Vicks in a Wax Tart Warmer Congestion Experiment

Vicks in a Wax Tart Warmer Congestion Experiment

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When that time of year comes when stuffy noses start to creep in, it’s time to recall when we did a little congestion experiment and tested the popular Vicks in a wax tart warmer suggestion that can be found plastered all over Pinterest.

My kids are, and always have been, crazy for Vicks. According to them, Vicks is the miracle cure for everything. If they could eat it with a spoon, they probably would.

On the other hand, I don’t much care for Vicks. Actually, I don’t like it at all. The smell makes me crazy and the greasy texture gives me the willies. I don’t like lotion, and Vicks is pretty much lotion on overdrive.

Keep it away. Please.

However, I am crazy for wax tart warmers. They help me to make the house smell lovely in the midst of living with adolescent males.

Tart warmers and I are totally BFF. We hang out. A lot.

Enough said.

So as the winter Yuck crept upon us and noses were stuffed beyond un-stuffing, I thought about the congestion experiment I’d seen on Pinterest that suggested using Vicks in a tart warmer to help relieve nasal congestion.

For the sake of science, y’all, I sacrificed. For science!

Pinterest told us that Vicks in a wax tart warmer would relieve congestion, so we did a little congestion experiment. Did it work? Let my son tell you.

The congestion experiment: setting it up

As the story goes, a tablespoon of water and a tablespoon of Vicks in your ‘lil tart warmer will fill the air with the magical decongestant powers of eucalyptus vapors.

In the name of science, I moved one of my tart warmers into my youngest son’s room and placed a tablespoon of both water and Vicks upon it.

I turned the warmer on and let the magic do it’s thing.

My son fell asleep about 9 pm.

The congestion experiment: does it work?


At 1:30 am, my youngest awoke me to announce that, “that stupid Pinterest idea doesn’t work.”

Oh, and, “can I please have something to actually unplug my nose?”

I thought he was just being crabby. Because having a cold will do that to a person.

I walked into his room, fully expecting to be greeted by the aroma of Vicks. I had not yet caught the winter Yuck the boys were suffering from, so I should have been able to smell Vicks.

But there was nothing. At all.

Until I got right over the tart warmer.

For reals.

The congestion experiment: our verdict

Our 1:30 am verdict on this Pinterest based congestion experiment was that unless you want to fall asleep snuggling the tart warmer/Vicks contraption right under your nose, you’re probably not going to get any worthwhile congestion relief from it.

It did not fill the air with the magical decongestant powers of eucalyptus vapors.

It did not, I say.

Take it from me. I hate the smell of Vicks, and I can pick up that smell from a mile away. There was nothing magical or helpful about this Vicks in a tart warmer set-up.

Congestion experiment? Fail.

Congestion experiment clean up? Ugh.


As an aside from the mom in me: have you ever tried to wash Vicks off of something plastic or ceramic?

Vicks is like bacon grease mixed with Vaseline mixed with glue. Don’t ever add this to your dishes to-do list if you don’t have to.

We have found we get the most from our Vicks by simply rubbing it on the congested person’s chest or feet.

I know. We’re kind of old school and unexciting.

Actual congestion experiments that have worked for us

If you’re wondering about some things that have actually worked for our family (and friends) to relieve congestion when it hits:

We really dig peppermint, thieves or RC essential oils.

We’ve started making a lovely little recipe called Fire Cider. (No, Fire Cider does not contain alcohol. Yes, it is spicy.) It uses the power of garlic, horseradish, ginger, and other goodies to open your sinuses right up! Some folks say that if you take a bit of it everyday, it will act as a preventative to various Yucks.

I have friends who swear by Homemade Elderberry syrup. Have you tried that?

Remember, self care doesn’t have to be complicated. The Sparrow’s Home reminds us there are lots of simple things you can do when cold symptoms set in. Forgetful Momma also talks about the cold and flu essentials she keeps around.

Have you tried any congestion experiments? What’s your tried-and-true way of dealing with the congestion of Winter Yuck?

Pinterest told us that Vicks in a wax tart warmer would relieve congestion, so we did a little congestion experiment. Did it work? Let my son tell you.

Tired of the sugarcoated version of homeschooling? Read my book The Homeschool Highway: How to Navigate Your Way Without Getting Carsick.


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