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If your sinus symptoms don’t improve after 10 days or they get worse, see a doctor. This could be a sign of a more serious infection that may require a prescription.
How to Do a Sinus Flush at Home
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A saltwater sinus flush is a safe and simple remedy for nasal congestion and sinus irritation that just about anyone can do at home.
A sinus flush, also called nasal irrigation, is usually done with saline, which is just a fancy term for salt water. When rinsed through your nasal passages, saline can wash away allergens, mucus, and other debris, and help to moisten the mucous membranes.
Some people use a device called a neti pot to help deliver the salt water to the nasal cavities, but you can also use squeeze bottles or bulb syringes.
A sinus flush is generally safe. However, there are a few important safety instructions to be aware of before you try it.
The first step is to create a saline solution. Typically, this is done by mixing warm, sterile water with pure salt, known as sodium chloride, to create an isotonic solution.
While you can create your own saline solution at home, it’s recommended that you purchase over-the-counter premixed saline packets.
It’s crucial to use sterile water for this step. This is due to the risk of a serious infection with a parasitic amoeba called Naegleria fowleri. Once this amoeba enters the sinuses, it makes its way to the brain and causes a fatal infection.
You can sterilize your water by boiling it for a minute and then allowing it to cool.
To clear your sinuses, follow these steps:
- Stand with your head over a sink or in the shower and tilt your head to one side.
- Using a squeeze bottle, bulb syringe, or neti pot, pour or squeeze the saline solution slowly into the upper nostril.
- Allow the solution to pour out your other nostril and into the drain. Breathe through your mouth, not your nose, at this time.
- Repeat on the opposite side.
- Try not to let the water go down the back of your throat. You may need to adjust your head position until you find the correct angle.
- Gently blow your nose into a tissue when you’re done to clear out any mucus.
If you’ve recently had sinus surgery, resist the urge to blow your nose for four to seven days following the procedure.
A sinus flush carries a small risk of infection and other side effects, but these risks can be easily avoided by following a few simple safety rules:
- Wash your hands before the sinus flush.
- Don’t use tap water. Instead use distilled water, filtered water, or water that’s been previously boiled.
- Clean out your neti pot, bulb, or squeeze bottle with hot, soapy, and sterile water or run it through the dishwasher after each use. Allow it to dry completely.
- Avoid using cold water, especially if you’ve just had sinus surgery. For people who recently had surgery for chronic sinusitis, there’s a risk of developing bony growths in the nose called paranasal sinus exostoses (PSE) if you use a cold solution.
- Avoid using very hot water.
- Throw away the saline solution if it appears cloudy or dirty.
- Don’t perform nasal irrigation on infants.
- Don’t do a saline flush if you have a facial wound that hasn’t healed or neurologic or musculoskeletal problems that put you at a higher risk of accidentally breathing in the liquid.
As mentioned above, failing to use sterile water carries a small risk of infection with a dangerous parasite called Naegleria fowleri. Symptoms of an infection with this parasite include:
- severe headache
- stiff neck
- altered mental status
Boiling your water for at least a minute and then allowing it to cool before mixing in the salt should be sufficient to kill the parasite and prevent infection.
If done properly, a sinus flush shouldn’t cause any major side effects. Though you may experience some mild effects, including:
- stinging in the nose
- sensation of ear fullness
- nosebleeds, though this is rare
If you find that a sinus flush is particularly uncomfortable, try lowering the amount of salt in the solution.
Keep in mind that some bloody nasal discharge may occur for a few weeks following a sinus surgery. This is normal and should improve over time.
Several studies have shown evidence of the effectiveness of nasal irrigation for treating both acute and chronic sinusitis, as well as allergies.
Doctors most often recommend using saline irrigation for chronic sinusitis. In one study , patients with chronic sinus symptoms who used saline irrigation once per day reported a 64 percent improvement in overall symptom severity, and significant improvement in quality of life after six months.
Research supporting the use of saline flush to treat allergies or the common cold is less definitive. One recent review of clinical trials in people with allergic rhinitis found that while using a saline solution appeared to improve symptoms compared to not using a saline flush, the quality of evidence was low, and further research is needed.
It’s fine to do a sinus flush occasionally if you’re experiencing a bout of nasal congestion from a cold or allergies.
