Chief Medical Director at SANESolution | Website

Dr. Matthew Olesiak continues to make a significant impact in the medical field through his work at SANESolution and his dedication to evidence-based practices.

How to Clean Your Throat

Here’s how to clean your throat from the comfort of home. At we completely understand that clearing your throat can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. But did you know that phlegm serves an important purpose in protecting your respiratory system?

Discover the ins and outs of phlegm, including why it forms, how to manage it, and when to seek medical help. Dive deeper into your throat health journey by checking out 6 Ways to Maintain Best Throat Hygiene Care in 2024 and How to Gargle with Salt Water for Sore Throat Relief guides!

Learn about home remedies, lifestyle changes, and over-the-counter medications that can help you with “how to clean your throat” and breathe easier. Ready to take control of your throat health? Let’s dive in!

Short Summary

  • Understand the purpose of phlegm and stay hydrated to reduce buildup
  • Utilize home remedies such as throat cleaner, saline nasal spray, warm compresses, steam inhalation, natural expectorants & decongestants to clear throat mucus
  • Take preventive measures like managing allergies & quitting smoking for improved respiratory health

Understanding Phlegm and Its Purpose

How to Clean Your Throat An image of a young person blowing their nose into a tissue.

Phlegm is a thick substance composed primarily of water, salt, and antibodies that serve to capture and remove bacteria and other unwanted microorganisms from the nose and throat.

As phlegm naturally drains, excess phlegm can lead to discomfort and congestion, which is why it’s important to know how to manage it properly.

Yellow or green phlegm is typically caused by a viral infection, while clear phlegm indicates allergies and red (bloody) phlegm may be due to dry air, causing a sore throat.

Forcefully inhaling air through the nose with your mouth closed will pull excess phlegm down onto your tongue and throat muscles, where it can be ejected.

Drinking plenty of fluids and avoiding irritants like pollution and fragrances can also be beneficial for reducing phlegm production and helping to stop excess fluid production.

If thick phlegm persists for more than a week, it’s recommended to seek medical advice for diagnosis and treatment of thick mucus.

Maintaining Proper Hydration

How to Clean Your Throat A cartoon image of a male figure filled with water nearly to his shoulders standing beside a gigantic H2O bottle, signifying that the human body is composed of 70 percent water.

Staying hydrated is essential for mucus thin and reducing phlegm buildup. Drinking enough water helps your body naturally drain phlegm, allowing you to breathe easier and feel more comfortable.

It’s suggested to consume approximately 3.7 liters of water each day to ensure mucus thinning and reduce phlegm buildup.

Saline nasal spray, warm compresses, and steam inhalation may also be beneficial in clearing mucus and relieving throat irritation, helping to pull excess phlegm from the throat.

By staying hydrated and using these remedies, you can effectively manage excess mucus and maintain a clear throat.

Home Remedies for Throat Clearing

An image of a row of medications in pill, tablet, or capsule form on a table.

In addition to staying hydrated, there are plenty of home remedies that can help clear mucus and soothe throat irritation. Some of these remedies include saline nasal spray, warm compresses, and steam inhalation.

We’ll discuss these remedies in more detail in the following subsections.

Saline Nasal Spray

A saline nasal spray is a simple and effective way to manage excess mucus in the throat. It works by thinning the mucus, making it easier to clear from the nasal passages.

Many people find relief from throat irritation and congestion by using saline nasal spray as part of their daily routine.

There are several over-the-counter saline nasal sprays available, but you can also make your own at home using a saline solution.

Simply mix warm water with a pinch of salt and use a bulb syringe or nasal irrigation device to gently flush your nasal passages.

Warm Compresses

Warm compresses can be another effective home remedy for clearing mucus and soothing throat irritation. Applying a warm compress to your throat can help relax the muscles and provide relief from inflammation.

To make a warm compress, simply soak a clean cloth in warm water, wring it out, and place it on your throat for 10-15 minutes.

You can repeat this process several times a day as needed for relief from throat discomfort and mucus buildup.

Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is a widely-used home remedy to help clear the airways and relieve congestion associated with respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, common cold, sinusitis, and other upper respiratory tract infections. Inhaling steam can effectively clear mucus and provide relief from throat irritation.

To perform steam inhalation, fill a bowl with hot water and optionally add a few drops of essential oil like eucalyptus or lavender.

Position your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam. Inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes, taking breaks if needed.

This process can be repeated several times a day to help clear mucus and soothe throat irritation.

Natural Expectorants and Decongestants

Natural expectorants and decongestants like eucalyptus and ginger can be effective in helping to break down mucus and clear airways.

Eucalyptus oil, for example, can be added to a diffuser or a warm bath to assist with clearing the nose and reducing congestion. Ginger, on the other hand, has been known to help combat infections and provide relief from congestion in the airways.

In addition to eucalyptus and ginger, other natural expectorants and decongestants include turmeric, which contains curcumin that helps combat infections and provides relief from congestion in the airways.

By incorporating these natural remedies into your daily routine, you can help manage excess phlegm and maintain clear airways.

Quit Smoking and Avoid Irritants

An image of an ashtray filled with cigarette butts and one lit cigarette.

Quitting smoking and avoiding irritants such as pollution and fragrances can lead to a decrease in phlegm and mucus production.

