Clearing Congestion with Menthol Vapors

Clearing Congestion with Menthol Vapors

Watching my kids suffer through a cold is just one of the hardest things. If there’s any upside to ailments such strep throat or ear infections is that at least there are antibiotics that fix things pretty quickly. But there’s no easy fix for a cold. The recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics have been so mixed lately on the usefulness of decongestants, that they have been no help at all. I generally avoid them. This is where homeopathic remedies come most into play in my household. For the scratchy throat we have honey lemon tea; for the scratchy eyes we have warm, moist washcloths; for the coughs we have humidifiers. For the congestion we have Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint or Eucalyptus Castile soap.

There are two ways to go about this. If they are really young, go with a warm bath – as warm as they can take it – with a good squirt or two of the liquid Peppermint castile soap. The Eucalyptus has some of the same menthol effect as well. Don’t turn on the bathroom vent; let the room get good and steamy. Let them sit in there as long as the water is warm, taking some washcloths and soaking them in the water and laying them over their backs and chests. If they’re old enough, encourage them to blow their noses gently to add to the clearing.

If your children are older and can sit still for several minutes together, here is a remedy that my grandfather himself partook of. Pour hot, steamy water into a bowl. (Do not do this over boiling water, which is too hot and can cause burns.) Add a squirt of liquid peppermint or eucalyptus soap. Have the child lean over the bowl and drape a towel over his or her head and breathe deeply. If you’ve ever given yourself a facial, this is the exact same technique. The nasal passages will open up and drain out.

Then bundle them up nice and warm and send them to bed. A little of the Organic Magic Balm around the nose will help heal any irritation or chap from frequent nose blowing. Prop them up if they’re old enough to keep the drainage coming out the nose and not back down the throat and into the lungs.

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candy Miller says:

Dear Health /Healing friends,

Because of a dream I had March 17, 2020 I wonder if peppermint soap /oil is being considered to counter covid -19 ? Do you know people that may want to check this out? or are already?

My Dream 3/17 :
While soaking in a bathtub of water with STRONG PEPPERMINT SMELL. I rub my navel area.
( end of dream)

I googled Dr. Bonner peppermint liquid soap, the soap I use, but not for bathtub soak.
I saw various health benefits of peppermint soap and peppermint oil
as well as significance of the navel area.

At first I thought the Lord was suggesting I soak in bathwater with peppermint soap,
but my experience is, I get dreams with a broader application, not only for me .

I have been praying for God to release solutions for this epidemic to stop.

Candy MIller,

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Candy- You are certainly in sync with an important component of all germ prevention: Hand washing. In this, the Peppermint Castile is the perfect ally. Wash hands often, for 20 seconds and then rinse thoroughly and dry. Furthermore, to help prevent the spread of germs on household surfaces, the CDC recommends a two-step process of cleaning then disinfecting. For cleaning, they are recommending a general household cleaner or detergent and water prior to the second step of disinfection. The Peppermint Castile can be made into a household cleaning spray by combining ¼ c. of the Castile in 1 qt. of water in a spray bottle, with an optional 20 drops of Tea Tree essential oil. Detergents and soaps, including our Pure-Castile Soap and Sal Suds, work effectively by attaching to dirt, germs, and grime and rinsing them away, leaving clean surfaces behind. Beyond these measures, ingesting the soap would not be beneficial in countering the effects of COVID. Although a good bath with peppermint soap is great at relieving stress!

For more information about disinfectants visit the CDC’s website:

Missy says:

I use strickly Dr. Bonner’s Soap from head to toes! but only on blackheads on my face it is WATER Only. Commercial products caise wrinkles. Skin a tad bit dry use coconut oil rinse in warm water followed by cool water. I am eldery and wrinkle free. Now, if I could figure out a way to STOP blackheads from returning my nose… For Exema; try NOXEMA Cream for itchy skin; Bio Freeze is a blessing for insect bites and silvia. To refresh eyes use a clean eye cup then catch fresh urine and wash your eyes and an embeded sliver is a piece of cake… tape a copper penny and tape it onto the splinter and ware it and before long remove the copper penny and it will be gone.
Simple things in life made easy and free. For the curious and serious do a word search on “urine therapy and old fashioned remedies.”
Most of all share your knowledge and remember vinegar white and regular cheap and works wonders for humans and beasts alike.

Edith says:

I will be going into labor soon and I plan on taking a humidifier to the hospital as I am doing natural delivery. Is it possible to use the peppermint and or lavender Castile soap in a humidifier for aromatherapy purposes?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Edith- Congrats on the upcoming arrival of your little one! It would be better to use essential oils in your humidifier, but refer to the manual to be sure that oils won’t have an adverse effect. I don’t see the benefit of using soap in a humidifier.

