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!
7 Effective Ways to Clear Your Sinuses
Maricela Jiménez López

Reviewed and approved by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Written by Editorial Team

Last update: 19 September, 2023

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

Salt can help clear sinuses
Scientists have found that saline nasal irrigation can improve the quality of life of patients with acute and chronic sinusitis, rhinoconjunctivitis, and rhinitis.

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: 6 Essencial Oils to Combat Sinusitis

2. Clear sinuses with steam

Vapores de manzanilla
Steam can help drain and cleanse the affected area.

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: Chronic Sinusitis: Symptoms, Causes Diagnosis and Treatment/

3. Try a massage with oils to clear sinuses

aceites para despejar tus senos paranasales

One of the most effective therapeutic oils is oregano oil. In fact, it has highly recommended antioxidant properties, according to this study from the University of Cartagena (Colombia).

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 exhale slowly 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.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • 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

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.