In the winter, just about everyone gets sick at least once. It's cold, finals have you stressed, and you're not exactly eating healthy. Getting sick is bound to happen and one of the worst symptoms is a stuffy nose.

You suddenly turn into a tissue monster that nobody wants to be near, and you're too weak to actually take care of yourself. When you get sick, here's how to clear a stuffy nose with home remedies (because medications are expensive and hard to get when you're sick and don't want to leave bed).

Spicy Foods

chili, vegetable, pepper, cayenne, salsa, jalapeno, pepperoni
Ellen Gibbs

I once tried the hottest sauce at Buffalo Wild Wings and instantly got teary eyes and a runny nose, but 10 minutes later my sinuses were clear ... and I was still crying (I touched my eyes with my hot sauce fingers). Spicy foods produce more mucus and push everything else out

To get a strong kick and a clear sinus, try adding hot sauce to any of your meals. A friend of mine also recommends her tried and true method, Ramen soup with Sriracha and an uncooked egg, but I'm not about that combo. Instead, try this spicy pumpkin soup for something a little more comforting. 


ginger, vegetable, galangal, herb
Tyra Wu

Ginger has been used in alternative medicine and home remedies for many years. It's what some people would call a super food because it's known to treat nausea, high blood pressure, and common infections, among other things. It's also a natural anti-inflammatory plant, which is how it helps clear your nose. 

The most common way to clear a stuffy nose with ginger is ginger tea. It's best if you have fresh ginger, but I'm cheap so I just get lemon ginger tea bags and hope for the best. It works pretty well, but I do make them extra strong and double up on tea bags just to be sure. 


garlic, vegetable, condiment, relish, pasture, elephant garlic
Kristine Mahan

Want to know how to ward off vampires? Garlic. Want to know how to clear a stuffy nose? Also garlic.

Garlic is an anti-inflammatory food and contains a lot of vitamins with few calories. According to a 12-week study from 2001, participants who took garlic supplements every day were less likely to get sick and were sick for less time than people who didn't take the supplements.

I don't expect you to take garlic pills every day. Instead, you can try this garlic soup or this garlic dip, known as Bagna Cauda

Apple Cider Vinegar

apple, juice, cider, sweet, Apple Cider Vinegar, vinegar
Alyssa Modos

Let me start by saying I hate apple cider vinegar. There is only one thing worse than apple cider vinegar, and that's regular vinegar. On the other hand, my roommate would take a shot of apple cider vinegar twice a day when she was sick and swore it cleared her sinuses.

One person tried drinking apple cider vinegar for a month and loved it, while another drank it for a week and didn't see any changes, but neither of them were sick. Apple cider vinegar is said to be healthy and is trendy, even though it tastes like death. Drink at your own risk.

#SpoonTip: Home remedy websites suggest taking a shot of ACV each day to clear your sinuses faster. 


tea, oil, jam
Jocelyn Hsu

You know those people who tell you to have a cup of tea when you feel sick? They know what's best. If you hold the steaming tea by your face, it acts as a small humidifier, and tea usually has at least a small amount of caffeine for all you addicts (me); it also hydrates your body. 

Green tea, tea with ginger or honey, or any herbal teas are said to be best. Try a hot toddy if you're chilling at home for the rest of the night, and if you're feeling festive try this apple cider hot toddy.

Hot Soup

sweet, milk, jam, yogurt
Kelli Haugh

When I was younger and got sick, I would always ask for instant ramen chicken noodle soup. While soup is something I would recommend when you're sick, I would not recommend having instant ramen packets because they have none of the nutrition that you really need to get over your cold. It's always better to have actual food in your soup than packets of flavoring. 

Soup is good for clearing a stuffy nose because it hydrates your body, provides you with necessary nutrients, and reduces inflammation in your throat. It's also pretty cheap, so you don't need to go broke when you get sick.

As far as types go, broth-based soups are better than cream-based soups because you want to get as much water into your body as possible. Chicken noodle soup is a good basic choice. Here are 14 soothing soups for cold and flu season you might want to check out.

Saline Nasal Treatment

salt, condiment, chocolate, sweet
Angela Kerndl

This one is probably the most effective for clearing a stuffy nose ... but it's gross. It's most effective because a saline solution literally cleans out your nose and it's gross because you're pouring salt water into your nose. You can buy saline solution at a grocery store or make it yourself if you have salt, baking soda, and water. 

Next time you're sick with a stuffy nose, try one of the options above. Now that you know how to clear a stuffy nose, you won't have to be the tissue monster everyone stays away from.