My family and I recently got over a long bought with an irritating cough. It was miserable, but thankfully we had some natural options to help us through.
We used a honey onion syrup as well as a steam vaporizer to help calm our coughing every night.
Now like I mentioned in my article on using steam vaporizers for cough and congestion, there are several options you have to boost their effects… one of which is using essential oils. This time around we placed some essential oils straight into the medicine cup and you could definitely smell it, but my vaporizer also had a place to insert menthol pads that also helped to get that smell into the air. This got me curious. Do these things really work to help you breath better, and what’s in the store-bought variety.
Well, like most store-bought things, I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the ingredients in them, and I knew I could make them cheaper and healthier on my own. So today, I’m going to show you how to make your own DIY menthol pads for your steam vaporizers, and I’m also gonna let you in on how menthol works to help your breath better.
How To Make DIY Menthol Pads For Steam Vaporizers
First you’ll need the following:
- 100% wool felt – (sources: sample bag, organic & plant dyed, by the yard, smaller amounts)
- carrier oil – I used sunflower oil, but any will work
- essential oils – I used eucalyptus oil and camphor oil, but rosemary and peppermint contain menthol too.
UPDATE: I no longer use craft felt for this as it contains plastics and chemicals. See the sources above for pure wool felts.
Cut a 1-inch strip from the side of the felt. Next cut each strip into 2-inch sections. You should get around 4 pads from each strip of felt you cut and they should each roughly measure 1×2 inches.
Find a small bowl and add 1 tsp. of your carrier oil to it. I used sunflower oil in mine. Next add your essentials oils to your carrier oil. The amount isn’t critical just so long as it smells nice and strong to you. I used 5 drops of eucalyptus and 10 drops of camphor, but you can do whatever you’d like.
This amount of essential oil to carrier oil is much higher than you’d use if you were putting this on your skin. Its sole purpose is to be strong for aromatic purposes only. It’s not for topical use.
Lastly put your pads into your oil mixture and allow them to absorb the oils. I got 3 pads loaded with the amount of oil I made which was more than enough to get us through one night. You could always make more and store them in your glass jar until you need them, but I wouldn’t recommend storing them in anything plastic as essential oils tend to react to plastics.
You can dispose of the pads after each use or reuse them if you’d like. It’s up to you. The great thing about this is that these pads are simple and easy to make so you can make then whenever you need them.
How Does This Help?
I wondered this exact same thing because there’s a lot of speculation out there over whether or not menthol actually opens the sinuses and helps you breath better. It’s known to cool the skin and provide relief for itching and pain, but does it actually open the sinuses when a person is congested?
Well, unfortunately, there’s no hard evidence to say that, “yes, it does help to open the sinuses,” but people do say it works. How it works isn’t known for sure. Maybe it just makes you feel like you can breath better due to it cooling the skin. I don’t know. All I know is that when I’m congested, I want my vaporizer and some sort of menthol. It can be a vapor rub, menthol in the medicine cup or water, or these handy little menthol pads. No matter, if I feel like I can breath better, I’m a happy camper!
UPDATE: Use caution when using menthol essential oils around children under 6 years old. Some children can experience decreased respiration.