing! Let’s see if it lasts.

  22. annie-o

    I’ve used this remedy for myself and my grandkids and it really works. I also give the People’s Pharmacy website to anyone that asks my advice about things. I’m an RN and have even recommended the website to patients that had issues with different things that weren’t relieved with prescribed medication. Keep up the good work. AD

  23. STH

    I read with interest regarding Vicks on the soles of the feet for cough.
    I need something to use on my husbands feet for splits and cracks. Any ideas?

    • elizabeth

      ccs foot cream gives excellent results providing you use it daily. I also use it to prevent dry cracked hands in winter.

    • Cee

      I suggest that you try using pure unscented goat milk soap and goat milk lotion for bathing and moisturizing your husbands feet. I have eczema, so it really makes a difference.

  24. raw

    I’m sending this Vicks suggestion to several people. Often they laugh and shrug when I tell them some of the ideas I learn from People’s Pharmacy. I’m sure this will be tried by at least several of them. I know the family ones have Vicks in their medicine cabinets.

  25. FN

    Extreme coughing causes very sore stomach muscles, remedy, wrap your stomach with a cloth long enough to wrap around your body, tight but not too tight. It will prevent or cure the soreness. I was a former bronchitis sufferer with family roots in Europe. A home remedy passed down from my grandmother.

    • Chuck
      Lake Hughes, CA

      Wrapping yourself can restrict the movement of your lungs. In the “old” days they did this for broken ribs, but found that it led to fluid in the lungs. DO NOT WRAP your chest in any constrictive way. A light wrap is okay, but this article implied using the wrap to restrict motion.

  26. alxzba

    no comment, would like to see other comments. tx.

  27. B B

    good info. will pass on to friends

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