New library article on Nasal Irrigations

Studies on nasal complaints in patients with ectodermal dysplasias have shown that although structurally things appear relatively normal inside the nose, patients often have problems with dryness, crusting and rhinoliths. You may call them “nasal rocks”, concretions or simply big boogers!

A mom holds a nasal rock from her toddler with HED after nasal irrigations
We don’t want to be gross but did want to show you what one mother shared with her us after she did nasal irrigations on her toddler son who has x-linked hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. This can be the type of think mucous that can lead to crusting and be foul smelling. This is why nasal irrigations are important!

Many parents have expressed great difficulties in managing their children’s concretions and crusting in our private Facebook group for families affected by hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia. Hard nasal “rocks” can grow to tremendous size requiring frequent removal, both by parents and healthcare professionals.

We have a new library article titled “Nasal Irrigations” written by Dr. Brandon Hopkins to help you manage at home the symptoms and complications caused by the concretions. He is a pediatric ear-nose-throat doctor (otolaryngologist) at Cleveland Clinic Head and Neck Institute who also serves on our Scientific Advisory Council. He shares in the article proper techniques on nasal irrigation and nasal rinses.

Importance of Removal

Nasal crusting is caused by abnormal mucus production or excessive accumulation. The mucus is thick and does not drain normally. Large crusts may form which may interfere with breathing or emit a foul odor. Parents frequently report these odors from their children’s noses.

My son is 12 and uses a Neti Pot. You won’t believe what comes out of his sinuses. Seriously, I’ve never considered that something so large could be inhabiting my son’s sinuses . . . know that it IMMEDIATELY takes away the smell.–CH

While the formation of these rocks or concretions seems to improve with age, problems with nasal obstruction and crusting commonly do persist in to adulthood. They are also predisposed to frequent sinus infections.

Saline Solutions

Dr. Hopkins recommends a recipe for a salt water rinse in his article on nasal irrigations. Perform rinses regularly to improve blockage and dryness symptoms. Many of our parents can attest that rinses are very effective in dislodging these blockages.

When my boys get stuffy, we will use repeated gentle saline misting every few minutes to really soften things up, and then it is easier to extract anything built up in there. Sometimes it will just pour out if they lay down for a bit. –RS

One parent said she made it a point to always irrigate her daughter’s nose before dental visits. Doing this helped her daughter breathe better when the dentist was working in her mouth!

Dr. Hopkins recommends that parents do not forcibly hold down their children when preforming these rinses. Instead, consider allowing your child to be in a sitting or standing position. This will make the nasal irrigations easier and more effective for both your child and yourself. Your child will be grateful for the experience and its effects.

We have now gotten to the point that we do a Neti Pot every night before bed, and it is amazing how clear his nose is! Pretty much every time we do the Neti Pot, we get concretions out and afterword my son says, “I CAN BREATHE! –MP

Alternative Nasal Irrigations

You might also consider using humidification to remove the nasal rocks. We recommend using cold humidification because it is safer to use cold steam than hot steam. Children can pull over the hot humidifier and subsequently acquire bad burns.

Swimming and bathing can also provide relief. Parents report that when their children soak in a bath or swim in a pool, it helped nasal irrigations to occur naturally.

Sound Off

Learn more from Dr. Hopkins’ article about how often you should irrigate, the benefits, recipe and proper method. What have you found to be helpful to clear out the nasal rocks? Tell us in the comments below! We aim to ensure that all of your health needs are being met and to keep you updated on all the latest information.

Download How to Irrigate Your Nose

54 comments on “Nasal Irrigations Prevent and Treat Crusting”

  1. 1
    Elizabeth Reed on October 27, 2019

    I am almost 70 yrold female. I have been to Dr numerous times with a horrible taste in my mouth. Mostly during the night and especially upon waking in the morning. Sometimes so bad during the night I need to get up and rinse my mouth out. It feels like it comes from the back of my throat area.I have dry crusties in the morning like bits and pieces. Phlegem upon waking too. These conditions are not evident during the day so think it has something to do with my lying down in bed. Have had numerous scripts of Nasonex but does very little if anything. Just purchased a neti pot and not seeing a lot of difference. Please advise

    1. 2
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on October 28, 2019

      Hello. Thanks for reaching out with your question. Are you affected by ectodermal dysplasia and if so, which type? This might help us better understand what could possibly be causing your issue. Thanks, Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  2. 3
    Sue Peterson on December 19, 2019

    Try Nasaline syringe – much easier and less messy than Neti-pot. I am 67 yrs old and had sinus issues all my life until my ENT performed in-ofc sinuplasty. He prescribed compound Gentamicin & Budesonide capsules in the saline solution from Advanced RX, Plymouth Meeting, Pa. morning and night.

