Did you know that the neurological pathway that takes sensory information from the nasal receptors to the respective brain areas is direct? All other sensory inputs pass through a “middleman” (low-order processing) or a kind of a relay and have high-order processing within the cortex.
Yet, olfactory inputs go straight to the reflexive and emotional parts of the brain, which makes us very sensitive to olfactory stimuli. Plus, a big part of the olfactory information is processed unconsciously.
Because of this, having a tune stuck in your head may feel bad, but if you have a smell stuck in your nose, the frustration is unimaginable. So, let’s find out how to get the smoke smell out of your nose.
How Does the Smell of Smoke “Stick” Inside Your Nose?
Feeling the smell of smoke constantly inside your nose could mean that some smoke particles have stuck in your nasal passage or mucus. However, it could also indicate that there may be something wrong with the relation between the olfactory receptors and the brain areas where the sensory information is processed.
Chemical particles that are responsible for our experience of smell are absorbed in the nasal cavity by the olfactory receptors found on the surface. However, if these particles are too big and can’t be absorbed or dissolved, they might stay inside our nasal cavity, continuously re-triggering our nasal receptors.
This means that the receptors would relay the same message to our brain repeatedly (as long as there are chemical particles inside the nasal cavity to trigger them). In other words, when this happens, we keep sensing the same smell all the time.
The good news is that it’s possible to solve this problem with simple home remedies.
Disclaimer: If the home remedies are of no help, you will likely need to see a doctor because you may suffer from phantosmia or damage to the nose-brain pathway. So, do not ignore a persistent problem if common home remedies fail to remove the smell. To get proper treatment, you will need to pay a visit to a medical professional.
But before taking more drastic measures, keep reading to find out how to help yourself at home.
How to Get the Smell of Smoke Out of Your Nose
To help you out, let’s look at several homemade solutions that work wonders for the persistent smoke smell in your nose.
Remove Indoor Smoke Odors
Removing the smoke smell from your nose should begin with removing the potential sources of smoke smell in your environment. Remove smoke from all indoor spaces you often spend time in, such as your house, office, and car.
If we are talking about cigarette smoke smell, remove any ashtrays and cigarette buds from your space. Check to see if any ash hasn’t fallen on the carpet, couch, or other pieces of furniture.
Then, do your best to remove the smoke smell from your wooden furniture and fabric furniture (this applies to car seats) by thoroughly cleaning everything. Sometimes, you may also need to clean and repaint the walls within your apartment.
Once the source of the smell is gone from your environment, you can help your sense of smell to forget the smoke smell by “retraining” it with new, pleasant aromas. Place air fresheners in the car and around your home, or apply lavender or citrus essential oils.
Wash Your Mouth
The next step is to wash your mouth. Use a peppermint mouthwash to eliminate any odor molecules lingering in your mouth, tongue, teeth, gums, or throat.
Another thing you can try is dissolving a few peppermint candies in your mouth to ensure a refreshing sensation.
Do you know how we can sometimes smell a taste while eating? This happens because the nasal cavity and the mouth are connected through the nasopharynx. Therefore, if your mouth is affected by residual smoke from cigarettes, your nose will react too.
Blow Your Nose
If you’ve been around smoke and your nose is runny, you can use the mucus to remove those smoke molecules. And all you need to do is to blow your nose.
The smoke smell that you are feeling in your nose may come from the accumulated mucus. Smoke particles stuck to mucus can also trigger your olfactory receptors.
On the other hand, If your nostrils are too dry, you can try sniffing some pepper to induce sneezing and mucus production to get those odor molecules out of your nose. Just be careful not to irritate the nose by sniffing too much pepper.
A better solution for a dry nose is plain saline or similar products such as nasal spray or nasal gel. These sometimes come enriched with some soothing aloe vera or saline, which can help clean your nostrils and calm down the mucose tissue.
Put some product into your nose to moisturize your nasal pathways. This alone may eliminate the smoke smell, but you can also try to blow your nose to get the smoke odor molecules out of your nose faster.
Plant-based inhalation at home is a great way to refresh your nasal cavity and clear your nasal pathways.
Homemade, plant-based inhalation can only benefit your sinuses (and often also your skin!). There are many different herbal and spice combinations you can use. To help you choose, we will recommend some of our personal favorites.
Grate some horseradish and put it in boiling water for a few minutes. Then switch off and try to inhale the vapors. To make the preparation process even easier, try horseradish root powder.
A warm ginger tea or even eating raw ginger can help you warm up your mucosa tissue, and its spiciness should help you salivate more and release the unpleasant smoke odor molecules through mucus.
There are two types of people: those who indulge in garlic and those who can’t even think about garlic. If you’re the first kind, you will also enjoy crushing a garlic clove in boiling water. After a few minutes of boiling, you can either start inhaling or, perhaps even better, wait for the liquid to cool down, then put a few drops in each nostril.
Hot Food (in Every Sense)
Prepare a warm dish like a stew or soup and add some hot spices, like chili or pepper. A few spoons should initiate a moisturizing reaction in the nasal mucosa, sweating, and perhaps even tearing.
If you’re not a fan of spicy food or you have a sensitive stomach, perhaps skip this tip, as it may lead to heartburn or acid reflux.
You can put a towel over your head and neck when inhaling for better results.
Having a smoke smell stuck in your nose can be unpleasant. Luckily, some effective homemade remedies can help you eliminate the unpleasant smoke from your nasal cavity.
That being said, if none of the recommended, noninvasive methods, such as cleaning your indoor spaces, washing your mouth, blowing your nose, or treating your mucosa tissue with inhalation, helps you out, perhaps the source of the problem is elsewhere.
It’s possible to feel the smell of smoke in cases of neurodegenerative diseases or damage to the olfactory sensory pathway, so paying a doctor would probably be the best solution. But, before you start to panic, such instances are extremely rare, and in most cases, the odor is temporary or caused by sources in your environment of which you might be completely unaware.