How To Unclog Nose

How To Unclog Nose
An anonymous Caucasian female reading some health articles on her mobile phone while using oximeter to check her blood condition.

Many readers are interested in the following topic: Tips for cleaning and unclogging nose pores. We are happy to note, that our authors have already studied the modern research about the topic you are interested in. Based on the information provided in the latest medical digests, modern research and surveys, we provide extensive answer. Keep reading to find out more.

Physical exfoliation products contain rough substances that remove dead skin cells with gentle scrubbing. Scrubbing too hard can damage the skin.

How to Clear a Stuffy Nose

We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission Here’s our process.

How we vet brands and products

Healthline only shows you brands and products that we stand behind.

  • Evaluate ingredients and composition: Do they have the potential to cause harm?
  • Fact-check all health claims: Do they align with the current body of scientific evidence?
  • Assess the brand: Does it operate with integrity and adhere to industry best practices?

A stuffy nose can be caused by mucus or inflamed blood vessels in your sinuses. It often develops when you’re sick. Other than taking medications, several home remedies can help unclog your nose.

A stuffy nose, or nasal congestion, can be frustrating and often affect your day-to-day life.

Many people think a stuffy nose is the result of too much mucus in the nasal passages. However, a clogged nose is usually the result of inflamed blood vessels in the sinuses. A cold, the flu, allergies, or a sinus infection can all inflame these blood vessels.

Regardless of the reason for your stuffed-up nose, there are easy ways to relieve it.

A humidifier can be a quick and easy way to reduce sinus pain and help relieve nasal congestion.

The machine converts water to moisture that slowly fills the air, increasing the humidity in a room.

Breathing in this moist air can soothe irritated tissues and swollen blood vessels in your nose and sinuses. Some people claim that heated, humidified air can also help congested mucus drain better. However, reviews have shown that there’s no current evidence to support this.

If you’re experiencing symptoms of nasal congestion, you may still benefit from placing humidifiers around your house or office.

Have you ever had a stuffy nose and found that you could breathe so much better after a hot shower? There may be a good reason for that.

Steam from a shower may help to thin out the mucus in your nose and reduce inflammation. Taking a hot shower can help your breathing return to normal, at least for a little while.

You can get the same effect by breathing in steam from hot water in a sink. Here’s how:

  • Turn on the hot water in your bathroom sink.
  • Once the temperature is right, place a towel over your head and put your head over the sink.
  • Allow the steam to build, and take in deep breaths.
  • Be careful not to burn your face on the hot water or steam.

It’s important to drink plenty of fluids if you suspect you have a cold or are experiencing flu symptoms.

Maintaining optimum hydration levels can help thin the mucus in your nasal passages, pushing the fluids out of your nose and decreasing the pressure in your sinuses. Less pressure means less inflammation and irritation.

If you’re also experiencing a sore throat, warm liquids like tea may be able to help ease the discomfort in your throat, too.

Take hydration one step further with saline, a saltwater solution. Using a nasal saline spray can increase the moisture in your nostrils.

Some saline sprays also include decongestant medication. Talk with your doctor before you begin using saline sprays with decongestants.

It’s not the most glamorous task, but you can clean out your clogged nostrils with a neti pot. A neti pot is a container designed to flush mucus and fluids out of your nasal passages.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends using distilled or sterile water instead of tap water.

Here’s how to use a neti pot:

  • Stand with your head over a sink.
  • Place the spout of the neti pot in one nostril.
  • Tilt the neti pot until water enters your nasal passage.
  • Once the water flows into your nostril, it will come out through your other nostril and empty into the sink.
  • Do this for about 1 minute, and then switch sides.

A warm compress may help alleviate some symptoms of nasal congestion by opening the nasal passages from the outside.

To make a warm compress, first, soak a towel in warm water. Next, squeeze the water out of the towel, then fold it and place it over your nose and forehead.

The warmth can provide comfort from any pain and help relieve the inflammation in the nostrils. Repeat this as often as necessary.

A congested nose can be uncomfortable, but some other over-the-counter (OTC) medications may clear out your nasal passages and bring relief.

Make sure to speak with a pharmacist when choosing a decongestant, antihistamine, or allergy medication. The pharmacist can also answer any questions you may have about a particular medication.

Call your doctor if your stuffy nose doesn’t improve after taking medication for more than 3 days, or if you have a fever as well.


A decongestant medication can help reduce swelling and ease pain associated with irritated nasal passages. Many decongestants are available without a doctor’s prescription.

They come in two forms: nasal spray and pill. Common decongestant nasal sprays include oxymetazoline (Afrin) and phenylephrine (Sinex). Common decongestant pills include pseudoephedrine (Sudafed, Sudogest).

Be cautious when using decongestants. You shouldn’t take a decongestant for more than 3 days without a doctor’s supervision. After 3 days, a nasal decongestant may actually make your congestion and stuffiness worse.

Antihistamines or allergy medication

You may want to take an antihistamine or allergy medication if your nasal congestion results from an allergic reaction. Both types of medications can reduce the swelling in your nasal passages, helping to unclog your sinuses.