    1. 4
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on January 2, 2020

      Thank you for sharing what has worked for you. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

    2. 5
      Janine DeSimone on September 21, 2020

      I know this is old, but I have a deviated septum. I am a mouth breather and it’s uncomfortable and gross. I use a Neti pot, it doesn’t work. You mentioned something in office. Could that help with my problem. I live very close to Plymouth Meeting if you like your dr., please share. I’ve never had a good ENT. I’ve tried and gave up.

    3. 6
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on September 28, 2020

      Hi, Sue. Sorry to hear you continue to have issues. We are not in a position to be able to say if a particular treatment would work in your case. We encourage you to keep trying other ENTs to see if you can find answers. I’m sure you are frustrated but keep asking. You might consider treatment at local university, as perhaps they would have a team that could help you. Good luck! ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  3. 7
    Ken Boyd on January 6, 2020

    Should you switch nostril sides eg: do the right side then do the left side?

    1. 8
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on January 7, 2020

      Hi, Ken. If you download Dr. Hopkins’ article, you can read more about what he suggests you do for treatment. Good luck! ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  4. 9
    Dianna Woods on March 4, 2020

    I was referred to Virginia Mason and later to University of Washington, both in Seattle. Had to have a serious sinus surgery to get rid of infection. ENTs at both hospitals recommended using Ponaris drops to prevent dry crusting. It helps a lot but I had to order it through Walgrens since no one carried it in my city. Hope this is helpful.

    1. 10
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on March 4, 2020

      Hi, Dianna. Thank you for sharing what has worked for you. Hope your surgery was a success and you are infection free! ~ Jodi, Director, Marketing and Communications, NFED

  5. 11
    Denise on March 8, 2020

    Hello, I’ve been dealing with a very foul smelly odor coming from my right nostril. It started in 2009 from a failed root canal treatment that wasn’t discovered by CT scans by the dentist. It was discovered by a cone beam scan from the endodontist in 2016 that showed build up of infection in my right nasal cavity. The tooth was retreated..then later removed. I’ve been to 3 different ENT doctors and they all say my sinuses are clear. And antibiotics, nor medicated nasal rinses, steroids have helped me. I get nasal crusting, backed up drainage that sometimes comes out after neti pot…but the smell remains. It has ruined my social life. What can I do?

    1. 12
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on March 9, 2020

      Hi, Denise. We are sorry to hear about the issues you have been having. What type of ectodermal dysplasia do you have? ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

    2. 13
      Memma White on September 14, 2020

      My problem parallel yours so much that I wish you and I could communicate about what types of treatment options to pursue. I also had a cracked tooth that became infected and perforated into my sinus cavities. My dentists ignored my complaints until I switched dentists. The new dentist saw the crack in my tooth with a laser beam. Even after the tooth was extracted, the tonsil stones and foul odor remained. After diagnosing my condition as Vasomotor rhinitis, my present ENT doctor just threw up her hands and said that I have to live with it. I use nasal irrigations constantly to no avail. I have used saline and alkalol to no avail and would like to expand my treatment options. Antibiotics don’t seem to help at all. Like you, my social and professional life is in tatters. I am still looking for other solutions. Just to let you know, you are not alone. If you have any desire to share your thoughts and options privately, please PM me and I will respond. Wish you the best of luck. Thanks. Memma.

  6. 14
    Angela Heard on April 1, 2020

    I am a 46 year old female and about 2 1/2 years ago the inside of my nose started crusting over. When I saw 2 different ENT doctors they both tried using tweezers to pull it out but couldn’t . One ENT doctor did biopsy of the inside of my nose. The biopsy said it was inflammation. So I had to go to a dermatologist. She gave me some facial cleanser. Still didn’t help. I didn’t get diagnosed with anything. With my biopsy showing inflammation doesn’t that mean something else is causing it?

    1. 15
      Mary Fete on April 1, 2020

      Hi Angela,
      boy that is a good question. Why don’t you discuss your biopsy results with both the ENT and Dermatologist? Please keep us posted if you learn anything that would help other families. I hope this crusting (your skin dried in your nose) resolves soon. It must be uncomfortable. Did your ENT recommend nasal irrigation to loosen the crusting? Keep me posted. Please stay safe and healthy during this challenging time. Mary, NFED Executive Director.

  7. 16
    Angela Heard on April 1, 2020

    Forgot to tell that the crust turned out to be my skin.

    1. 17
      Patricia F Neyman on September 29, 2020

      Could you expand on this what do you mean, your skin? I am trying to figure out the reason for my own crusting.

  8. 18
    Boll Driscoll on April 13, 2020

    How much Salt can I use for my Sinus Rinse made by NeilMed

    1. 19
      Mary Fete on April 14, 2020

      Hi Boll,
      Check out this article on the NFED website… you will find everything you need to know.
      Please let me know if you have other questions. Take care during this stressful time. Mary, NFED Executive Director.

