Warning: this one may be a bit gross...

My son, who is almost three, fairly regularly gets large clots of dried mucus wedged deep up his nose.

They can stay there for days without coming out on their own, and they cause a noticeable whistle when he breathes.

The rubber suction bulb our hospital gave us when he was a newborn does absolutely nothing to help; the masses are too far up, and too big. Not to mention my son hates to have them shoved up his nose!

He can still breath with them, and they only really seem to cause him discomfort when they've been there long enough to have hardened (at which point they'll typically come out on their own after a few more days, usually with a big sneeze).

There is a medical reason why my sons... boogers... may be a bit bigger and thicker than average, but we've seen a specialist, and he agrees that they're not symptomatic of any actual medical problem.

So the question is: what, if anything, do we do about this? Do we try to extract them for him? We've tried teaching him how to blow his nose, but he just doesn't seem to be getting the idea.

4 Answers 4


MedlinePlus suggests saline nasal drops which can be bought commercially or made at home by stirring 1/4 teaspoon of salt into 1/2 cup lukewarm water (make this fresh every day).

  • Lay your child on his or her back, placing a rolled towel underneath the shoulders. Put 2 or 3 saline nose drops into each nostril. Wait 30 - 60 seconds.
  • Turn the child on the stomach to help the mucus drain. Try to catch the discharge outside the nostril on a tissue or swab. Roll the tissue or swab around, and pull the discharge out of the nose. Do not insert a cotton swab into the child's nostrils.
  • You can use an infant nasal bulb (aspirator) to help remove the mucus. Squeeze the air out of the bulb and then gently place the tip into the nostril. Let the air come back into the bulb, pulling the mucus out of the nose with it. Squeeze the mucus onto a tissue.

Saline can also be purchased as a nasal spray rather than drops.

I also have used saline in a nebulizer. I purchased one online for about $60. (We have also used it to administer albuterol for asthma.) Instead of drops, your child is inhaling mist through a mask, which may be more comfortable. Saline can also be used in the nebulizer for coughs.

Increasing water intake should also help with the consistency of nasal mucus.


The Nose Freda is a nasal aspirator that you control with a tube and you do the sucking. It sounds gross but it's not....haha....it's snot!,!,!. Haha. They cost around 16$ and I swear by it. Much better than a bulb. But the mucus must be softened with saline or steam. The nose part goes to the outside of your lo's nostril and it's connected to a tube that you suck the boogers out with. Can find it at whole foods.

  • I found this to work well for babies, but my kids hated it and by the time were toddlers they were big enough to wriggle free. Jun 29, 2018 at 20:44

Water softens even the most stubborn booger and transforms it into a not exactly pleasant goo, that will simply dribble down your son's upper lip and into a waiting tissue.

Water also comes in a steam form, but be careful, that can be hot.

Swimming pools and baths are great places for loosening boogers.


Okay what I do for my daught (almost 3) when the boogers are huge and dry I'll typically wrap the end of a Bobby pin with toilet paper and then CAREFULLY pick her nose. I am sure not to go too deep or to hurt or damage any tissue but it is a great quick fix. After I've loosens the "gold" I'll have her blow. Works every time.

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