Combining drugs containing both an antihistamine and a decongestant can relieve the sinus pressure and swelling caused by allergic reactions.

Follow the instructions for these medications carefully. If you don’t, you may make your condition worse. You should also note that antihistamines might make you drowsy. If you aren’t sure how an antihistamine will affect you, don’t take this medication when you need to be active or productive.

Tips for cleaning and unclogging nose pores

Pores are openings in the skin that contain hair follicles. Keeping pores clean prevents them from becoming clogged and promotes healthy skin.

Most areas of skin on the body contain pores, including the skin on the nose. Although the pores are usually small and difficult to notice, they can become clogged and appear larger. When this happens on the nose, the pores become more noticeable.

Pores can become clogged with excess oil, dead skin, or dirt, or they can appear more prominent as a result of too much sun exposure. Other factors that can influence pores becoming clogged include genetics and hormones.

In this article, we provide six tips for keeping pores clean and unclogged.

a man washing his face to prevent Pores on nose

Cleansing the skin removes the oils, makeup products, and dirt that build up throughout the day. The removal of these substances reduces the chances of pores becoming clogged.

Using a gentle cleanser with warm water is usually enough to remove debris from the skin. It is important not to scrub too hard as this can damage the skin.

The American Academy of Dermatology (ADA) recommend choosing a noncomedogenic cleanser to minimize irritation. Noncomedogenic products are those that do not clog skin pores.

People with very oily skin may find a nightly salicylic acid cleanser beneficial.

Dead skin cells can build up and clog pores on the nose, which can make them appear larger.

Exfoliating — either physically or chemically — can remove these dead skin cells.

Physical exfoliation products contain rough substances that remove dead skin cells with gentle scrubbing. Scrubbing too hard can damage the skin.

Chemical exfoliation products do not require scrubbing as they work by increasing skin cell turnover. However, they typically contain retinol or glycolic acid, which can cause skin irritation and sun sensitivity. Therefore, it is best to apply them at night.

People with dry skin on their face should limit their use of exfoliants to the nose.

The findings of a study in the journal Cutis suggest that tazarotene can reduce the size and appearance of pores. If other exfoliants are not working, a doctor may recommend this prescription medication.

Share on Pinterest Pores can appear larger after extended exposure to the sun.

Sun damage can make pores appear larger, and the nose is particularly vulnerable to sun damage. People can prevent pores on the nose from appearing larger by regularly applying sunscreen to the face.

The ADA recommend sticking to products with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher to protect pores.

The best defense against sun damage is to avoid directly exposing the skin to the sun, especially during the middle of the day when it is hottest. A person can do this by wearing a hat that protects their face or staying in the shade.

Dermatologists can offer specialized treatments, such as microneedling, to minimize the appearance of large pores.

This treatment involves puncturing the skin with a series of tiny needles, using either a roller-type or a mechanically driven device. Microneedling causes small amounts of skin damage to trigger the production of collagen for skin healing. This new collagen can reduce the appearance of pores.

Some microneedling devices are available for home use. However, the ADA recommend avoiding these devices due to concerns about injury and infection. They also note that these at-home devices are less effective than professional treatments.

Laser treatments are another option. Lasers can reduce oil production and decrease the size of pores.

The use of some products can make pores more noticeable. For example, makeup products can contain oil that clogs pores. People may notice an improvement if they replace these products with noncomedogenic options.

It is also important to remove any makeup before going to sleep. Wearing makeup for too long can cause pores to become clogged.

Share on Pinterest A person can try an oil free moisturizer if the skin becomes too dry.

Although exfoliation and skin care products can reduce the appearance of pores, using these products too regularly can prevent the pores from doing their job.

Pores are important for keeping the skin healthy.

For example, they produce oil that softens the skin and maintains its moisture level. Exfoliating or using products that dry out the skin can stimulate oil production in the pores and increase the risk of clogging again.

To avoid this, limit the use of exfoliating treatments to once or twice a week. People with very oily skin can stick to exfoliating every other day.

The skin may have become too dry if it flakes off, feels tight, or appears red. If these symptoms occur, it is best to apply an oil free moisturizer and avoid exfoliating treatments for a few days.

It is possible to reduce the appearance of pores on the nose with good skin care. Many different products are available to cleanse and exfoliate the skin. Professional treatments, such as microneedling, are another option in more severe cases.

It is important to avoid exfoliating excessively or using too many treatments to clean and unclog pores, both of which can damage the skin. People with dry and sensitive skin should take extra care when using these products.

If pores on the nose remain persistently clogged for a few months despite the use of proper skin care and exfoliation, it may be worth seeing a doctor to discuss medical treatments.

Last medically reviewed on October 7, 2019

  • Dermatology
  • Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

How we reviewed this article:

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • American Academy of Dermatology. (2009). Studies show combination laser therapy effective at clearing acne, reducing oil production.
  • American Academy of Dermatology. (2018). Microneedling: Experienced hands can improve the face [Press release].
  • Dong, J. (2016). Enlarged facial pores: An update on treatments.
  • Flament, F., et al. (2015). Facial skin pores: A multiethnic study.
  • What can treat large facial pores? (n.d.).