Make a Vicks VapoRub Rice Bag and a Free Monster Rice Bag Cover

Vicks-Scented Rice Bag - to ease a cough and sniffles without having to use the sticky stuff - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

Everyone knows that a little Vicks Vapo-Rub smoothed onto a kid’s chest can help ease a cough and clear up a stuffy nose. But some kids (and some adults too) don’t like the sticky stuff smeared on their skin. And some grown-ups are concerned about using a petroleum jelly-based rub.

I recently had a major Mom-lightbulb-moment. I make rice bags for bedtime – usually scented with orange oil, cinnamon stick and cloves. I will sometimes put one on my “I don’t like sticky stuff on my skin” daughter’s chest to help ease a cough and soothe her to sleep when she’s sick. What if I make a special rice bag for sick times and scent it with the aromatics in Vicks VapoRub?

Awesome – if I do say so myself. Cue the chorus and trumpets please. πŸ™‚

Here’s what to do.

Download this free pattern to make a rice bag. Don’t worry, it’s super easy – all straight lines and no handwork.

Free Rice Bag Pattern from Shiny Happy World

The pattern calls for 2 1/2 cups of rice. Before you put the rice in the bag, stir in 20 drops of eucalyptus oil and 20 drops of rosemary oil. I get my essential oils at Greenlife grocery – which is a division of Whole Foods. They have a health and beauty section off to the side.

Put the rice in the bag and sew it closed. Ta daa!

The smell will be very strong at first – keep it stored in a ziplock bag to help preserve it. After a couple of months it will seem like it’s lost its scent, but microwaving will bring it right out again.

Microwave at 1 – 1 1/2 minutes (depends on the strength of your microwave and how hot you like it) and lay it on your child’s (or your) chest. The warmth will help soothe a cough, and the aromatics will help clear a stuffy head. No stickiness needed. πŸ™‚

For extra comfort – sew up this rice bag cover.

Vicks-Scented Rice Bag - to ease a cough and sniffles without having to use the sticky stuff - a tutorial from Shiny Happy World

It’s a free pattern available over at Sew, Mama, Sew! – designed especially to fit the rice bag in the pattern. Sometimes having a special critter like this monster to help scare their cold away does as much good as the aromatics and the chicken soup. πŸ™‚

Happy sewing! And to everyone fighting the cold and flu this season – get well soon!




  1. Can’t wait to make these for my grandsons. Thank you so much for all you do.

  2. Becky PS SAYS...

    Great idea! I used to love Vapo-Rub when I was a kid.

  3. AW SAYS...

    Question: What are the best fabrics for making a hot pack? Any restrictions re: microwave?

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      I usually use quilting cottons, though I’m also used faux fur and satin without any problems. I recommend trying anything “weird” in the microwave before you use it to make a whole cover – just in case. πŸ™‚ I’m a big believer in testing.

    • ConnieZ SAYS...

      MUST be 100% cotton including thread

      • Actually I’ve used poly blend thread on these and synthetic fur and have never had any problems. You do need to be careful not to overheat a bag made with fur though. Every microwave is different so I can’t give a specific time or setting – but heat it up a bit at a time until you figure out what works best in your oven.

    • Alonda SAYS...

      cotton only

  4. Fiona SAYS...

    I commented earlier but it seems not to be visible, maybe you moderate? Anyway, was curious as to whether or not a specific type of rice needs to be used?


    • wendigratz SAYS...

      Nothing special – I just use whatever is super cheap in the grocery store.

  5. a SAYS...

    I just couldn’t depart your web site prior to
    suggesting that I actually loved the usual
    info a person provide on your visitors? Is going
    to be back regularly to inspect new posts

  6. where you get the color fur for the monster?

    • I got it from a shop on Etsy called Luxury Faux Fur. I’ve bought several from them in the past and I’ve been happy with every single one of them. πŸ™‚

  7. Melanie Shelton SAYS...

    What essential oils and how many drops do you use for your orange/cinnamon/clove rice bags?

    • I use about 20 drops of orange oil and mix in a few actual cloves and a cinnamon stick broken up into a few pieces.

  8. Darcy SAYS...

    Does the rice work well with essential oils?

  9. Anna SAYS...

    I don’t own a microwave, are there alternatives?

    • Sure – you could use a regular oven on low heat. You’ll need to do some experimenting to find the temp and time that work best for you.

  10. Cyndy SAYS...

    I use clean dried corn from the feed store to make these. It works really well and works well with the oils.

  11. Fran W SAYS...

    I had a small canvas bag for hobby lobby that has a zipper at the top. Works great! I painted a spray of eucalyptus leaves, added essential oil so eucalyptus,(respiratory) Peppermint (headache and uplifting) and a dash of lavender (calm and sleep aid). Smells wonderful!

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