How to Clean Your Baby’s Nose

“Ten little fingers, ten little toes, two little eyes and one little nose. One little stuffy nose and crying the baby goes.”


Your newborn can be very cranky when they have a stuffy nose. Their narrow nasal passage could get blocked and lead to difficulty in breathing. Clearing the nasal passage would help them breathe well, reduce chances of infection and let them get restful sleep.


If your baby snorts, has noisy breathing, finds it difficult to feed, or is very irritable, it could be because of a stuffy nose.

Effective Ways to Clean Your Baby’s Nose

Blocked noses can be caused by cold, flu, mild infection, mucus build-up, or change in the weather. Sometimes, excess mucus could dry and block the nasal passage. You may want to check if something is stuck up their nose or it is a genuine nasal congestion.

The easiest stuffy nose remedy for babies is to clear the nasal cavity by making the child sneeze to expel the mucus. This is possible when the child is older. In case of infants, you will have to help them clear the blockage using a nose cleaner for babies.

Cleaning Baby Nose Using Saline Nasal Spray

The safest option to clean the nose for infants and toddlers is using a saline nasal spray. It will help thin the mucus, relieve the congestion and clear the nose.

How to Use Saline Nasal Spray?

  1. Lay the baby on his back.
  2. Tilt the head back slightly. You can use a pillow to help hold the head back.
  3. Spray/squeeze two-three drops of saline nasal solution in each nostril. Wait for 30-40 seconds.
  4. If some spray comes out of the nose, wipe it away gently with a soft cloth or tissue.
  5. Turn the baby sideways or on the stomach and let the nose drain. Wipe clean.
  6. If it gets onto the face or eyes of the baby while spraying, do not get worried and wipe it off gently.

You can also make the saline water for baby’s nose at home.

  1. Boil a cup of clean and filtered water.
  2. Add one-fourth teaspoon of table salt to hot water and mix well.
  3. Cool the saline solution to reach room temperature.
  4. Store the solution in a clean spray bottle. You can also use a clean dropper.
  5. Use 3-4 times a day or as required.
  6. Use or discard the preparation after three days.
  7. You can make a mild solution for infants and a slightly stronger one for toddlers.

Cleaning Your Baby’s Nose with a Rubber Bulb Syringe

You can use a bulb syringe for babies to clean their nose. It is made especially for their tiny nostrils.

  1. Get the baby in a sitting position. Use pillows for support.
  2. Squeeze the air out of the bulb of mucus extractor for babies.
  3. While still holding the squeeze, gently insert the tip into the baby’s nostril, taking care to not go deep.
  4. Release the pressure to let the mucus flow out.
  5. Clean the bulb of mucus.
  6. Repeat with the other nostril.
  7. Always clean the suction bulb for baby before and after use.

Using Nasal Aspirators to Clean Your Infant’s Nose

Nasal aspirators are more efficient, less invasive, and easier to use in comparison to a bulb syringe. It comprises a nozzle, a piece of lengthy and soft tube, and a mouthpiece for suction. You can also check out battery-operated or electronic nasal aspirator for babies available online or in speciality stores.

How to use a nasal aspirator to clean baby’s nose:

  1. Lay the baby on his back.
  2. Use 2-3 drops of nasal saline solution and check if it clears the congestion.
  3. If it is insufficient to clear the nasal passage, consider using the aspirator.
  4. Test the suction by placing the aspirator at your fingertips.
  5. Place the tip of aspirator’s nozzle in the baby’s nostril and the mouthpiece in your mouth.
  6. Gently suck the nozzle and mucus will be released from the baby’s nose into the nozzle. Avoid being aggressive as it may cause nasal tissues to inflame or bleed.
  7. Remove the nozzle in the downward direction.
  8. The filter in the tube will protect you from inhaling any germs or mucus.
  9. Use twice or thrice a day. Over-usage can damage or irritate the nose lining.
  10. Wash and sanitize your hands and equipment before and after usage.

Tips for Using a Rubber Bulb Syringe and Nasal Aspirator

While these products are safe to safe to use as snot remover for babies, you will have to take a few precautions.

  • Choose the right size of the tip for inserting in the baby’s tiny nostril.
  • Always clean and sanitize the device before and after use.
  • Do not use more than 2-3 times a day or many days in a row. Consult your paediatrician if the congestion lasts for a long time or recurs frequently.
  • Store the device in a clean place.
  • Use gently to avoid damage to baby’s delicate nostrils.


Other Nose Cleaning Methods for Your Baby

You should clean your baby’s nose on a regular basis while bathing by gently cleaning the area around the nose with a cotton ball or a soft towel soaked in warm water. Do not insert anything in the nostrils to avoid possible damage to the nose lining.

ELEVATE THE MATTRESS – Raising the head slightly can ease the stuffy nose and help in breathing. Alternately, place a rolled up towel below the baby’s head. This will offer relief to the baby at nap time. Make sure they get plenty of rest to help recovery.

STEAM CLEAN – Moisture and warmth can help ease the congestion. You can run a hot shower and let the steam build up in the bathroom. Sit with the baby in the steam for a while. This will help in thinning and loosening of mucus and clear the congestion. Increasing fluid intake can also help.

VAPORISER/AIR HUMIDIFIER – Dry air could be the cause of dry nose. If you stay in a place which tends to have dry weather, invest in a humidifier. Moisture in the air can offer relief from congestion. This can be especially helpful in winters.

In most cases, the nasal passage can be cleared within a week or two at home by using the above methods. Consult your paediatrician if:

  • The child does not show any improvement after trying these home remedies.
  • You think there is something stuck inside the baby’s nose.
  • The child continues to have a stuffy nose for a long run, which might be due to an allergy or hay fever.

NASOPHARYNGEAL SUCTIONING (NP) – This is done by a medical professional, a respiratory therapist or a doctor in case of:

  • The mucus does not release with bulb syringe or nasal aspirator
  • If the baby has abnormal breathing
  • If the baby is unable to nurse and breathe simultaneously

In this procedure, saline water is used to moisten and loosen the dried mucus. A thin suction tube connected to a suction device is inserted gently into the baby’s nostrils till it touches the back of the throat. This induces coughing and brings the mucus to the back of the throat. Suction is carried out to clear the mucus, and once the passage clears, the tube is pulled out gently from the baby’s nostril. The procedure is repeated as required. Frequent suctioning may lead to mild bleeding in the nose or swelling inside the nose. In such cases, a neo sucker or smaller suction tube may be used.

Conclusion: Use of simple home remedies should be effective in most cases to help ease your baby of a stuffy nose. If it doesn’t improve, consider using a nasal spray or an aspirator. In case of persistent snot, consult your paediatrician at the earliest.