A woman blowing her nose in a handkerchief.

Nose-blowing is the act of expelling nasal mucus by exhaling forcefully through the nose. This is usually done into a facial tissue or handkerchief, facial tissues being more hygienic as they are disposed of after each use while handkerchiefs are softer, environmentally-friendly and more stylish.[1]

Nose-blowing may be used to alleviate nasal congestion or rhinorrhea (runny nose) resulting from colds or seasonal allergies.


The tissue or handkerchief is held gently against the nose. Prior to nose blowing, a deep inhale through the mouth provides the air required to eject the nasal mucus. Exhaling hard through both nostrils at once will effectively eject the mucus.[2] The process may need to be repeated several times to sufficiently clear the entire nose.

Dispose the tissue after use or fold the handkerchief and place it in your pocket or handbag.

Health effectsEdit

While nose-blowing helps to alleviate symptoms of the common cold and hayfever, the blowing of a nose, when it is done excessively or incorrectly, may bring potential adverse health effects. Nose-blowing generates high pressure in the nostrils.[3] When this pressure is added to a dry nose, it could rupture blood vessels inside the nose, resulting in a nosebleed.[4][5]

In a 2000 study, doctors squirted dense liquid dye, which could be seen on x-rays, into the noses of several adult volunteers. The volunteers were induced to sneeze, cough, and blow their noses. It was found that the typical pressure of nose-blowing was 1.3 pounds per square inch, ten times greater than that generated by sneezing or coughing. CT scans showed that nose blowing sent much of the dye into the paranasal sinuses rather than expelling it out the nose. The doctors suspected that nose-blowing may increase the risk of sinus infections by sending bacteria-filled mucus into the sinuses.[6][7]

In extremely rare but documented cases, nose-blowing has resulted in unusual conditions, such as in the case of a woman who fractured her left eye socket after blowing her nose.[8]


Nose-blowing becomes a breach of etiquette if it is performed directly in front of someone at a dining table or in a lobby. When nose-blowing needs to be carried out at the table, the person doing it should turn away from everybody else and especially away from food on the table. If the nose-blowing session is going to be short, then it could be done at the table, but if the nose is too stuffed and the resulting nose-blowing session will be long and loud, then it is strongly cautioned to go to the restroom/washroom.[9]

It is also rude to continuously snort mucus back into the nose because it is gross. It is better to leave for the restroom/washroom and clean it up. In this regard, carrying handkerchief everyday with you would be a better option than running short of tissues.[9]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "How to Blow Your Nose". wikiHow. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  2. ^ "Teachers' Zone | Sneezesafe® AU". Sneezesafe. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  3. ^ Pagano, Cheng Cheng, Alyssa. "You've been blowing your nose all wrong — here's how you should do it". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  4. ^ "3 risks of blowing your nose too hard". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  5. ^ "5 Risks of Nose Blowing". @berkeleywellness. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  6. ^ Knight-Ridder/Tribune. "2 RESEARCHERS WARN NOSE-BLOWING MAY BACKFIRE". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  7. ^ Gwaltney, J. M.; Hendley, J. O.; Phillips, C. D.; Bass, C. R.; Mygind, N.; Winther, B. (February 2000). "Nose blowing propels nasal fluid into the paranasal sinuses". Clinical Infectious Diseases. 30 (2): 387–391. doi:10.1086/313661. ISSN 1058-4838. PMID 10671347.
  8. ^ "A Woman Fractured Her Eye Socket By Blowing Her Nose". Time. Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  9. ^ a b "How to blow your nose in public – according to an etiquette expert". Retrieved 2019-05-04.