Post-Nasal Drip Treatment

Home Remedies, Medications, and More

Post-nasal drip treatment often includes things you can do at home. The common cold, a sinus infection, or allergies can cause post-nasal drip. Finding the right post-nasal drip treatment will depend on why you have the condition.

This article will go over post-nasal drip treatments you can do at home as well as when you should talk to your provider about post-nasal drip treatment.

Home Remedies & Lifestyle

There are several all-natural remedies you can use for mild cases of post-nasal drip. However, know that there is a lack of research on using home remedies to treat post-nasal drip and they should not be used in place of medical care from your provider.

Post-nasal drip remedies

Verywell / Jessica Olah

Stay Hydrated

One of the easiest treatments for post-nasal drip is simply making sure that you're getting enough fluid throughout the day.

Having thick mucus can be uncomfortable and can affect your breathing. Thinning out the mucus can reduce blockages and lower your risk of sinus or ear infections. Drinking enough fluids will help keep the mucus thin.

Checking the color of your urine is an easy way to tell if you're hydrated enough. Your urine should be a pale yellow ("straw") color. Darker urine can be a sign of dehydration.

Don't Smoke (and Quit if You Do)

If you experience post-nasal drip, quitting smoking may treat the condition.

The chemicals in cigarettes can irritate your nasal passages and cause mucus to build up. This is the case whether you are a smoker or are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Not only is cigarette smoke an irritant, but it has been found to interrupt our body's natural process of clearing our airways.

Use a Humidifier

A post-nasal drip treatment that requires a little more investment is buying a cool mist humidifier for your home.

Dry air can worsen postnasal drip symptoms. The mist from a humidifier helps to moisten the tissues inside your sinuses and thin the secretions.

Sip on Soup

Chicken soup is one of the oldest sniffles remedies in the book, but it can also be a home treatment for post-nasal drip.

Studies have shown that chicken soup may have some anti-inflammatory effects if you have a cold, especially if it has herbs and spices.

However, the real benefits of the "treatment" might actually come more from how nice it feels to be taken care of by someone who makes a comforting bowl of soup for us.

Take a Hot Shower

Try hopping in a hot shower if your post-nasal drip symptoms are acting up. Some people find that the steam helps to decongest their sinuses. The warm air can also help moisturize dry sinuses and airways.

Dust and Vacuum Regularly

A post-nasal drip treatment for your home, rather than your body, is simply keeping things clean—especially if allergies are causing your symptoms.

Dusting and vacuuming your house regularly can help manage year-round allergens like animal dander, dust mites, mold, and cockroaches.

Over-the-Counter Post-Nasal Drip Treatment

You can get over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for post-nasal drip at the pharmacy without a prescription.


  • Antihistamines block inflammation from an allergic reaction. There are older antihistamines like Benadryl (diphenhydramine) and newer non-drowsy ones like Zyrtec (cetirizine) and Allegra (fexofenadine).
  • Decongestants constrict the blood vessels in the sinuses, which helps reduce swelling and stuffiness. Sudafed (pseudoephedrine) and Sudafed PE (phenylephrine) are OTC decongestants.
  • Glucocorticoid nasal sprays includes medications like Flonase Allergy or Rhinocort that help to lower inflammation.

Saline Nasal Mist

A saline nasal spray as a post-nasal drip treatment can be very helpful because it directly moisturizes your sinuses and thins secretions.

Saline is more like the natural fluids in your body and it has no medication—it's just salt and water.

Neti Pot

Some people use a neti pot as a home treatment for post-nasal drip.

Nasal irrigation involves using a sterile salt-water rinse to clear your nasal passages. A neti pot is a useful tool for this purpose. It's usually made of ceramic or plastic and looks like a flattened teapot.

Irrigating your sinuses may help with post-nasal drip if you have chronic sinusitis and allergies—especially if you use saline (for example, in products like syringes, squeeze bottles, and neti pots).

Use a sterile saline solution for the rinse. Do not use tap water or any liquid that is not sterile in your neti pot.

To use a neti pot to treat post-nasal drip:

  1. Tilt your head to the side and make sure your head is low enough that your sinuses are lower than your throat
  2. Put the spout of the neti pot into your nostril
  3. Slowly pour the saline gently into one side of the nose and let it flow out the other

Salt Water Gargle

Similar to rinsing your nose, doing a salt water gargle can help treat post-nasal drip.

Gargling with warm salt water may help clear mucus from the back of your throat. It's also a classic home remedy for a sore throat.

Similar to how rinsing your nose with a saline rinse is helpful, salt water mouth rinses and gargles can help moisturize tissues because the liquid is more like the ones our body makes naturally.

To make a saltwater rinse at home, just stir 1 teaspoon of salt into 8 fluid ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm water. The water does not need to be sterile like it does with a neti pot.

When to See a Healthcare Provider

Treatments for post-nasal drip that you can do at home might help your symptoms, but if they don't, you'll need to get medical treatment.

If you're dealing with post-nasal drip, call your provider if:

  • You have trouble breathing because you're congested
  • You have new symptoms or your symptoms are getting worse
  • You have a fever, severe sinus pain, or other signs of an infection such as green mucus


You can often treat post-nasal drip at home with remedies like doing salt water rinses, using a neti pot, and taking over-the-counter medications. It also helps to stay hydrated, keep the air in your home from getting too dry, and clean regularly to prevent allergens from building up.

If your post-nasal drip is becoming a chronic problem rather than an occasional annoyance, home remedies may not be enough to treat it. You'll want to see your provider. They can help you find a better post-nasal drip treatment that addresses the cause of your symptoms.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How long does post-nasal drip last?

    How long post-nasal drip lasts depends on what's causing it. For example, a viral infection like a cold will probably clear up in a week or so, while allergies can cause ongoing symptoms of post-nasal drip.

  • What does post-nasal drip feel like?

    The glands in your nose and throat make mucus to moisten your nasal membranes and fight off infection. Sometimes, they make too much and the discharge runs down your throat—that's post-nasal drip. When too much mucus builds up, you can have symptoms of post-nasal drip like:

    • A sensation of liquid dripping from the back of your nose and into your throat
    • Cough that tends to worsen at night and/or when you're lying down
    • Sore throat
    • Tickling, scratchy, or itchy sensation at the back of your throat
    • Hoarse voice
  • How do you stop post-nasal drip cough?

    The best way to stop the cough from post-nasal drip is to treat what's causing it. Thinning mucus, moisturizing your airways, and relieving throat irritation will help reduce symptoms from post-nasal drip, including a cough.

  • Why does post-nasal drip cause sore throat?

    The frequent mucus drainage of post-nasal drip is irritating to your throat, as is coughing and clearing your throat a lot. The germs or allergens that trigger post-nasal drip can also irritate your throat directly.

  • Is Zyrtec or Claritin better for post-nasal drip?

    The best OTC medication for post-nasal drip will depend on your symptoms and preferences.

    Both Zyrtec and Claritin can relieve allergy symptoms and last for about the same amount of time. Zyrtec tends to work faster than Claritin but it can also make you feel sleepier.

  • How do you sleep with post nasal drip?

    If your post-nasal drip is bothering you at night, try sleeping propped up with some pillows under your head. This will let gravity do some of the work keeping the fluid draining instead of getting stuck at the back of your throat.

  • What foods make post nasal drip worse?

    Some people find that dairy products like milk and yogurt make their post-nasal drip worse. If it seems like some foods and beverages are causing you to have post-nasal drip, it might actually be a sign that you have another condition like a food allergy or acid reflux.

11 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 Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.