How to soothe a blocked nose

Young woman in bed blowing her nose

There's nothing more relieving than the feeling of a blocked nose finally clearing. It’s just a shame that it’s often the last thing to happen when recovering from a cold or flu. To help things move along next time your nose isn’t breathing easy, try these ideas for how to soothe a blocked nose. What causes a sore nose? Whether your sore nose causes are a winter cold, a sinus infection or a hay fever allergy, these tips can help.

Keep Cushelle Pocket Pack Tissues at hand when you want to know how to stop a sore nose – they’re designed to protect skin from irritation when your nose is blocked, but they’re strong enough to withstand a few decent nose-blows. In fact, they’re so strong they’ll even survive a trip through the wash if they’re accidentally left in a pocket!

Cushelle is here for your blocked nose no matter what, but we’re not medical experts. Always seek professional advice if you are worried about a persistent stuffy nose.

1. Hit the shower 

As easy as it sounds, having a hot shower or a long bath when you feel congested can help to ease decongestion.1 The heat helps the network of blood vessels in your nose to open and close more easily, which helps your sinuses to drain.

2. Try a warm compress to unblock a stuffy nose

Sticking with the heat idea, a warm compress can also provide more localised assistance.2 This is because the warmth helps to open your nasal passages. It can also help relieve inflammation inside your nostrils, and ease the discomfort you might be feeling across your sinuses and forehead, too.

All you need to do to make a DIY one for yourself is to soak a towel in warm water, wring out the excess water, fold it up neatly, and gently place it across your nose and forehead. You might find it easiest to lean back slightly while you do this, to stop the towel from slipping. It’s a good idea to avoid lying completely flat, as when you’re more upright gravity will help to get your stuffy nose free of gunk.

3. Good old ginger

Our grandparents often tell us about the good old days and one of their best stuffy nose remedies is ginger root. This warm, spicy ingredient can act as a comforting natural remedy for all kinds of cold symptoms. Add 4-5 slices of fresh ginger to a cup of boiling water and leave it to infuse for 5-10 minutes. Drink the water in sips once it has cooled, or soak a cotton cloth in the ginger water and place it on your face for 10 minutes. The heat, together with the anti-inflammatory properties of ginger,8 helps mucus to drain and unblock a stuffy nose.9 It also works wonders on sore throats when drunk.

4. Hydrate to unblock your stuffy nose

How does drinking water affect your nose? It’s all about the mechanics. Water, hot drinks and juices will help thin mucus, so it doesn’t clog up thickly and it’s easier to get rid of when you blow your nose. This also helps to ease pressure in your sinuses. That can result in inflammation subsiding, which will help ease some of the discomfort you might be feeling.4

Warm drinks can be especially effective home remedies for a stuffy nose, as you’ll be inhaling some water vapour as you sip.7 Pop the kettle on – how about a soothing cup of peppermint tea?

5. Peppermint

If your red, blocked up nose cause is related to sinus congestion too, then you might want to turn to the natural decongestant power of peppermint. Menthol is the main active ingredient, which may help to open your airways and clear out mucus by interacting with the mucus receptors in the nose.5

You can harness the power by drinking peppermint tea, with the steam from a hot cuppa and the hydration from the water content also helping to ease your blocked nose.7 You might also choose to add essential oil of peppermint to a steam treatment...

6. Steam and humidifier

Whether you choose hot water steam from a pot of boiled water and essential oils, or you have a specially designed humidifier at home, breathing steam works like magic for decongesting your nasal passages and soothing your stuffy nose.

With a humidifier the water in the machine converts to moisture that fills the air and raises the humidity levels. This can help unblock a stuffy nose by thinning mucus in the sinuses and soothing the tissues and blood vessels that are inflamed and irritated. The great thing is that all you need to do is simply breathe in where the humidifier is operating.3

If you don’t have a humidifier you can still benefit from the decongesting properties of steam. For a DIY version, all you need to do is boil a kettle, and carefully pour the water into a bowl. Then place a towel over your head, and lean over the bowl, with the towel covering it. This helps to keep the steam close to your nasal passages while you breathe in slowly through your nose. Be careful not to get too close or scald yourself. You could add a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil to the water and combine ethanol with steam power.

Whichever method you use, inhale steam a couple of times each day until your nose feels clear.

7. Garlic

You might see it simply as the perfect addition to a nice tomato sauce, but when it comes to how to soothe a stuffy nose, garlic is among the best remedies. Garlic is said to help thin mucus that blocks the nasal passages, and its naturally antibacterial properties are said to reduce inflammation that can contribute to clogged-up airways. Add two mashed garlic cloves to food or boiling water each day, or if you’re daring enough to eat it raw, mash the garlic up and swallow it with honey.6

Next time you have a blocked up nose and want to know how to soothe a sore nose, try one (or several) of these natural home remedies. Another top tip for how to stop a sore nose is to keep a pack of soft Cushelle facial tissues handy so you can blow your nose hygienically.



1 Topical nasal decongestions, Nose, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence

2 Sinusitis, NHS Inform; 2020

3 The Right Way To Use a Humidifier for Sinusitis, (Medically reviewed), Everyday Health; 2021

4 How to Clear a Stuffy Nose, (Medically reviewed), Healthline; 2019

5 Top 7 essential oils for sinus congestion, (Medically reviewed), Medical News Today; 2019

6 7 Natural Remedies for Congestion Relief, (Medically reviewed), Everyday Health; 2017

7 Saketkhoo K, Januszkiewicz A, Sackner MA. Effects of drinking hot water, cold water, and chicken soup on nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance. Chest. 1978 Oct;74(4):408-10. doi: 10.1378/chest.74.4.408. PMID: 359266.

8 Mashhadi NS, Ghiasvand R, Askari G, Hariri M, Darvishi L, Mofid MR. Anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects of ginger in health and physical activity: review of current evidence. Int J Prev Med. 2013;4(Suppl 1):S36-S42.

9 Allergic Rhinitis: 6 Herbal Remedies to Try, Sinus & Allergy Wellness Clinic; 2019

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