  9. 20
    louis Farkas on May 2, 2020

    I lost instructions. How much water, salt to use in Neti pot

    1. 21
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on May 4, 2020

      Hi, Louis. You can find the instructions in this article: Good luck!

    2. 22
      s.k. karra on July 15, 2020

      put the salt in right amount. if it is too much your nose will burn and if it is less you can’t put the water in your nose. first warm the water not too much hot just you can put in your nose. Then add salt which is right for you. you have to little tilt the head one side. I am doing it this nati kriya from last fifty five years.minimum 250ml in one side.

  10. 23
    Urael on May 9, 2020

    Hi, I’m 34 years and I’ve been experiencing nasal congestion and crusting for 8months. I often blow out hard mucus substance from my nose with difficulty. Please I need help on how to treat myself. Thanks

    1. 24
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on May 11, 2020

      We are sorry to hear about the issues you are facing. We encourage you to download the article mentioned in the blog. Follow those steps in irrigating our nose daily and this may help you.

  11. 25
    Lyra Regala on May 10, 2020

    hi, i’m 23 yrs old. I’ve been experiencing a lot of mocus sicreation in a day. I am diagnosed with chronic sinusitis, and atrophic rhinitis. Please help me on how to treat myself. Thank you.

    1. 26
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on May 11, 2020

      Hello. ARe you affected by an ectodermal dysplasia that is causing your sinus issues? We always recommend that you talk with your doctor for how to best treat your personal symptoms. We offered the tips in this article for anyone with nasal crusting who has ectodermal dysplasia. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

    2. 27
      Susan on July 7, 2020

      I am sorry to hear that. You can try drinking ginger water. It is known to help get rid of mucus. Hope that helps.

  12. 28
    Edward Dean on May 28, 2020

    Hi, when I sneeze the smell of the moisture that comes out smells really bad. What it the best way to eliminate this issue? Thanks.

    1. 29
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on May 28, 2020

      Hi, Edward. Irrigating your nose on a regular basis may help. The article outlines how to do that. We would encourage you to consult your physician and ask. – Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  13. 30
    Edward Dean on May 30, 2020

    Thank you Jodi. I did a neti pot rinse yesterday. I mixed sea salt, baking soda and Xylitol in some warm distilled water. My nose felt much better and I didn’t wake up with a stuffy nose. Felt clear this morning. Thanks

    1. 31
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on June 2, 2020

      Glad you got some relief! Jodi

  14. 32
    Edward Dean on June 2, 2020

    Thank you Jodi. 🙂

  15. 33
    Nina on June 4, 2020

    I’m 39 yr out have blk crust in n around my nasal passage in both nostil how do I stop it from crusting again

    1. 34
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on June 4, 2020

      Hi, Nina. We would encourage you to talk to your doctor about what you are experiencing. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  16. 35
    Philip Bruno on July 13, 2020

    Hi I have suffered with sinus issues since 2005 have had a couple infections along the way, about 6 yrs ago I had to go to emergency room my nose was so dry it felt sharp spikes in my nose, have to 3 or 4 Ents all of them were absolutely worthless, just a couple days ago I had my 4th or 5th sinus ct scan there was some mucosanal thickening in ethmoid sinus as well as thickening in some other sinuses but the one thing I have noticed again was a septal spur which I read can cause dryness is that true, because I realized recently that NY sinus issues started around the time I got hit in face with basketball, I did not break anything but I read spurs are usually caused by trauma. I have tried everything nothing works salt rinsed increases dryness and even when something works it comes back within a few hrs, one last thing I also have sleep apnea can that contribute to dryness. Thank You sorry for such along question but it has been a complete nightmare the last 15 yrs.

    1. 36
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on July 14, 2020

      Hi, Philip. Are you affected by ectodermal dysplasia? Our organization and this article was intended for people born with this condition. Unfortunately, we are not able to answer your question as we don’t know the answer. We would encourage you to keep searching for a physician who can provide you answers. Sorry to hear about all of our issues and we hope you find relief and treatment. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  17. 37
    climatecool on July 28, 2020

    Amazing post with lots of useful information.
    Thanks for posting.

    1. 38
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on August 4, 2020

      You are welcome.

  18. 39
    Paul on August 7, 2020

    Within the past couple of months I was suffering from nasal crustiness inside and around top of nostrils. This occurred after experiencing dried bloody build up upon waking in the morning. I mentioned it to my dermatologist at my semi annual visit. She recommended twice a day application of mupirocin ointment 2 times day for 7-10 days. Crustiness stopped after 1st application of mupirocin

    1. 40
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on August 10, 2020

      Glad you found something that worked for you, Paul. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

    2. 41
      Memma White on September 14, 2020

      Hi Paul,
      Thank you for providing this solution to the community. Could you kindly tell me how you apply mupirocin ointment in your nostrils? As a thickened ointment, how do you liquefy it for entering into your sinus cavities? Thank you.

