How to Clear a Stuffy Nose?

A stuffy nose can be pretty frustrating, affecting your day-to-day activities. Many people think nasal congestion is due to the accumulation of mucus in the nasal passage, but even if you clean the nasal passage, you may not feel better. A stuffy nose happens due to the inflammation of blood vessels in the sinuses that you usually notice during a cold, flu, allergy, or sinus infection.

This article includes tips and recommendations to clear up a stuffy nose and also provides ways to reduce inflammation in the sinus area.

Method 1: Use a Humidifier

A humidifier can help reduce sinusitis and allergy symptoms and clear a stuffy nose. It ranges from inexpensive steam ones to expensive whole-house systems. Whole house humidifiers humidify your entire house and are installed by HVAC professionals. It is connected directly to your water lines.

Meanwhile, you can also try some quality humidifiers such as impellers, evaporators, and ultrasonic units. A steam humidifier works really well, but whether it works against sinus issues is not yet medically confirmed.

Remember only to use distilled water in your humidifier, as the minerals in tap water can irritate your nose. Clean the humidifier daily, and if it has a filter, change the filter regularly.

Keep the humidity level within 30-50 percent; anything beyond that will induce the growth of bacteria and mold inside the house, further exacerbating your health condition.

Methods 2: Take Medications

Over-the-counter medications can help provide relief from nasal congestion and sinus infection. Make sure to talk with a doctor regarding options for antihistamines and decongestants.


Decongestants help in reducing swelling and ease the pain of an irritated nasal pathway. They are available in nasal sprays and pills. Some common decongestant sprays include oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Sinex), and pills include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Sudogest).

Remember not to use a decongestant for more than three days, as it can worsen the stuffiness.

Antihistamines or allergy medication

Antihistamines are allergy medications to relieve nasal congestion caused by an allergic reaction.

It is usually combined with a decongestant to relieve the sinus pressure and swelling caused by allergic reactions.

Before taking this medication, make sure your nose is stuffed due to an allergy reaction. Antihistamines can make you drowsy- it's better not to drive or operate heavy machinery.

Method 3: Take a Hot Shower

The steam from a hot shower can thin the mucus in your nose and also helps in reducing inflammation, and make you breathe easily.

Step 1 − Turn on the hot water in your bathroom.

Step 2 − Wrap your head with a towel and bring your head over the sink.

Step 3 − Wait for the steam to build and inhale the steam in deep breaths.

Method 4: Stay hydrated

Take optimum water or fluids whenever you feel a fever or cold. Increasing hydration levels liquidate or thin out the mucus in your nasal passage, allowing them to leave the nose. It also decreases the pressure in your sinuses, resulting in less inflammation and irritation.

Take some warm liquids or tea to ease the discomfort of your sore throat.

Method 5: Use a Neti Pot

You can clean your sinuses using a neti pot to flush mucus and fluids from your nasal passage. FDA recommends using distilled or sterile water instead of tap water.

Step 1 − Stand with your head over the sink.

Step 2 − Put the pot's spout in one of your nostrils.

Step 3 − Tilt the pot to let water enter your nasal passage and exit the other nose.

Step 4 − Do it for 1 minute and switch to the other nostril.

Method 6: Perform a Saline Irrigation

Also known as a saline flush, saline irrigation washes the mucus and irritants from your nose, moisturizes your nose, and reduces sinus pressure. Studies have shown saline irrigation to improve cell function to make the mucus move better.

Step 1 − Use a clean one-quartz glass jar.

Step 2 − Use a large medical 30cc syringe. Make sure to sterilize or replace the syringe every 2-3 weeks to rule out contamination and infection.

Step 3 − Make the solution by adding 1 or 1.5 teaspoons of pickling or canning salt to distilled water. Do not use table salt as they contain additives. Don't use plain tap water as it contains minerals that could irritate your nasal passage.

Step 4 − Add one teaspoon of baking soda (pure bicarbonate) and mix the ingredients. You must store the solution at room temperature and discard it after one week. Alternatively, you can make a saline solution using premixed packets available online or at the pharmacy.

Step 5 − Bend over the skin and squirt the solution on one side of your nostril, ensuring the solution flow from one nostril and come out from the other. It's normal if some solution accidentally flows into your mouth. Spit it out, or even if you swallow a little bit, it won't harm you.

Step 6 − Repeat the process once again in one day. Make sure not to exceed the process two times a day.

Method 7: Use a Warm Compress

A warm compress can help open the nasal passage and provide relief against nasal congestion.

Step 1 − Soak a towel in warm water.

Step 2 − Squeeze the water from the towel.

Step 3 − Fold the towel in a square shape with enough room to cover your nose and forehead.

Step 4 − Place it over your nose and forehead until you feel comfortable.

Step 5 − Repeat the process whenever required.

Updated on: 15-May-2023


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