As someone who has struggled with a runny nose and sneezing most of my adult life, I know all-too-well how debilitating it can be.

Whether it’s from allergies, hayfever, or a nasty cold – the effect on your productivity, enjoyment, comfort, and even your relationships make it worth doing whatever it takes to return your nose to normality. 

Here are some tips that have worked wonders for me. I hope they offer you similar relief!

But first – a handy tool for nose blowing and sneeze stifling

While you’re seeking the perfect remedy, you’re going to want something handy to keep that runny nose in check.

Tissues are not just bad for the planet; they can also be very rough on sensitive nasal skin.

In my university days, I switched to handkerchiefs, which were much softer and being reusable, a lot kinder on the environment.

While trying to work out the best way to fold them hygienically, I had the idea for HankyBook.

The super-soft cotton “pages” are ideal for nose blowing and out of control runny noses.

HankyBook for sneezing and runny noses

They fit perfectly in any pocket or bag, and the outer covers prevent germs from spreading!

Try one out – you won’t be sorry.

How to stop a runny nose with home remedies

If you can’t (or don’t want) to go to the doctor or the pharmacy, you’ll be pleased to know that many remedies are actually water-based.

Such as:

A hot shower

That’s right, a beautifully warm shower isn’t just great for the outside of your body, it can also help clear up the inside of a stuffy or runny nose.

Shower singing gif
The singing is optional

The key is steam, which is why a cold shower isn’t going to do much.

Steam will reduce inflammation and thin out mucus in your nasal passages. A short term fix to get some much-needed sinus relief.

Speaking of steam…

If you don’t want or need to take a shower (kudos for not wasting water unnecessarily), then an alternative option is to heat up a bowl of water.

You can get the water to a boil; however, it’s not necessary, and it’s actually better that the water and the steam aren’t too hot.

Lean your head over the bowl with a towel draped over your head and breathe in the steam (through your nose!) deeply.

If you can manage 10-20 minutes, you should start feeling much better.

A solid blow (on your new HankyBook!) after you’re done will help to clear your nasal cavities.

Hydrate the snot away

Another use of water is to simply drink lots of it. By hydrating, you help to think out mucus, making it easier to manage – rather out than in, as they say.

Tea is another great solution – you get the hydration, the steam, and a lovely taste. Personally, I like honey, ginger, chamomile, and lemon.

Food can also help

It’s not just water that can be your nose’s savior – spicy food can have a similarly positive impact. Cook up a nice strong curry and, sure, your nose will be even runnier at first, but it should eventually help to clear your nasal cavity.   

Spicey food gif
Spice is Nice

And if it doesn’t – well you just had a lovely curry.


Pillow fight

What is worse than a runny or blocked nose keeping you up all night?


Nothing is worse.

So, while I would suggest using some of the methods above before bedtime, I also recommend using a second pillow. By raising your head, it will help your sinuses drain.

How to stop sneezing?

Are you in the grip of sneezing fits as well as a runny nose?

Simba sneeze gif
If only all sneezes looked this cute

Well, the first thing to check (sorry about this) is the color and consistency of your mucus. If it is dark and thick, you’ve got a cold.

If it is clear and watery, the culprit is likely allergies.

Pollen and dust are the significant drivers of sneezing and runny noses due to allergies, but food can also be to blame.

Sneezing is your body’s way of getting rid of germs and other irritants like pollen and dust. If you’re interested to learn more about sneezing, Huffpo’s Sneezing Facts article is a good place to learn more.

But if you don’t care about the why and just want to know how to get relief – here are some tips to ease the suffering, particularly during the pollen season.

Stay inside

If the pollen count is high, and the day is warm and windy – you could be in for a day of reaching for your HankyBook every 30 seconds.

Sometimes it’s best just to stay indoors and keep the doors and windows closed.

The mornings through to lunchtime are the worst, so if you must head out into the world, the late afternoon and evening should be a lot friendlier on your poor nose.

Spring clean often

Dust mites and mold are also potentially bothersome to allergy sufferers.

So make sure you dust and clean often, and keep an eye out for moldy spots, particularly in winter.

Mrs Doubtfire cleaning gif

I liked to get easy to clean furniture, which made the cleaning process that much easier. Whether you go that far, it all depends on how badly you’re suffering.

Let’s talk about drugs, baby

Actually, let’s not.

I think all I’ll say is that there is certainly a range of options available if the natural methods aren’t helping.

If you have congestion and cold-like symptoms for like a solid week – please get your butt to the doctor.

There are shots, pills, and nasal sprays that CAN help. Just make sure you follow the doctor’s instructions on how to use it. I remember a nasal spray I used worked wonders – almost immediate relief – but you couldn’t take it for more than a few days. Otherwise, it would damage your nasal cavity and actually making it MORE likely you’d suffer from a runny nose.

Wrapping up

I hope that some of the natural methods bring relief to your stubborn nose.

And of course, that you bin the tissue and give HankyBooks (or even normal hankies) a try.

It was undoubtedly a life-saver for me.