How To Get Rid Of A Runny Nose: 10 Home Remedies

Everyone has experienced a runny nose from a cold or flu. I get it at least three times a year.

Both, a runny nose and a stuffy nose are irritating health issues.

I’m sure you would love to know how to stop a runny nose or get rid of rhinorrhea as fast as possible.

Interestingly, everyone tries to use their favorite home remedies or OTC medicine for coping with a runny nose.

Usually, the traditional remedies we use for a leaky nose are the ones that our parents and grandparents have used for years.

There are many simple treatments and solutions for respiratory infections that you may have never used.

Causes And Symptoms Of Runny Nose

A runny nose is caused by the excess drainage of fluid created by the nasal tissues and blood vessels in the nose.

The drainage is a clear fluid in the beginning, and later on, the fluid turns into thick mucus. Often, mild coughs, sneezing, or sore throat accompany this infection.

In medical terminology, “rhinorrhea” and “rhinitis’ are two terms commonly used for a runny nose.

“Rhinorrhea” refers to the clear and thin discharge from the nose. “Rhinitis” refers to inflammation of the nasal tissues, which causes mucus discharge from the nose.

Fluid from the nose is the body’s way of getting rid of the viruses, allergens, or irritants that cause colds and flu.

According to Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, a U.S. board-certified anatomic pathologist, “stuffy nose” is a term often used to obstruct the airflow in and out of the nose. In contrast, “runny nose” refers to a discharge (fluid) coming from the nasal passages.”

She further states, “a viral infection (the common cold) is the most common cause of a stuffy and/or runny nose. But allergies, influenza, and other viral infections like RSV and sinus infections also may cause these symptoms and signs.”

What causes a runny nose is colds, sinus infections, allergic reactions, irritations caused by foreign bodies, or sudden changes in weather conditions.

Some develop a leaky nose caused by allergies to pet dander or cold dry air.

A runny nose may also be caused by smoking, stress, dust, cold weather, whooping cough, and other things.

These causes provide agreeable conditions for the cold-causing virus and bacteria to be hyperactive.

According to doctors, there are more than 200 types of known viruses that can lead to a leaky nose.

The most common viruses are rhinoviruses, responsible for 40% of colds and nasal discharges.

The coronavirus is responsible for about 20% of cases, while the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and parainfluenza virus cause 10% of colds.

Ways To Stop A Runny Nose Fast

For an effective treatment for allergic rhinitis and influenza, you must first diagnose the reason for it.

Simple remedies and preventive solutions are the best for arresting the thin and continuous discharge of extra mucus in your nose.

There are several types of over-the-counter cold medicines for colds and coughs. Most of these OTC products are powerful and effective. Unfortunately, many of them have negative health effects.

Now, look at some of the best cold relief methods you can perform at home.

1. Prevent and remove nasal irritants

Many get runny noses from allergic reactions, dust mites, pet danders, pollen, and certain foods.

You need to identify the plants, pets, or materials that are allergic to you and stay away from them.

Keep your home and office clean and free of dust mites. Avoid the foods and drinks that you are allergic to.

You can also get a runny nose if you live in excessively dry or cold weather conditions.

Dry and cold weather conditions irritate the mucous membranes in the nose and cause rhinitis.

It is good to use a humidifier in your room to increase the moisture in the air and escape from dry weather conditions.

2. Drink lots of fluids

When you have a leaky nose, you should frequently have liquid foods and fluids like warm water, tea, and soups.

This can help to drain mucus from the nose more quickly and help relieve congestion.

Lemon tea and ginger tea are excellent drinks for soothing the irritations caused by heavy fluid discharge from the nose.

3. Proper cleaning of the nose

When you have a cold and a leaky nose, you should frequently clean your nose by gently blowing out the mucus.

Use Neti pots, a nasal aspirator, a nose cleaner, soft tissues, or tweezers to clear mucus.