Start with one irrigation per day while you have nasal congestion or other sinus symptoms. You can repeat the irrigation up to three times per day if you feel that it is helping your symptoms.
Some people continue to use it to prevent sinus issues even when they don’t have symptoms. However, some doctors warn that regular use of nasal irrigation may actually increase the risk of sinus infection. Routine use may also hinder some protective features of the mucus membrane lining the nasal passages and sinuses.
More research is needed to clarify any long-term side effects of regular saline flushes. At the moment, it’s probably best to limit use to when you’re experiencing sinus symptoms, or to ask for your doctor’s advice.
If your sinus symptoms don’t improve after 10 days or they get worse, see a doctor. This could be a sign of a more serious infection that may require a prescription.
You should also see a doctor if you experience the following symptoms along with sinus congestion, pressure, or irritation:
- fever of 102°F (38.9°C) or higher
- increased greenish or bloody nasal discharge
- mucus with a strong odor
- changes in vision
A sinus flush, which is also called nasal or saline irrigation, is a simple method for gently flushing out your nasal passages with a salt solution.
A sinus flush can be effective at relieving nasal congestion and irritation, caused by a sinus infection, allergies, or a cold.
It’s generally safe as long as you follow instructions, especially making sure to use sterile water and to avoid using cold water if you’ve recently had sinus surgery.
Last medically reviewed on January 28, 2019
How we reviewed this article:
Healthline has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.
- Haffey T, et al. (2012). Paranasal sinus exostoses: An unusual complication of topical drug delivery using cold nasal irrigations. DOI:
- Head K, et al. (2018). Saline irrigation for allergic rhinitis. DOI:
- Is rinsing your sinuses with neti pots safe? (2017).
- Rabago D, et al. (2009). Saline nasal irrigation for upper respiratory conditions.
- Safe neti pot use: 3 tips. (2014).
- Saline nasal irrigation for sinus problems. (2009).
- Siddiqui R, et al. (2014). Primary amoebic meningoencephalitis caused by Naegleria fowleri: An old enemy presenting new challenges. DOI:
- Sinus surgery. (n.d.).
7 Effective Ways to Clear Your Sinuses
Sinus congestion causes headaches and breathing difficulties. Do you know how to clear your sinuses? Take note of these tips!
Last update: 06 December, 2022
For the respiratory process to take place, it’s necessary to be able to breathe in and breathe out well. However, this isn’t always possible if our sinuses or congested or inflamed. It can be difficult to clear sinuses, but fortunately, there are some natural remedies that can help.
The sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull. They’re located behind the forehead, nose bones, cheeks, and eyes. One of their main functions is to produce the mucus that drains through the nose.
When they’re healthy and they don’t contain bacteria or other microorganisms, the mucus can flow without interruption and the air can exit without difficulty. However, sometimes they can become swollen or inflamed and the functioning of the nose is interrupted. The most common reasons for this are viral or bacterial infections, allergies, a deviated nasal septum, or polyps in the nose.
The usual symptoms are nasal swelling, thick and colorless discharge (runny nose), stuffy or congested nose, and a reduced sense of smell and taste. Pain around the cheeks, nose, eyes, or forehead may also occur.
To alleviate these discomforts and the difficulty of breathing through the nose, some remedies can be applied. So, how can you help clear your sinuses naturally at home?
Pay attention to the following indications.
Tips to clear sinuses
To begin with, you should know that there is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of all these remedies . For this reason, it’s best to consult your doctor first before using them.
It’s not necessary to use antibiotics to treat most cases of sinusitis. In fact, antibiotics should only be used when prescribed by a professional. Fortunately, the symptoms of most sinus problems usually improve within a few days. In the meantime, these remedies can be applied to help relieve pain and pressure.
1. Clear sinuses with a salt wash
The excess flow in the sinuses tends to worsen during the night. To prevent this discomfort, it’s recommended that you perform a nasal rinse with water and salt before going to sleep. This will help cleanse the area and reduce inflammation.
In fact, according to this study by the Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, scientists have found that saline nasal irrigation can improve the quality of life of patients with acute and chronic sinusitis, rhinoconjunctivitis, and rhinitis.
Here’s how to do it.
What you’ll need:
- 3 teaspoons of salt (15 grams)
- 1 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate (5 grams)
- 1 cup of distilled or boiled water (250 milliliters)
- A rubber dropper or baster
How to make it:
- First, add the salt to the distilled water and mix very well.
