7 Effective Ways to Clear Sinuses

The respiratory function isn't the only job of the nose, as it's also responsible for the defensive, olfactory and phonatory functions and this is why it's important to keep the sinuses clear.
7 Effective Ways to Clear Sinuses
Maricela Jiménez López

Written and verified by the doctor Maricela Jiménez López.

Last update: 10 August, 2022

You have to inhale and exhale in order to breathe and so your sinuses must be clear of any blockages. It isn’t always easy though.

The sinuses are air-filled spaces in the skull, located behind the forehead, bones of the nose, cheeks and the eyes. One of their main functions is to produce the mucus that drains through this organ.

When they’re healthy, they don’t contain bacteria or other microorganisms. Thus, mucus can flow without interruption and so can air.

However, there are times when these swell and interrupt the proper functioning of the nose. The most common reasons are: infection by virus or bacteria, allergy, a deviated nasal septum, or nasal polyps.

The most common symptoms are nasal swelling, thick, colorless discharge (runny nose), stuffy or congested nose and a reduced sense of smell and taste. There may also be pain around the cheeks, nose, eyes or forehead.

There are some remedies to relieve these discomforts and the difficulty of breathing through the nose. So, how to clear the sinuses? Check out the following.

Tips to clear your sinuses

To begin with, know there’s not enough scientific evidence to support the use of these remedies. For this reason, it’s best to consult your doctor before using them.

Furthermore, it isn’t necessary to use antibiotics to clear your sinuses and you should only use them if  your doctor prescribes them. The symptoms usually improve with the passing of days. In the meantime, use these remedies to relieve pain and pressure.

1. Saltwater rinse

Salt on a spoon and glass mug of water to clear your sinuses.

Excess flow in the sinuses worsens during the night. Therefore, to avoid this discomfort, wash your nose with water and salt before going to bed. It’ll help cleanse the area and reduce inflammation.

In fact, according to this study by Chung Shan Medical University Hospital, saline nasal irrigation can improve life quality of those with acute and chronic sinusitis, rhinoconjunctivitis, and rhinitis.


  • 3 tsp. of salt (15 g.)
  • 1 tsp. of baking soda (5 g.)
  • 1 c. of distilled or purified water (250 ml.)


  • A large dropper


  • First, add the salt to the distilled water and mix well
  • Then, add the baking soda and stir
  • You should eventually obtain a colorless mixture

How to use it

  • All you need to do is fill the dropper halfway with this solution
  • Tilt your head to the left and inhale through your mouth
  • Pour this solution slowly into your right nostril and wait for it to come out of the left side
  • If you feel like the solution is running into your ear or down your throat, change position
  • Repeat on the left side
  • Finally, blow your nose to remove any waste or excess mucus and clear your sinuses

2. Steam baths may help clear your sinuses

Woman with a steam bath and pink towel to clear her sinuses.

Steam works as a natural cleanser and moisturizer. It also may help drain and relax the affected area.


  • For starters, boil some water or run some very hot water in the faucet to produce steam

How to use it

  • Bring your face close to the source of steam
  • Inhale and exhale slowly to clear the area
  • Do this for five minutes
  • Finally, moisten a towel with the hot water and apply it to your face to clear your sinuses
  • Wait until it cools before you remove it

3. Essential oil massage

Essential oils.

One of the most effective therapeutic oils is oregano oil. It has highly recommended antioxidant properties, according to this study from the Universidad de Cartagena in Colombia.

The result is even better if you blend it with almond oil because it hydrates the skin and keeps the area moisturized. It also helps with the absorption of the oregano oil — which you should never apply on the skin or inside your nostrils.



  • First of all, wash your hands and face thoroughly
  • Mix the almond and oregano oils

How to use it

  • Warm the mixture in your hands and gently rub it over the area of your sinuses
  • While using circular movements, inhale and exhale slowly to absorb the essence of the oils and their properties
  • Continue this for five minutes and enjoy the effects

4. Warm compresses

Applying warm compresses to the nose and forehead area may help relieve sinus pressure. You can apply them three times a day for five minutes each.

5. Use a humidifier to clear the sinuses.

This is one of the quickest ways to get relief from a stuffy nose. Breathing more humid air can soften irritated tissues and deflate blood vessels.

Likewise, this type of machine also allows mucus to flow more easily and you can cough it out faster.

6. Drink plenty of fluids

Hydration is important to help drain and expel accumulated mucus. In addition, mucous membranes will be hydrated and not irritated. For this, it’s best to choose water, broths, and hot infusions.

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.

The skin around the nostrils may become irritated. You can relieve it by applying a little almond oil or petroleum jelly.

7. Sleeping in an elevated position

Keeping your head up when sleeping is another common tip for clearing the sinuses. It’s important to rest to help the body overcome the infection and recover.

In addition, the 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 stay out of closed stuffy environments and smoking areas.

Try these home remedies to help clear the sinuses

As we mentioned above, all these natural remedies can help you improve inflammation and pain caused by sinus congestion. However, they should never substitute the treatment recommended by your doctor.

While the problem lasts, try to maintain a healthy diet that provides plenty of vitamins (to strengthen your immune system and control the symptoms). In addition, if your condition allows it, do light physical activity. The release of endorphins is also a pain reliever.

However, consult your doctor again if the discomfort persists for more than 10 days and doesn’t seem to be improving. Also if at any time intense headache or facial pain appears, fever for more than four days, or if you get worse after having noticed an initial improvement.

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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.