4. Have a good sleep

If you have heavy fluid discharge from the nose due to a respiratory infection or influenza, one of the finest remedies is having long hours of bed rest.

Try to sleep as much as you can. This also gives you a break from blowing your nose. Sleep, also, keeps you away from irritants that aggravate the condition.

5. Do a gentle forehead and nose massage

Gently massage the bridge of the nose, eyes, temples, forehead, and earlobes to reduce sinus pressure. This massage therapy would help reduce the flow of fluids from the nose.

Try to close and open the nostrils by gently pressing down and releasing them with your fingers.

6. Use saline nasal spray

If your nose is blocked or partially clogged with mucus, you can use nasal drops or spray to clear the nostrils.

Repeat this treatment 3 to 4 times a day till you have comfortable breathing and your mucous membranes are soothed.

7. Steam therapy

Using steam therapy works well for getting relief from a runny nose. It opens up the clogged nostrils by clearing out the mucus.

Hold your face over a bowl of hot water and trap the steam using a big towel that can cover your head and pot simultaneously. Breathe in the steam for 10 minutes, and then blow your nose gently.

Repeat the steam therapy 3–4 times a day.

You can also have a steam sauna bath to get relief from excessive fluid discharge from the nose.

8. Use a humidifier

If you have a cold and leaky nose because of the dry weather, use a cool-mist vaporizer or humidifier to fill your room with moist air.

This helps to keep the nasal passage moist and prevent mucous membrane irritation.

9. Apply a warm compress

Doing a hot compress over your nose and foreheads is beneficial for managing rhinorrhea conditions. This works well especially when the leaky nose is caused by a cold, influenza, or sinusitis.

Instead of the compress bag or pack, you can use a washcloth soaked in warm water to do the compress. It is excellent for removing nasal congestion and reducing mucus emissions.

10. Try OTC products

You can find a variety of prescription medicines and OTC products like pills, sprays, and balms for effectively managing excess mucous discharge from the nose.

Vapor rubs and topical decongestants are commonly used OTC products for treating the common cold.

Magnesium and zinc supplements are beneficial for clearing up the nasal passage.

Nasal sprays that contain olopatadine or ipratropium help dry mucus discharge from the nose.

Simple Remedies For Runny Nose

As we have already discussed, decongestants, antihistamines, and antibiotics. Those are the most common treatments recommended by doctors for getting relief from the common cold and a leaky nose. However, regular use of such medications will almost certainly hurt health.

Natural remedies for running noses are safe and effective. They have a soothing effect and help to easily expel excess fluids from the nose.

Here are a few natural remedies for a runny nose worth trying:

1. Salt water flush

It is fast and easy to get rid of the irritation and uneasiness caused by a runny nose by using a salt water flush.

The saltwater solution can thin the mucus and quickly drain the fluids from the nose.

Add one teaspoon of sea salt (preferably unionized) to 2 cups of distilled warm water and dilute it well. Then, with the help of a dropper, pour a few drops of saline water into each nostril with your head slightly bent backward.

Inhale very gently to allow the saline solution to deep into the nasal passage. After 3 minutes, blow the nose gently to get the saline solution and mucus out.

It is worth repeating this saltwater flush treatment 3–5 times daily to get faster relief.

2. Ginger tea

Ginger contains antiviral and antitoxic medicinal properties that can quickly relieve irritation and discomfort by clearing up a runny nose.

Add a tablespoon of finely sliced fresh ginger to a cup of boiling water; let the essence of the ginger steep in the water for a few minutes. Add a teaspoon of honey to the ginger tea and drink it. For best results, drink ginger tea 3-5 times a day.

Ginger tea is also beneficial for providing relief from a sore throat.

For another option, add one teaspoon of ginger powder to one cup of boiling water and inhale the steam. Taking ginger in the form of tablets is useful for getting relief from a runny nose.

