Some effective home remedies provide relief from congestion by keeping the nasal passages moist, such as saline nasal sprays, breathing in steam and nasal irrigation, according to WebMD. Others, such as salves that contain menthol, eucalyptus and camphor applied under the nose, help by physically opening nasal passages.
Irrigating the nasal passages with a solution of purified water and salt washes out mucous along with any allergens, virus particles and bacteria, according to WebMD, and is done using a neti pot, an oral medicine syringe or a bulb syringe. Homemade saline spray also washes away allergens, while thinning mucous and alleviating inflammation, states Dr. Oz. Make saline solutions and nasal sprays using iodine-free salt, purified water and baking soda.
Drinking plenty of liquids also thins the mucous, helping to alleviate congestion, states WebMD. Taking a hot shower, carefully breathing in steam over a pot of hot water, eating hot soup and drinking hot tea all help alleviate congestion. Dr. Oz notes that drinking hot mint tea combines the effects of steam, liquids and menthol. Using a humidifier at night and sleeping propped up on extra pillows helps keep nasal passages open. See a doctor for congestion that lasts more than seven days, to treat the underlying cause rather than just treating the symptoms, recommends WebMD.