Clear a Stuffy Nose

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How to Clear a Stuffy Nose

A stuffy nose, otherwise known as a nasal congestion, sinus infection, or simply the sniffles, is caused by inflamed blood vessels in the membranes lining the inside of your nostrils due to either colds or allergies. While this can be life-threatening to newborns, for most adults, the condition is simply discomforting. However, there are many home and alternative remedies that might do the trick in clearing a stuffy nose.


Over-the-Counter (OTC) Drugs

  1. Determine the cause of nasal congestion. Are you experiencing congestion because of sickness and colds, or because of allergies?
  2. Choose an OTC drug. Consult with your pharmacist as to the best OTC product to relieve your congestion, and the proper way to use it. Pick according to the cause, according to what has worked for you in the past, and according to side effects you want to minimize, such as drowsiness. Another consideration is the amount of active ingredient in a dose, what it is, how often you take it. You could actually save yourself money by buying a drug that treats only nasal congestion instead of a multi-symptom cold relief drug, and by purchasing a 12 hour relief formula instead of doses that need to be taken every 4 hours. Some active ingredients serve in both allergy and cold relief applications.

Freezer and Cold Therapy

  1. Stick your head into the freezer and breath in from your nose, out from your mouth. Do this for a minute or so. Repeat occasionally.
  2. Alternatively, you could also get an ice cube, place it in an ice bag or wrap it in a towel, then place it on the most comfortable part of your nose.
  3. You can also soak a washcloth in cold water, then place it over your nose while lying down. It should unclog your nose soon enough.

Hair Dryer

  1. Breathe in through your nose while pointing your hair dryer at your face. The idea here is to breathe the hottest air that you can comfortably tolerate. Similar to being in a sauna without raising your core body temperature, this localized "fever" may just kill off the offensive germs.


  1. Get a bowl of steaming or hot water.
  2. Inhale the steam slowly.
  3. Try mixing in essential oils such as menthol, eucalyptus, or tea tree oil for improved results.
  4. Alternatively, try slowly sipping hot water or tea with a bit of lemon in it, keeping your nose close to the cup.
  5. Try taking a warm shower as well, to let the steam help clear your nose.

Neti Pot

  1. Use a neti pot. This is a form of personal home remedy called "nasal irrigation" which can be as simple as snorting water from cupped hands. Though it is relatively less known in Western countries, it is common in parts of India and other parts of South Asia.

Tiger Balm

  1. Purchase a product such as Tiger Balm, which is high in menthol and camphor. Vicks VapoRub also works, but Tiger Balm is much better.
  2. Rub generously on nasal area of face and/or on chest/throat, if that is affected. Tiger Balm may cause skin to sting a bit or turn red, but there is no real harm done.

Monkey Bomb

  1. You can get this at an asian market . It is very strong . It helps stomache ache and helps keep your nose clear with it's stong scent . Similar to Tiger Bomb and Vapor Rubs .

Nasal Spray

  1. Try using different nasal sprays to relieve a stuffy nose. The mist works really well and doesn't go down your throat. You can find these at grocery stores, and drug stores too. However, keep in mind that these are for very short term use only, since you can become dependent on them with prolonged use.

Sense of Smell

  1. Place drops of essential oils, such as peppermint, eucalyptus & rosemary, on a handkerchief to take with you.
  2. Place a drop of peppermint oil on a Q-tip, and rub it on just the lower-inside part of your nose. It might sting if you have been blowing your nose a lot, but it will help for a while.
  3. Find some skunk cabbage, cut it, then breathe the smell in.
  4. Open a jar of dill pickles. Sniff the fumes.
  5. Try using horse radish. Breathe in the smell of a fresh jar, or alternately, place a small spoonful in your mouth.
  6. Boil some vinegar, then lean over and smell the fumes. Be careful, as it is sharp and rather intense, but quite effective.

Holding Your Breath

  1. Breathe out through your nose.
  2. Hold your breath for as long as you comfortably can. However, around 5 seconds should be okay.
  3. Breathe in through your nose. It should feel unblocked.
  4. Blow your nose into a tissue.
  5. Repeat every so often for relief.

Blowing Against Pressure

  1. Place a tissue underneath your nose. The nostril should be blocked by your tissue completely.
  2. Press your palm hard against your nose, and then blow out of your nose for about 5 or 6 seconds.
  3. Remove the tissue from under your nose.
  4. Breathe in slowly through your nose.

Root of Nose, Roof of Mouth

  1. Push gently at the point between your eyebrows and root of nose. It is the point where the bone from forehead dips a bit to form the root of the nose.
  2. Now release and push the roof of your mouth with your tongue.
  3. Repeat a few times.


  1. Do a handstand for as long as you can. Your sinuses should then unblock. Optionally, lie belly down on a bed with your waist at the edge of the bed. Allow your head to rest on or near the floor.


  1. Try going for a run. Your body will clear your sinuses (at least temporarily) so that you can get more oxygen to your blood.


  1. Start at the top of the stairs. Run down as fast as you can. Once you are down, run back up. Do this a couple of times- until you feel relief. The changes in pressure (although almost unnoticeable, do affect your sinuses).

Chewing Gum

  1. Chew a bit of chewing gum, preferably something mint flavored.
    If you have braces, don't chew gum, it can become stuck and removing it can also pull out brackets which are fairly expensive to replace and require a visit to your orthodontist.

Sense of Taste

  1. Eat something spicy or hot. This will cause the mucus build-up in your sinuses to to thin out, and to run down your nose. Hot, spicy soup or spicy chili are good choices for this, and in the end, these will unblock your nose.

Car Window Method

  1. Roll down the car windows when driving. This may be less comfortable than having the air-conditioning or heating turned on, but it will usually only take a few minutes of fast-moving air to unclog your nose, after which you can close the windows again.


  1. Buy Vicks VapoRub. and rub it on your nostriels The menthol and medicine will sink into your nose and make it easier to breathe.


  • Most of the methods listed above are not medical advice, but are home remedies. Use them with caution.
  • Contrary to popular belief, running or exercising while you have the common cold will not make you more sick or prolong your sickness, given that you do not have other medical conditions. Also, do these with caution and within your limits.[1]
  • The use of the neti pot is not advisable for people with flu.
  • Be careful when using steam or a steam inhaler, as boiling steam can cause nasty scalds.
  • When holding your breath, do not hold it for longer than you feel comfortable with, or you could end up in a dodgy position.

Related Tips and Steps

Sources and Citations


Put Vicks on your pillow at night before you go to bed.