  19. 42
    Adrain on September 7, 2020

    Hey this is adrain Lozano I just found out I think my nose is swollen and it when I touch my nose inside it feels hard and sharp like if does not feel soft and u know what I mean by my right side and left side of my nose between my 👃 but worse part of it is I can’t sleep very well it’s also making me feel anxious so but I am going get a docters test around Tuesday but more like this week wensday sometime like that it sucks I gotta wait and it feels like I’m going to lilltery lose my breathing and just collapse or even die but I’m not going to beause I am still breathing but it’s just harder to breath but all I can do is calm down and feel realx till I get this thing gone so what kind of things should I do so I can get my nose feeling again better and I heard it’s mucas that’s causing it. I also when I touch it it feels hard like a rock and I took medince for it I thought at first it was my breathing but no it wasn’t it was my nose making my breathing case if me breath barley and making feel anxiety so I pray god to help me and it seems to work but I gotta find a way to get this hard Muscat’s out of me or whatver it is like NASAL IRRIGATION also it is under the skin I think I’m not sure what to do so like when I touch it feels like hard and yeah but what can help me so I can get this done asp beause I’m worried it’s going get worser I’m also 18 and I just want this to be quicker if not then I’m going have struggling breathing. Please help

    1. 43
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on September 8, 2020

      Hi, Adrain. I’m so sorry to hear about your difficulties. It sounds like you are doing the right thing by seeing a doctor. He/she will be able to assess your situation and create a treatment plan for you to get some relief. Good luck! Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  20. 44
    Patt on September 10, 2020

    For dry nose, I got a glass jar from the natural food store, 3 inches high. Put distilled water half full. Then l put glycerin in, drissled it in. Shake it and use a q-tip and swab each nostril. I do this twice a day, and it works right away and wonderfully.

    1. 45
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on September 10, 2020

      Glad you have found something that works for you.

  21. 46
    Pool Coping on September 26, 2020

    Here we get to know about nasal irrigation prevent and treat crusting information in detail. It helps us to decide that which one is best among its types. I enjoyed reading this article and would suggest others it as well. Thank you for this article! This is really very informative for us.

  22. 47
    Cheryl Dunbar on September 26, 2020

    I just had surgery in my nose. Can’t remember what he called it, I hsvec3 spacers in my nose and it hurts if I touch them. Do you recommend a nebuluzer to remove crusty stuff . Also why does my nose continue to be totally plugged up. I have to wear something under my nose for drainage. How long will
    This last? Thank you

  23. 48
    Patricia F Neyman on September 29, 2020

    Thank you for keeping this exchange going. There are a couple of contributions that may help me with my nose crustiness. I have been to an ENT, he did scans and looked up my nose and said I don’t have it have anything. Sent me to an allergist the allergist found no allergies. But every night, my nose slowly gets blocked, and sometimes I have to get up and clean it out so I will be able to breathe. I guess this is the nose crustiness everyone is talking about. Some kind of mucus is coming from up above. And still they say I have no infection, but they have refused to actually take a sample and get it checked. And there is blood, so there is the chance of infection with all my messing around up there. My nose is a little swollen and a little sore, so it has me worried.

    1. 49
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on September 29, 2020

      Hi, Patricia. Are you affected by ectodermal dysplasia? This post was written to specifically address nasal issues for people born with that disorder. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  24. 50
    Patricia F. Neyman on September 29, 2020

    I know. But it has turned into something else, and it has turned out to be extremely useful, so thank you. The ENT and allergist I saw were useless.

    1. 51
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on September 30, 2020

      So glad that you found the information useful, Patricia! Hope you are able to get relief from your symptoms. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  25. 52
    AB on October 4, 2020

    Is it common to get one of these after a sinus infection? It was yellow in tint but a bit more solid.

    1. 53
      Jodi Edgar Reinhardt on October 5, 2020

      Hi, AB. Do you have ectodermal dysplasia? This article addresses the blockages that occur in that syndrome rather than due to sinus infection. Consider addressing your question to your doc or ENT to be sure. ~ Jodi, NFED, Director, Marketing and Communications

  26. 54
    Sheila Ryan on October 12, 2020

    After several years of dealing with mucus as hard as rock in my nose I bought an inexpensive nasal sprayer. I use it at least every hour. I spray room temperature water into my nostrils blow my nose & spray again. This has worked well for me. The bad odor is gone & I sleep better. I also bought one of those nose hair cutters. That helps too. I am an 88 year old female. Sheila

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