Natural Home Remedies for Postnasal Drip

Some natural home remedies for postnasal drip include avoiding certain foods that thicken mucus, using a neti pot, trying aromatherapy, and staying hydrated.

This article goes over some natural ways to relieve postnasal drip at home, as well as when you should seek medical treatment.

Woman using a nasal spray - stock photo

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What Is Postnasal Drip?

Postnasal drip occurs when the mucus your body produces becomes abnormally thick or thin and you feel it draining down the back of your throat.

It's natural and normal for mucus to drip down like this. However, you don't notice it as long as it's the right consistency.

Conditions that often cause or contribute to postnasal drip include:

These symptoms can be caused by allergies or cold viruses. Postnasal drip can also occur with hormonal changes such as during pregnancy or as a side effect of certain medications.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Postnasal drip is not always a cause for concern and can often be handled at home. However, you should see a healthcare provider if:

  • Your postnasal drip lasts longer than a few weeks
  • You have difficulty swallowing
  • You feel like you're choking
  • You suspect a bacterial infection
Illustration of woman with a reddened nose resting her head on her hand. Text on image reads: Post-Nasal Drip Remedies: Try a saline nasal mist; stay hydrated; gargle with warm salt water; avoid cigarette smoke; try a neti pot; use a humidifier or vaporizer
 Verywell / Jessica Olah

Remedies For Thick Mucus

The following home remedies are most helpful if you have thick mucus:

  • Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated can thin the thickened mucus. Avoid drinking dehydrating beverages, such as anything with caffeine or alcohol.
  • Use a humidifier: You may want to put a humidifier next to your bed at night or take hot, steamy showers. To loosen the thick mucus, breathe warm, moist air. A cool mist humidifier (vs. warm mist) is helpful if you have inflammation in your throat or nasal passageways.
  • Use over-the-counter (OTC) treatments: A saline nasal spray can loosen thick mucus and clear the debris from inside your nose. You can use these OTC sprays throughout the day as needed.
  • Try a neti pot: A neti pot is a small and simple device for nasal irrigation. While most studies on neti pots have shown positive results, at least one study showed that the regular use of neti pots may increase your risk of getting a sinus infection. Avoid using a neti pot regularly if you think you have a sinus infection or are prone to getting them.
  • Avoid dairy products: While dairy doesn't cause your body to make mucus, it may make it thicker.

Unless advised by your provider, limit your use of a neti pot to just once per week when you're not experiencing any infections or symptoms. Be sure to use distilled water, not tap water.

Remedies For Thin, Watery Mucus

If you have thin, watery mucus, try these home remedies for postnasal drip:

  • Eat spicy foods: The chili peppers used in Thai or Indian food and Japanese horseradish, or wasabi, can help clear up thin mucus because they are expectorants. The spiciness of the ingredients encourages your body to expel mucus.
  • Drink plenty of water: Just as it helps with thick mucus, staying hydrated will help with thin mucus, too.
  • Avoid spending a lot of time in cold temperatures: For example, avoid exercising outside in the cold. Lower temperatures encourage your body to make more mucus.


Aromatherapists use essential oils to help clear out the mucus causing postnasal drip. There are several ways to inhale the vapors, including through the air with use of a vaporizer or diffuser, or by putting a few drops on a small cloth and breathing in.

Common essential oils for congestion that may help with postnasal drip include:

  • Peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Fennel

Avoid using essential oils around infants, young children, or pets. You also should not use them if you have an underlying lung condition that could be made worse by inhaling these oils. Never ingest essential oils.

Some home remedies might be helpful if you have postnasal drip, even if you're not sure what the cause is. You might be able to use these treatments along with a prescription from your provider, but make sure to ask them first.


You might be able to treat mild postnasal drip at home by avoiding foods that trigger your symptoms, staying hydrated, using a saline spray or neti pot, and trying aromatherapy. If these natural remedies don’t help, talk to your provider about managing your symptoms. 

15 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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By Kristin Hayes, RN
Kristin Hayes, RN, is a registered nurse specializing in ear, nose, and throat disorders for both adults and children.