Here are 7 effective ways to clean your lungs and breathe better


Techniques to clean the lungs can be beneficial for smokers, people regularly exposed to air pollution and those with chronic diseases that affect the respiratory system. Such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and cystic fibrosis.

Inhalation of air pollution, cigarette smoke and other toxins can damage the lungs and even cause health problems. Maintaining lung health is essential to keeping the rest of the body healthy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to air pollution leads to 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year.

Here are some methods that one can use to try to clean their lungs.

Is it possible to clean the lungs?

The health of lungs is vital to a person’s overall health. The lungs are self-cleaning organs that will begin to heal themselves as soon as their exposure to pollutants ceases. For example, by quitting smoking.

After exposure of the lungs to pollution, such as cigarette smoke, the chest may feel full, congested, or inflamed. Mucus builds up in the lungs to catch germs and pathogens, which contributes to that heavy feeling. Specific techniques exist to help clear the lungs of mucus and irritants to relieve chest congestion and other uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these methods can also open the airways, improve lung capacity, and reduce inflammation. Which can help reduce the effects of pollution and smoke in the lungs.

Here are breathing exercises and lifestyle changes that can help eliminate excess mucus from the lungs and improve breathing.

1. Steam therapy

Steam therapy, or steam inhalation, involves inhaling water vapor to open the airways and help the lungs clear mucus . People with lung conditions may see their symptoms worsen in cold or dry air. This climate can dry out the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract and restrict blood circulation.

Conversely, steam adds heat and humidity to the air. Which can improve breathing and help loosen mucus inside the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide immediate relief and help people breathe easier.

A small study looking at 16 men with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), a lung condition that makes it harder to breathe, found that mask therapy with steam resulted in a significantly lower heart rate and respiratory rate than therapy without a steam mask.

This therapy can be an effective one-time and temporary solution.

2. Controlled cough

A controlled cough can help push mucus out of the airways. Coughing is the body’s natural way of expelling toxins that it has trapped in mucus. Controlled coughing loosens excess mucus in the lungs, sending it into the airways.

Doctors recommend that people with COPD do this exercise to help them clear their lungs.

Here are the steps below to clear their lungs of excess mucus:

s ‘sit on a chair with relaxed shoulders, keeping both feet flat on the floor

fold your arms over your stomach

inhale slowly through your nose

exhale slowly leaning forward, pushing the arms against the stomach

cough 2 or 3 times while exhaling, keeping with your mouth slightly open

inhale slowly through your nose

rest and repeat if necessary

3. Drainage of mucus from the lungs

Postural drainage involves lying in different positions to use gravity to remove mucus from the lungs. This practice can improve breathing and help treat or prevent lung infections.

Postural drainage techniques differ depending on position:

1. On your back

Lie down on the floor or on a bed.

Place pillows under the hips so that the chest is lower than the hips.

Inhale slowly through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Each exhale should last twice as long as the inhale, known as the 1:2 breath.

Continue for a few minutes.

2. On your side

Lie on your side, resting your head on an arm or pillow.

Place pillows under the hips.

Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern .

Continue for a few minutes.

Repeat on the other side.

3. On your stomach

Place a stack of pillows on the floor.

Lie down with your stomach on the pillows. Remember to keep hips above chest.

Fold arms under head for support.

Practice the 1:2 breathing pattern.

Continue for a few minutes.

4. Exercise

Regular physical exercise can improve people’s physical and mental health. It decreases the risk of many health problems, including stroke and heart disease. Exercise forces the muscles to work harder. This increases the body’s breathing rate, and therefore the supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves blood circulation. This allows the body to more efficiently eliminate the excess carbon dioxide it produces during exercise. The body begins to adapt to meet the demands of regular exercise. Muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide.

Although exercise is more difficult for people with chronic lung conditions, these people can also benefit from regular exercise. People with COPD, cystic fibrosis or asthma should consult a healthcare professional before starting a new exercise program.

5. Green tea to cleanse the lungs

Green tea contains many antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds may even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of inhaling smoke. A recent study involving more than 1 adults in Korea showed that people who drank at least 2 cups of green tea a day had better lung function than those who did not.

6. Anti-inflammatory foods

Inflammation of the airways can make it difficult to breathe and cause a feeling of heaviness and congestion in the chest. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can reduce inflammation to relieve these symptoms.

Foods that help fight inflammation include


leafy greens







7. Chest Percussion

Percussion is another effective way to remove excess mucus from the lungs. A medical professional or physical therapist will use a cupped hand to tap rhythmically on the chest wall to dislodge trapped mucus from the lungs.

The Combination of Percussion chest and postural drainage can help clear the airways of excess mucus.

Clear the lungs naturally

The toxins from cigarette smoke or air pollution that enter the lungs can affect the whole body. These toxins end up being trapped in the mucus. Good respiratory health depends on how effectively the body clears mucus from the lungs and airways.

Lung cleansing techniques including postural drainage, chest tapping and breathing exercises can help loosen mucus from the lungs and airways. Steam therapy can provide temporary relief for people who suffer from congestion or chronic respiratory problems. Exercising regularly, drinking green tea and eating anti-inflammatory foods are lifestyle changes that can improve lung health and lower the risk of disease.


Air pollution. (nd).

Coughing: Controlled coughing: Management and treatment. (2016).

Kawagoshi, A., et al. (2018). The effects of a warmed steam inhalation on patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease: A cross-sectional, controlled study.

Oh, C.-M., et al. (2018). Consuming green tea at least twice each day is associated with reduced odds of chronic obstructive lung disease in middle-aged and older Korean adults.

Your lungs and exercise. (2016).

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