- Then, add the baking soda and stir again.
- You should end up with a colorless mixture.
How to use it:
- Just fill the dropper or baster halfway.
- Then, tilt your head to the left and inhale through your mouth.
- Pour the solution slowly into the right nostril and wait for it to come out of the left nostril.
- If you feel the solution drifting into your ears or throat, change position.
- Repeat with the left nostril.
- Finally, blow your nose well to remove debris and accumulated mucus.
We think you may also like to read this article: Three Natural Remedies that May Help Clear Your Sinuses
2. Clear sinuses with steam
Steam works as a natural cleanser and moisturizer. It also drains the affected area and allows stiff areas to relax.
How to do it:
- To begin, bring some water to a boil or turn on the hot faucet to release the steam.
What to do:
- Bring your face close so that it hits your face.
- Then, inhale and exhale slowly to cleanse the area.
- Do this for 5 minutes.
- Finally, wet a towel and place it on your face to clear the sinuses.
- Wait until it cools to remove it.
You may also enjoy reading this article: Symptoms of Sinusitis in Children and Treatment
3. Try a massage with oils to clear sinuses
One of the most effective therapeutic oils is oregano oil. In fact, it has highly recommended antioxidant properties, according to this study
When combined with almond oil , the result is much better because it moisturizes the skin, keeps the area moisturized, and helps with the penetration of oregano oil (which should never be applied directly to the skin or inside the nostrils).
What you’ll need:
- 1 tablespoon of almond oil (15 grams)
- 2 drops of oregano oil
How to make it:
- First of all, it’s important to wash your hands and face very well.
- Then, mix the almond oil with the 2 drops of oregano oil.
How to use it:
- Put the mixture in your hands and gently rub the area over and around your sinuses.
- While making circular movements in the area, inhale and exhaleslowly so you can absorb the essence of the oils and their properties.
- Do this for 5 minutes and you will notice that your breathing will improve.
4. Hot compresses
Applying hot compresses to the nose and forehead area can also help relieve sinus pressure. They can be applied three times a day for 5 minutes each.
5. Use a humidifier to clear your sinuses
This is one of the quickest ways to get relief from a stuffy nose. Breathing more humid air can soothe irritated tissues and reduce swelling in the blood vessels.
Likewise, these types of machines also allow mucus to flow more easily so you can cough it up faster.
6. Drink plenty of fluids
Hydration is important to help drain and expel accumulated mucus. In addition, the mucous membranes will stay hydrated and be less sensitive this way. To do this, it’s best to choose water, broths, hot infusions, or tea.
Also, blowing your nose and expelling mucus will eliminate viruses or bacteria that may have caused the problem. Do this gently to avoid breaking small blood vessels.
Finally, the skin around the nostrils may also become irritated. This can be relieved by applying a little almond oil or petroleum jelly.
7. Sleep in an elevated position to clear sinuses
Keeping your head elevated at bedtime is also another common sinus-clearing tip. It’s important to rest to help the body overcome the infection and recover.
In addition, your bedroom and the rest of the house should be well ventilated and clean to prevent problems from dust and dust mites. It’s also important to avoid closed environments and areas with cigarette smoke or pollution.
Try these home remedies to help clear sinuses
As we’ve already mentioned all these natural cures can help you improve inflammation and the pain caused by sinus congestion. However, they can never replace the treatment recommended by a doctor.
While the problem lasts, try to maintain an extra healthy diet that provides plenty of vitamins to strengthen your defenses and combat symptoms. In addition, if your condition allows it, don’t stop doing light physical activity. This is because the release of endorphins relieves pain.
However, if the discomfort persists for more than 10 days without improvement, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor again. Also, make sure to see a doctor if an intense headache, facial pain, or a fever that least for more than four daysappears or if you get worse after having noticed an initial improvement.
- Bolger, W. E., Clement, P. A. R., Hosemann, W., Kuhn, F. A., Lanza, D. C., Leopold, D. A., … Zinreich, S. J. (1995). Paranasal sinuses: Anatomic terminology and nomenclature. In Annals of Otology, Rhinology and Laryngology. https://doi.org/10.1177/000348949510410s01
- Cady, R. K., & Schreiber, C. P. (2004). Sinus headache: A clinical conundrum. Otolaryngologic Clinics of North America. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0030-6665(03)00181-6.
