Home Remedies for Colds & Sinus Congestion

The common cold may cause symptoms of coughing, a headache, a sore throat and sinus congestion, says the Mayo Clinic. In most cases, the common cold does not require a doctor’s care and will go away on its own within a week. If it’s okay with your doctor, you can use home remedies to help reduce the symptoms of sinus congestion and the common cold.

Salt Water

Use salt water to help loosen nasal congestion, recommends KidsHealth.com. Purchase saline solution over-the-counter, or make your own by mixing 1/4 tsp. table salt, 1/4 tsp. baking soda and 8 ounces of water in a glass. Use a clean eyedropper to remove a small amount of the solution and apply a few drops into each nostril.

Additionally, you can use salt water to soothe a sore throat that may accompany the common cold. Apply 2 tsp. of salt water into a glass of warm water and take one mouthful of the mixture at a time. Gargle the mouthful of water, then spit it in the sink. Repeat with the rest of the mixture in the glass.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup may help increase the movement of the mucus that causes nasal congestion, says the Mayo Clinic. Additionally, inhaling the steam from chicken soup may help moisten the nasal passages and make breathing easier. Canned and homemade chicken soup are equally effective, although canned chicken soup may contain more sodium than homemade soup. Drink plenty of fluids to hydrate the body after consuming the excess sodium in the soup.


Run a humidifier at night to loosen cough and nasal congestion associated with the common cold, recommends Kids Health. Fill the humidifier with water and place it in the bedroom while you sleep. The humidifier spreads water vapor into the air, which is absorbed into the lungs and nasal passages, making it easier to breathe. If you don’t have a humidifier, inhale steam from the shower or from a bowl of hot water before bedtime.

Turn the Heat Down

Turning the heat down in your house and workplace will help increase moisture in the air, loosening mucus in the chest and making it easier to breathe through the nose. Although turning up the heat may seem more logical when you’re suffering from a cold, cooler air will retain moisture while the dry air from a heater will dry out the nasal passages, says the Mayo Clinic.