Smoking cigarettes, in particular, has been observed to increase phlegm production.

Environmental factors such as chemicals, fragrances, and pollution can also lead to irritation of the nose, throat, and lower airways, resulting in increased mucus production by the body.

By reducing exposure to these irritants, the body naturally produces less phlegm and mucus.

By ceasing smoking and avoiding irritants, you can help lower phlegm and mucus production, ultimately improving your respiratory health and overall well-being.

Learning how to get rid of phlegm can be an essential step in achieving better health.

Dietary Tips for Reducing Mucus

An image of a serving bowl of salad greens surrounded by small bowls of toppings, including blueberries, tomatoes, mushrooms, and green grapes.

Incorporating certain foods into your diet can help reduce mucus levels. Foods such as pineapple, onions, and garlic have been known to help decrease mucus production.

Additionally, avoiding alcohol and caffeine can prevent dehydration and excessive phlegm.

It’s also important to be aware of potential food allergies that may contribute to increased mucus production. Foods like eggs, wheat, dairy, tree nuts, and gluten can cause allergies and result in increased mucus production.

By making conscious dietary choices, you can effectively manage mucus levels and maintain a clear throat.

Proper Coughing Technique

A cartoon image of a man coughing into a tissue.

Learning and practicing proper coughing techniques can help clear phlegm without causing further irritation.

The recommended coughing technique involves sitting on a chair with both feet on the floor, taking a slow, deep breath through your nose, leaning forward slightly, and coughing twice with two short coughs.

When inhaling, lean forward, press your arms against your abdomen, cough 2-3 times through a slightly open mouth, and make the coughs short and sharp.

Additionally, it’s important to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.

Adopting proper coughing techniques can be beneficial in clearing phlegm without causing additional irritation, ultimately improving your throat health and overall comfort.

Over-the-Counter Medications

An image of gel capsules spilling out of a pill bottle onto a table.

Over-the-counter medications like expectorants and decongestants can help clear mucus and alleviate congestion. Expectorants, such as guaifenesin, help reduce excess mucus buildup and are widely used to clear the airways. Decongestants, on the other hand, help reduce nasal congestion by drying secretions and providing relief from a runny nose.

Mucinex and Robitussin are two commonly used over-the-counter mucus thinners that are known to be effective in reducing mucus. Be sure to follow the instructions on the packaging and consult your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about using these medications.

Preventive Measures and Lifestyle Changes

An image of a young woman sitting cross-legged on a yoga matter with eyes closed in meditation.

In addition to the remedies and techniques discussed above, adopting preventive measures and lifestyle changes can help reduce phlegm and mucus production. Managing allergies, using a humidifier to maintain proper humidity levels, and following a healthy diet are all effective ways to prevent excess mucus and maintain a clear throat.

A dry environment can lead to an increase in the buildup and thickness of phlegm, so using a humidifier can help mitigate this issue. Additionally, seasonal allergies can result in increased production of mucus and phlegm, so it’s important to manage allergies and avoid allergens whenever possible.

When to Seek Medical Help

If phlegm persists or worsens despite home remedies and over-the-counter treatments, it’s important to seek medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment. It may be beneficial to seek medical help if symptoms persist after a few days or if there are emergency symptoms such as difficulty breathing. Additionally, chronic throat clearing should be evaluated by a medical professional.

For those experiencing ongoing allergies or infections or with severe allergies, a visit to a doctor may be necessary. Severe allergies can be a serious issue and should not be taken lightly. In some cases, it might even require professional medical attention. Similarly, sinus infections may need to be treated with antibiotics. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your throat health.


In conclusion, understanding phlegm and its purpose, maintaining proper hydration, using home remedies, practicing proper coughing techniques, and making lifestyle changes can all help manage excess phlegm and mucus production. By adopting these strategies, you can take control of your throat health, breathe easier, and live a more comfortable life. Remember, if symptoms persist or worsen, don’t hesitate to seek medical help for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you clear a dirty throat?

To clear a dirty throat, gargle with warm salt water and drink plenty of liquids to loosen congestion and thin mucus.

Take long, hot showers in a steamy bathroom to help clear out the mucus, as well as drink a cup of tea with lemon and honey.

Why do I feel like I have mucus stuck in my throat?

Postnasal drip can lead to a tickle in the back of your throat and may cause you to feel like there is mucus stuck in your throat. This condition can be bothersome and may lead to chronic coughing.

What is the purpose of phlegm?

Phlegm serves as the body’s natural defense against bacteria and other microorganisms, trapping them in its thick substance of water, salt, and antibodies to help keep our nose and throat healthy.

It is a vital part of our immune system, helping to protect us from infection and illness.

How can I maintain proper hydration to reduce phlegm buildup?

Make sure to drink 3.7 liters of water daily in order to keep your mucus thin and reduce phlegm buildup.

What home remedies can help clear mucus and soothe throat irritation?

Saline nasal spray, warm compresses, and steam inhalation can help clear mucus and provide relief for throat irritation.

Chief Medical Director at SANESolution | Website

Dr. Matthew Olesiak continues to make a significant impact in the medical field through his work at SANESolution and his dedication to evidence-based practices.