How to Use a Vicks Vaporizer

A Vicks Vaporizer provides soothing relief from cold and flu symptoms by releasing medicated steam into the air. It soothes irritated nasal passages and relieves congestion while you sleep. Vicks Vaporizers are easy to use, but require a few steps to get them up and running. If you want medicated steam, be sure to buy a bottle of Vicks VapoSteam, which is sold separately from the vaporizer. If you prefer, you can use the vaporizer without the Vicks medication, but it will only produce regular steam.

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If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Remove your Vicks Vaporizer from the box and remove the tie twist around the cord. Unravel the cord. Do not plug in the Vicks Vaporizer at this time.

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Remove the steam unit on the top of the Vicks Vaporizer by grasping it and pulling it directly upwards. Set the steam unit aside for now.

Fill a pitcher with approximately 1.5 gallons of water for the 1.5 gallon Vicks Vaporizer (model V150SG) or approximately 1 gallon for the 1 gallon Vicks Vaporizer (model V100SG). Pour the water into the opening on the top of the Vicks Vaporizer where the steam unit used to sit before you removed it. On the front of your Vicks Vaporizer there is a line and the words "Water Level." Continue pouring water into the vaporizer until the water reaches the "Water Level" line. Do not pour water past this line.

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Add 1/8 teaspoon of regular table salt--about 4 to 5 small pinches--to the water in your 1.5 gallon Vicks Vaporizer if you have soft tap water. Add 2 to 3 small pinches of salt for the 1 gallon vaporizer. Soft water is characterized by low mineral content, while hard water has high mineral content. Your water softness will vary by region. If you do not know if you have hard or soft water, call your local Water Department.

Add Vicks VapoSteam to the water now if you want medicated steam. For the 1.5 gallon Vicks Vaporizer, add 6 tbsp. of VapoSteam directly into the water. For the 1 gallon Vicks Vaporizer, add 4 tbsp. of VapoSteam.

Put the steam unit back into the top of the Vicks Vaporizer and hold the unit down for 10 to 15 seconds to allow it to fill with water.

Place the vaporizer in a safe place on a waterproof and heat-resistant surface. Do not place the Vaporizer on carpet.

Plug the Vicks Vaporizer into a 110-120 AC outlet. The unit will turn on automatically. The vaporizer will begin emitting steam in approximately 2 to 3 minutes and will automatically stop emitting steam when the water level is less than 3/4 inch.

If you want to continue using your vaporizer after the steam stops, repeat steps 2 through 7, adding enough water to reach the "Water Level" line. If you are done using your vaporizer, unplug the unit from the wall.

Remove any remaining water in the vaporizer when you are done after allowing it to cool for at least half an hour. To remove the water, take out the steam unit and tip the vaporizer upside down over a sink. Shake it a few times to remove all the water.

Clean your vaporizer once a week by rinsing out the vaporizer base thoroughly with water and soaking the steam unit upright in a bowl filled with 3.5 inches of white vinegar.


It is safe to use medicated steam up to three times per day. Talk to your doctor before using medicated steam for children younger than 2 years old.


Remember that your Vaporizer will be hot when in use and immediately after you unplug it. Never put your face or hands close to the steam unit while it is releasing steam. Be careful of small children and the Vicks Vaporizer as burns can occur with hot steam vaporizers.