white stuffy mucus in the nose

White sticky mucus in the nose – Causes and Treatments

If you have ever blown your nose or sneezed and seen a white sticky mucus in the nose, then you might be concerned. It is perfectly normal in most cases.

Your body produces more than a liter of mucus every day whether you’re healthy or fighting off a cold.

Its main function is to trap bacteria, allergens such as dust or pollen, and viruses in your nose and prevent them from spreading through your body and making you sick.

The mucus can vary in consistency and color. When the texture of your mucus changes and you begin to see it, it might be indicative of your state of health or a sign of what is going on inside you.

This article will discuss what causes white sticky mucus found in the nose, what causes it and ways it can be treated or even prevented.

What causes white sticky mucus in the nose

As stated earlier, your body produces more than a liter of mucus every day whether you’re healthy or fighting off a cold. Its main function is to trap bacteria, allergens such as dust or pollen, and viruses in your nose and prevent them from spreading through your body and making you sick.

Most times, mucus flows freely through your sinus passages clearing out dust, pollutants, and bacteria. 

From here, the mucus passes down through your throat and into your stomach, where any irritants or bacteria are disposed of.

You don’t need to worry as this is a natural process. When this happens, most people usually swallow the mucus all day without even knowing it. 

Below are some of the causes of the white sticky mucus in your nose. 

Infections in the upper respiratory system

Excess mucus is produced due to bacteria and viral infections. This excess mucus flushes out the bacteria that is causing the infection as your body tries to fight it off.

When this occurs, your mucus becomes white and in severe cases yellow or even green as your body tries to trap the infection, thus, producing pus. 


Rhinosinusitis occurs when one or more of the sinuses (air-filled spaces) adjacent to the nasal cavity get inflamed. These sinuses drain into the nasal cavity.

Following a cold, the sinuses become filled with nasal secretions, which cease to flow because the hair-like projections from the surfaces of the cells lining the sinuses are not able to move these secretions. 


Another cause of white sticky mucus in the nose is allergies. They cause your sinus to work overtime and make excess mucus to clean out the allergens.

Mucus production in excess can result in sticky, rubbery pieces of mucus collecting toward the back of your throat and inside your nose.


When your body becomes dehydrated, your sinuses will not have enough water content to lubricate and keep your mucus at a thinner consistency.

Sometimes strenuous exercise, excessive sweating, and spending time outside in hot temperatures can quickly dehydrate your body, leading to thick, rubbery mucus.

Treatment for white stuffy mucus in the nose

The treatment of this condition depends on the causality. For example, bacterial causes may require a warm compress, herbal tea, and/or some antibiotics when necessary.

Let’s look at the various causes and their treatments. 

Treating allergies leading to stuffy mucus 

If the cause of your white sticky mucus is allergies, then you might want to try a nasal steroid or antihistamine. Avoiding your allergy triggers is also another way of treating or managing these symptoms.

Treating rhinosinusitis leading to stuffy mucus in the nose

The symptoms may resolve in 2 to 3 weeks but analgesics (pain killers) for relief of pain and oral or nasal decongestants to remove the nasal secretions can be tried.

Antibiotics are routinely not recommended unless you are exhibiting signs of systemic illness, you are at risk of complications due to underlying medical conditions, or your symptoms have persisted for at least 10 days. 

Treatment option when dehydration leads to stuffy mucus in the nose 

For dehydration causes, drinking more water and limiting the amount of time spent inhaling dry air can also help treat white sticky mucus in the nose. 

Bacterial infections causing stuffy mucus in the nose

For bacterial infections, home remedies like a warm compress and herbal teas can also be used as treatment.

You can also try over-the-counter decongestants like pseudoephedrine. In case your symptoms of sticky, hard mucus persist for more than a few days, call your doctor. He or she may prescribe oral antibiotics to help you fight the infection and breathe easier.

How to prevent white sticky mucus in your nose. 

Below are tips you can try to prevent white sticky mucus in your nose

Drinking more water can help give your sinuses more water content to keep them lubricated. It also gives your sinuses more to work with as your body produces mucus. Ensuring proper hydration could resolve your symptoms quickly.

Wearing a nose mask can also help. If you are constantly exposed to pollutants and air of poor quality, it is recommended that you try wearing a nose mask anytime you find yourself in that situation. This will help prevent your mucus from becoming thick and sticky. 

If you are an avid smoker, then you should try quitting. Smoking cigarettes can make your mucus stickier. Quitting can help reduce your symptoms. 

The takeaway from this article

It is normal to have a whitish sticky mucus once in a while. It is caused by normal day-to-day activities and it is easily treatable and preventable.

However, if this condition persists, you should speak to your doctor in order to determine the cause and get proper treatment. 


Michael Sarfo
Content Creator at Wapomu

Michael Sarfo is a graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon. He is a content creator for enochkabange.com and a writer for Wapomu

Dr. Solomon Kwesi Otchere (Pharmacist)

Dr. Solomon Kwesi Otchere is a Pharmacist by profession in Ghana. He is passionate about informed healthy lifestyle and diet options necessary for preventing many disease conditions. He also empowers patients and clients to make savvy choices on medications needful to promote good health.

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