How to Clear Mucus From the Lungs

Written by janette sturges
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Some mucus in the lungs is normal and necessary for a healthy chest and keeping dirt and other unwanted particles from entering the lungs. However, certain diseases, from a minor cold to much more serious cystic fibrosis, can cause too much mucus production and make clearing the lungs--and even breathing--difficult. Difficulty clearing mucus can lead to infections in the airways. Follow this advice from the Salisbury Hospital to learn how to clear mucus from the lungs and when to consult a physician.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy


  1. 1

    Take gentle, relaxed breaths. Breathe normally, not too deeply, relaxing your shoulders and chest. This will help calm your body and get control of your breathing.

  2. 2

    Breathe deeply. Take in a slow, long breath, placing your hand on your belly to feel the rise and fall of your breath. You should not rush these breaths, but let them happen at a slow, natural pace.

  3. 3

    Huff. With a wide-open mouth, as though you were blowing hot air onto a mirror to watch it cloud up, huff gently and long enough to produce a crackling sound.

  4. 4

    Combine these three breaths in a pattern, called a breathing cycle, growing to a more intense cough: Relaxed breathing, deep breaths, relaxed breathing, huffing, relaxed breathing, then cough if you need to.

  5. 5

    Repeat the breathing pattern, clearing mucus with each one, until two entire breathing cycles don't produce any mucus.

Tips and warnings

  • For some, clearing the lungs of mucus is easier than for others. Give yourself enough time and enough breathing cycles to clear your lungs fully.
  • If you have a minor cold producing mucus, it can be helpful to breathe in steam (carefully) to help break up the mucus.
  • You should also discuss clearing the lungs with your doctor. Based on your condition, she may have advice on a good position for you to take while clearing your lungs.
  • If you are producing a lot of mucus on a regular basis and have not seen a doctor, it is important to consult a physician to make sure that a minor mucus-causing infection is not a sign of a more serious illness.

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