Effective Ways to Clean Lungs Due to Pollution and Cigarettes

Inhaling air pollution, cigarette smoke, and other toxins can damage the lungs and even cause health conditions. Maintaining lung health is very important for maintaining a healthy body.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), exposure to air pollution results in 4.2 million deaths worldwide each year. In this article, we discuss several methods people can use to try to clear their lungs.

Lung cleansing techniques may be useful for people who smoke, are exposed to air pollution, and chronic conditions that affect the respiratory system.

Effective Ways to Clean Lungs

Is it possible to clean the lungs?

Lung health is vital for a person's ability to move. The lungs are self-cleaning organs once exposure to pollutants is stopped, such as when a person stops smoking. 

After the lungs are exposed to pollution, such as cigarette smoke, a person's chest may feel full, tight, or inflamed. Mucus collects in the lungs to catch microbes and pathogens, which contribute to this feeling of heaviness.

People can use special techniques to help clear the lungs of mucus and irritation to relieve nasal congestion and other uncomfortable symptoms. Some of these methods can also open airways, increase lung capacity, and reduce inflammation, helping reduce the effects of pollution and smoke on the lungs.

How to clean the lungs

Below, we can perform some breathing exercises and lifestyle changes that can help remove excess mucus from the lungs and improve breathing.

Steam therapy

The first effective way of cleansing the lungs is with steam therapy, or steam inhalation, which involves inhaling water vapor to open airways and help the lungs dry out mucus. People with dirty lungs may find their symptoms worsen in cold or dry air, due to the drying of the mucous membranes in the airways and limited blood flow to the lungs.

With steam therapy, applied moisture adds warmth and moisture to the air, improving breathing and helping loosen mucus in the airways and lungs. Inhaling water vapor can provide an immediate sense of relief and help a person breathe easier.

This therapy may be an effective temporary solution. Still, more research needs to be done before the benefits of steam therapy on lung health can be fully understood.

Controlled cough

Coughing is the body's way of flushing out toxins that have been trapped in mucus. Controlled coughing loosens excess mucus in the lungs and removes them from the airways.

People with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) should regularly exercise to help clean their lungs.

People can follow the steps below to clear their slimy lungs:

how to effectively cleanse the lungs

  • Sit on a chair with your shoulders relaxed, keeping your feet flat on the floor
  • Fold your arms over your stomach
  • Slowly inhale through your nose
  • Slowly exhale while leaning forward, pushing your arms against your stomach
  • Cough 2 or 3 times while exhaling, keeping mouth slightly open
  • Slowly inhale through your nose
  • Take a break and repeat as needed

While performing this technique, you may feel the need to cough or clear your throat of the accumulated mucus. Try not to respond to these coughing impulses; repeat the above movement and cough in a controlled and deep manner.

Get some exercise

Regular exercise can improve people's physical and mental health and reduce the risk of various health conditions, including stroke and heart disease. Exercise forces the muscles to work harder, which increases the body's breathing rate, resulting in a greater supply of oxygen to the muscles. It also improves circulation, making the body more efficient at removing the excess carbon dioxide the body produces during exercise.

The body will begin to adapt to meet the demands of regular exercise. The muscles will learn to use oxygen more efficiently and produce less carbon dioxide. Although exercising may be more difficult for people with chronic lung disease, they can also benefit from regular exercise. People with COPD, cystic fibrosis, or asthma should consult a medical professional before starting a new exercise regimen.

Green tea

Green tea contains a lot of antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation in the lungs. These compounds can even protect lung tissue from the harmful effects of smoke inhalation. Therefore, consuming green tea is also an effective way to cleanse the lungs.

A recent study involving more than 1,000 adults in Korea reported that people who drank at least 2 cups of green tea per day had better lung function than those who didn't.

Chest Percussion

Chest percussion is a type of chest physical therapy that involves tapping or clapping the hands on the chest. It aims to relax and break down the mucus blocked in your airways, as well as make it easier to get out of your lungs.

The proper technique is to sit leaning back and use cupped hands (see figure) to give a firm but gentle pat to the upper left and right of your chest (in the space between your collarbone and nipple). You will want to start by tapping.

how to effectively cleanse the lungs

the left side of your chest for 2-3 minutes, and then repeat percussion on the right side for another 2-3 minutes.

You will feel the mucus build up in your chest on percussion and feel the urge to cough immediately afterward. Allow yourself to expel as much mucus as you can between percussion until you clear all excess phlegm from your chest.

Percussion is firm, but painless, and performed in a steady rhythm. Always make sure to place your hand in the correct place before percussion.

Avoid percussion in any of these areas:

  • Stomach area
  • Sternum
  • Spine
  • Lower ribs and lower back

Eat anti-inflammatory foods

The next effective way to cleanse the lungs is to eat anti-inflammatory foods. Inflammation of the airways can make breathing difficult and cause the chest to feel heavy and tight. Eating anti-inflammatory foods can reduce inflammation to relieve these symptoms.

Foods that help fight inflammation include:

  • Turmeric
  • Green vegetable
  • Cherry
  • Blueberry
  • Olive
  • Walnuts
  • Peas
  • Nuts

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