Does garlic clean out your sinuses? Doctors warn against viral TikTok hack

30 June 2021, 12:43

Holly Madison explains what Cheug Life means on TikTok

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

TikTok users are sticking garlic in their nose in the hopes that it cleans out their sinuses – but does it work? Here's what doctors have said.

So, you've seen the garlic nose hack on TikTok and you're thinking about trying it out for yourself? You miiiight wanna think again as doctors are advising against the trend.

Social media has blessed us with some sneaky hacks and some straight up ridiculous hacks over the years, and there's now a new one going viral on TikTok.

With allergies and hayfever doing the rounds again, people are in search of some quick and cheap home remedies that'll help alleviate those symptoms. TikTok's garlic nose hack has recently gone viral involves sticking two cloves of garlic into your nostrils – but it turns out that it might actually being doing more harm than good.

Is it safe to put garlic up your nose?

Does TikTok's garlic nose hack clean out your sinuses?
Does TikTok's garlic nose hack clean out your sinuses? Picture: Thiago Prudêncio/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images, @hwannah5

Why are people putting garlic up their noses?

The "garlic nose hack" has taken off over the last few weeks, with people attempting to unclog their sinuses. TikTok users are peeling cloves of garlic and placing them inside each nostril for between 15-30 minutes. Once the time is up, the cloves are removed and snot/mucus is meant to stream out of your nose.

TikToker @rozalinekatherine went viral with 4.4 million views, and a caption reading: “Saw on TikTok, if you put garlic in your nose it unclogs your sinuses." Another video from @hwannah5 has been viewed almost 30 million times.

The trend appears to work for some, but not others. Some TikTokers have noted how much the cloves hurt their noses and gave them a burning sensation. There's also a lot of videos where people's noses are streaming after removing the garlic.

WARNING: These videos are gross and contain snot, so consider this your courtesy warning before hitting play. Seriously.

Why have doctors warned against putting garlic in your nose?

Like most of TikTok's hacks that affect the body in some way, doctors have advised against the garlic up the nose one too. Mostly because it could cause quite a bit of irritation and make your whole nasal situation even worse.

Shape reached out to otolaryngologist Dr. Neil Bhattacharyya, M.D., who said: "If you do this enough, the body will start to react to the oils and chemicals in the garlic and cause contact dermatitis in the nose."

Contact dermatitis causes the skin to become itchy, blistered, dry and cracked, per the NHS website.

He added: "Some garlic cloves are really strong, and if you get enough leaching of the chemicals and oils into your nose, it will definitely irritate it."

TikTok doctor and Holistic Plastic Surgeon Anthony Youn, MD (@tonyyunmd) also advised against the trend in a video. As well as warning about irritation, he adds that the effect that the garlic has on your nose does not necessarily mean that your sinuses are getting cleaned out either.

So, if you're tempted by those garlic cloves in your kitchen after watching those TikTok videos... make sure you're aware of the risks. If you do want to use garlic to help clear up your sinuses, an alternative is to try creating a garlic steam instead.