Chewing a few slices of salted raw ginger is great for soothing the irritation caused by mucus discharge from the nose.

3. Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus essential oil contains natural decongestant properties that can instantly clear excess mucus formation in the nose.

In a large bowl, boil 2 cups of water and add a few drops of eucalyptus oil. Also, add a few drops of lavender and peppermint oils to it.

Inhale the steam from the bowl by leaning over it closely and covering your head with a large towel.

Alternatively, you can apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a handkerchief or tissue paper and keep smelling it for a few minutes, then repeat it many times a day.

4. Turmeric

Turmeric is a proven remedy for treating a runny nose and the common cold. The antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric fight the virus that causes a leaky nose and other associated symptoms.

Mix one-half teaspoon of dry turmeric powder into a cup of linseed oil in a steel bowl. Heat the bowl over the burner until you see smoke and steam rising out of the bowl. Inhale this smoke through one nostril and exhale through the other.

You can also drink one-half teaspoon of turmeric powder diluted in 1 cup of warm water or milk. Drinking turmeric can relieve the common cold, runny nose, sore throat, and asthma.

5. Holy basil

Holy basil is a popular ingredient in several natural remedies for various diseases.

Holy basil contains powerful antimicrobial properties that effectively eliminate or suppress the virus or bacteria that cause leaky nose with fluids.

You can chew a few holy basil leaves in the morning before going to bed to treat the nasal problem.

As for another method, add 10 basil leaves and five cloves to one cup of boiling water; after 10 minutes, drink this tea when the solution has cooled down.

Drinking basil tea twice or thrice a day is good for quick relief from a leaky nose.

6. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper contains antihistamine properties that are beneficial for clearing up nasal congestion and draining out excess mucus formation.

Interestingly, when you have cayenne pepper, it increases nasal discharges, which helps the body flush out the toxins and remove the nasal blockage.

It is also a good remedy for the common cold and influenza by helping to keep the body warm and increasing blood circulation.

You can consume more cayenne pepper in your diet when you suffer from the common cold and runny nose.

7. Garlic

Garlic is well known for its powerful antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which are beneficial for treating common disorders like a runny nose and influenza.

If you have a lot of mucus coming out of your nose, drinking garlic soup can help you feel better quickly.

Add four to five cloves of chopped garlic to a cup of boiling water; allow the essence of the garlic to steep down in the water for 10 minutes. Then strain the solution, add a tablespoon of honey, and drink the soup twice daily.

Chewing two or three cloves of garlic can help to warm up your body and expel the virus that causes the common cold and influenza.

You will also find garlic supplements that can improve your immunity to fight diseases like runny nose, flu, and influenza.

Additional Tips For Preventing A Runny Nose

Here are some practical tips for preventing or getting relief from a leaky nose problem:

  • The runny nose problem will last only for a few days; taking bed rest and having warm foods and liquids are the best solutions;
  • Use unscented tissues to clear the nose;
  • Avoid spicy foods as they increase the mucous discharge from the nose;
  • As soon as the fluids accumulate in the nostrils, gently blow them out.
  • Drink plenty of fluids like lemon juice or warm water often;
  • Avoid drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea, and other beverages;
  • Avoid smoking;
  • Use nasal moisturizer to mitigate nasal irrigation;
  • Have a steam sauna or hot water bath;
  • Have peppermint drinks and toffees.
  • Use nasal congestion removal creams or balms;
  • Keep away from all allergy triggers and irritants.
  • Avoid air conditioners and fans; try to stay at normal room temperature.
  • Stay home from work and avoid spreading the infection to others.


A typical cold or flu condition can last up to 5 days on average. Natural treatments and over-the-counter medications are only intended to alleviate the symptoms. They may not get rid of the underlying causes.

Self-medication does not respond with equal effectiveness to all users. Some of them could make a runny nose worse.

If you develop a fever, headache, nausea, cough, or body ache, you should see a healthcare professional.

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