Reese says:

Is it just the peppermint oil/eucalyptus oil in the soap which is working to aid decongestion or is there something else in the soap itself which is being inhaled?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Reese- It is the essential oils in the soap that help alleviate congestion, and not the soap itself.

Jenny says:

Hi Lisa,

I’m curious, can you use the castile soap to wash your car?

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jenny- The best option for car washing is Dr. Bronner’s Sal Suds Biodegradable Cleaner. Castile soap reacts with minerals in hard water leaving behind a harmless white precipitate of mineral residue. This is particularly noticeable on shiny surfaces, such as a car. Sal Suds doesn’t react with minerals at all, and leaves cars very shiny. Here’s a blog post on car washing:

Dilutions Cheat Sheet for Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap says:

[…] Clearing Congestion with Peppermint Castile Soap (or Eucalyptus) […]

The Only Soap You Really Need – A Challenged Minimalist says:

[…] Read Post: “Clearing Congestion with Peppermint Pure-Castile Soap” […]

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Michelle – I wouldn’t try to put a baby over the steaming bowl, but when my kids had colds as babies (so not fun), I would go into my smallest bathroom and fill the bath tub or sink with steaming hot water and peppermint soap and then just sit in the bathroom with the baby for a while.

Sylvie D'Orazio says:

Hello Lisa,

This is my first time buying the Castile soap. Can the Dr. Bronner peppermint soap be used to wash fruits and household items as well??? Or is it for specific uses only??

Awaiting your for your feedback!


Janet says:

Hello Lisa, I decided one day to try it in place of toothpaste and to my surprise it’s a great alternative. one day when I was in hurry I used a drop of my lavender pump soap. it had kinda of a sweet taste to it. My favorites are the rose, Lavender and peppermint. I carry a 4oz bottle I bought from the Dr. Bronner’s site that I refill. if a place does not have any soap at least I do. I also like that after using the soap in place of the toothpaste my mouth is not left feeling dry. toothpaste must have drying agents. I also used the peppermint liquid soap on my teeth. And I love the

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Laura – I do not recommend putting the soap in a neti pot or any other sinus rinsing device. It would be very irritating and hard to rinse out. Our nasal passages are very sensitive to any foreign matter. Stick with the salt solutions that are made for this purpose. When I have a cold, I double the amount of salt, which is pretty intense and eye-watering, but seems to get things cleared out of there.

All the best,

Laura says:

Hi Lisa,

Have you ever heard of adding the eucalyptus soap to a saline neti solution for nasal irrigation?

jessie says:

This is recommended now, for prevention of Covid-19. The latest research said to put 1/2tsp of baby shampoo into an 8oz. neti pot and rinse. The soap helps in the exact same way that it does for washing your hands. It loosens up foreign materials and germs and makes them slippery, so that you can blow it all out. I was curious if Dr. B’s would work for this purpose, as opposed to J&J. I might try it, but just Dr.B’s Baby. I’m don’t think peppermint or eucalyptus oil would be beneficial for the tender tissue of the sinus.

Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Jessie- I know how much we all are taking extra care these days to keep ourselves and surroundings clean. I would request, though, that you run this idea by a medical professional. We ourselves do not advise using the soap internally. As you indicate, it can irritate sensitive tissues, especially if it is not fully rinsed out.

Lisa Bronner says:

Catanya & Sarah – I don’t recommend putting the soaps in humidifiers. Some issues are that you’ll end up coating whatever room with soap, which attracts dirt. Over time this could be really bad. Another problem is that if you have a wicking humdifier, the soap might interfere with this process. Perhaps, though, you could add pure peppermint essential oil to the water to have that natural menthol effect.

All the best,

Catanya says:

Can you dilute the castile soaps in the humidifier? Or do they bubble too much…?

Sarah Z says:

I’m also curious to know if you can use with a humidifier. Did you ever receive any feedback?

Lisa Bronner says:

Thanks, Sheila! Me, too. When I’m dragging out of bed some mornings, the peppermint soap is what I reach for.

All the best,

Sheila says:

I use the peppermint DR. BRONNER’S FOR MY SHAMPOO and body wash in the shower, its great for aroma therapy. I’ve never felt so invigerated after a shower before! This stuff is great!

Lisa Bronner says:

@Mary – As you probably know, the peppermint is pretty tingly and intense. I don’t yet use it directly on my 19 month old. However, I would use it in the bath water to help ease congestion. Depending on the sensitivity of the baby’s skin, I would use it as early as he or she can sit up steadily in the tub. It really works.


Lisa Bronner says:

Hi Weston,

I’m not on Twitter. I’ll have to look into that one. Thanks for reading!


Weston Marines says:

Hey! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if that would be ok. I’m definitely enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates.

About Lisa Bronner

My grandfather was Dr. Bronner, my family makes soap, and I share ways to use it plus tips on greener living.

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