- Centro para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades. Sinusitis (infección de los senos paranasales). Julio 2020. Departamento de Salud y Servicios Humanos de Estados Unidos.
- Clínica Mayo. Sinusitis crónica.
- León Méndez G, Osorio Fortich Mª R, et al. Extracción, caracterización y actividad antioxidante del aceite esencial de Plectranthus amboinicus L. Revista Cubana de Farmacia. Octubre-Diciembre 2015. 49 (4).
- Spaeth, J., Krügelstein, U., & Schlöndorff, G. (1997). The paranasal sinuses in CT-imaging: Development from birth to age 25. International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0165-5876(96)01458-9
The contents of this publication are for informational purposes only. At no time can they serve to facilitate or replace the diagnoses, treatments, or recommendations of a professional. Consult with your trusted specialist if you have any doubts and seek their approval before beginning any procedure.
How To Clear Your Sinuses Without Drugs In 60 Seconds
Everyone, at some point, has experienced the feeling of sinus congestion: headaches, difficulty breathing through the nose, the loss of the sense of smell, and even a change in the sound of your voice. There are many things that can cause sinus congestion, but for most people, the solution is usually the same: over-the-counter drugs.
While these drugs do work, they often have undesirable side effects like drowsiness, and there is also the cumulative effect of taking pharmaceutical medicines on a regular basis that can take a toll on the body over time.
The good news is that there is now a safe alternative: in this article, you will learn about a chemical-free solution to clear your sinuses that takes only about a minute, and is absolutely free.
A Brief Explanation of the Sinuses and Sinus Congestion
In order to understand how to clear the sinuses, it is necessary to have a grasp of what exactly the sinuses are, and what is happening when they become congested.
The sinuses are a series of small air cavities in the skull, located within the cheek bones, behind the nose and in the forehead. They are connected to the throat and nasal passages and represent the uppermost components of the respiratory tract.
Sometimes, these cavities can become inflamed and filled with mucus and cause sinus congestion. There are many different things which can cause this to happen, and the medicinal treatments will vary depending on the specific cause. Some of the most common diseases and environmental factors which can cause sinus congestion include:
- The common cold
- Nasal polyps
- Deviated septum
- Allergens and dust particles
Regardless of what is causing it, the symptoms of sinus congestion will usually be the same: uncomfortable pressure in the sinus cavities, headaches, and difficulty breathing linked to the inflammation and mucus buildup.
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What Is the Drug-Free Way to Clear the Sinuses?
If you have a serious illness like the flu which is causing the sinus pressure, you should still take your medicine. However, you will still benefit from using this technique to clear your sinuses.
By applying pressure to the sinuses with the hands in a specific way, you can utilize the force of gravity to drain your sinuses naturally and breathe easier. Here’s how to do it:
1. Position your body so that you are leaning back at a 45-degree angle. This is important for helping drain the fluid in your sinuses.
2. While sitting back in this position, turn your head to the side and rub the sternocleidomastoid muscle up and down, about four or five times (this is the muscle on the side of the neck which begins below the ear and runs down the collarbone). Turn your head again and repeat on the other side.
3. With your fingers, rub the sides of your nose, just below where the bony upper section meets the softer, lower part. Massage these areas in a circular motion as hard as you can for about 20 seconds. After this, rub the same area and the parts of the nose connecting to the cheek bones to relax them further.
4. After this, locate the super orbital notch, on top of the eye socket above the eyes. Massage these notches, again, in a circular motion, for 20 seconds. Then move to the forehead, and massage above the eyes in an outward motion (pulling toward the ears) for another 20 seconds or so.
The pressure exerted on the sinuses by these massages, combined with the angle of your body, will cause the mucus to drain out the sinuses and back down the throat. You will be able to breathe easier and be free of headaches and congestion.
Obviously the old saying about an ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure still applies here. You can avoid many sinus issues by keeping your living space clean to reduce dust accumulation, using a humidifier, and eating a balanced, healthy diet to ensure a strong immune system.
Still, sinus pressure happens to almost everyone at some point. The next time you are experiencing sinus discomfort, try this technique before resorting to an over-the-counter drug. Sometimes it may be all you need to breathe free again.