How to get bleach smell out of the nose

If you’ve ever used bleach to clean your home, you know that familiar pungent odour that can linger long after you’ve put the cleaning supplies away. That strong, irritating smell of bleach can seem to permeate your nasal passages, leaving you with an unpleasant scent that just won’t go away.

While bleach is an effective disinfectant and cleaning agent, its potent fumes can be very unpleasant, especially when they get trapped in your nose. Whether you spilled some bleach, had a bleach-heavy cleaning session, or live with someone who uses a lot of bleach, that lingering smell can be quite bothersome. Fortunately, there are some effective ways to get the bleach smell out of your nose and breathe easily again.

How to get bleach smell out of nose

Why Does Bleach Cause That Distinctive Smell?

Bleach, also known as sodium hypochlorite, is a chemical compound that is widely used for disinfecting, whitening, and cleaning. When you use bleach, the strong odour you smell is caused by the release of chlorine gas.

Chlorine is the active ingredient in bleach which makes it such an effective cleaner. When bleach is mixed with water or other substances, it releases hypochlorous acid, which then releases chlorine gas. This chlorine gas is what creates the pungent, irritating smell associated with bleach.

The chlorine gas from bleach can also irritate your eyes, throat, and nasal passages, causing a burning sensation. This is why it’s important to use bleach in a well-ventilated area and avoid directly inhaling the fumes.

While the chlorine smell of bleach is quite strong, it typically dissipates fairly quickly once you’ve finished cleaning. However, in some cases, the bleach odour can linger in your nose for hours or even days afterwards, which can be very unpleasant.

Reasons the Bleach Smell Lingers

There are a few reasons why the bleach smell may seem to stick around in your nose, even after you’ve finished using the cleaning product:

Olfactory Fatigue

One of the main reasons the bleach smell can linger is a phenomenon called olfactory fatigue. This occurs when your olfactory receptors (the sensory receptors in your nose responsible for smell) become temporarily desensitized to a particular odour.

When you’re exposed to a strong smell like bleach for an extended period, your olfactory receptors become overstimulated and fatigued. As a result, you may continue to detect the smell, even after the source of the odour has been removed. This olfactory fatigue can last for several hours or even days, making the bleach smell seem to stick around.

Absorption into Nasal Tissues

Another reason the bleach smell may linger is that the chlorine gas from the bleach can be absorbed into the tissues and mucous membranes of your nasal passages. The chlorine essentially gets “trapped” in your nose, continuing to emit that unpleasant odour.

This is more likely to happen if you were exposed to high concentrations of bleach fumes, such as from spilling or improperly using the cleaning product. The chlorine gas can get deep into your nasal cavities and sinuses, making the smell quite persistent.

Individual Sensitivity

Some people may also be more sensitive to the smell of bleach than others. Factors like your individual sense of smell, general olfactory health, and any existing nasal or sinus issues can all play a role in how strongly you perceive and react to the bleach odour.

People with conditions like chronic sinusitis or allergies may be especially bothered by the smell of bleach, as their nasal passages are already inflamed and sensitive. The irritating chlorine fumes can exacerbate these issues, making the bleach smell seem even more intense and long-lasting.

How to Get Rid of the Bleach Smell in Your Nose

Fortunately, there are several effective methods you can try to help remove that stubborn bleach odour from your nose. Here are some of the best ways to get that pungent smell out:

1. Blow Your Nose

One of the simplest things you can do is blow your nose thoroughly. Gently blowing your nose can help dislodge and expel any lingering bleach particles or fumes that may be trapped in your nasal passages.

Be sure to blow your nose gently, as rubbing or blowing too hard can further irritate your nasal tissues. Blow your nose a few times, using a clean tissue each time, until the bleach smell starts to subside.

2. Flush Your Nasal Passages

Another effective way to clear out the bleach smell is to flush out your nasal passages with a saline solution. You can do this by using a neti pot, nasal irrigation system, or simply by sniffing some salt water up your nose.

To make a simple saline rinse, mix 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of warm distilled or filtered water. Gently sniff the solution up one nostril at a time, letting it drain out the other nostril. This can help flush out any lingering bleach particles and soothe any nasal irritation.

Be sure to use only purified or distilled water, as tap water may contain contaminants that can further irritate your nose. Avoid using the saline rinse if your nose or sinuses are already very inflamed or irritated.

3. Use a Nasal Decongestant

Over-the-counter nasal decongestant sprays or drops can also help get rid of the bleach smell. Decongestants work by shrinking the blood vessels and tissues in your nasal passages, which can help clear out any trapped odour particles.

Look for a decongestant that contains oxymetazoline or phenylephrine as the active ingredient. Use the decongestant as directed, applying it only in your nostrils and avoiding spraying it directly into the back of your throat.

Keep in mind that decongestants should only be used for short-term relief, as prolonged use can worsen nasal congestion. Discontinue use if you experience any further irritation.

4. Try a Nasal Irrigator

For a more thorough nasal cleansing, you can use a nasal irrigator or Neti pot to flush out your nasal passages. These devices use a gentle stream of saline solution to rinse out your sinuses and nasal cavities.

Fill the nasal irrigator with a warm saline solution, then lean over a sink and gently insert the tip into one nostril. Tilt your head and allow the solution to flow through your nasal passage and out the other nostril. Repeat on the other side.

This can be an effective way to wash away any lingering bleach particles or fumes that may be trapped in your nose. Just be sure to use only sterile, distilled water and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.

5. Use a Humidifier

Running a cool mist humidifier in the room can also help alleviate the bleach smell in your nose. The added moisture in the air can help soothe and hydrate your nasal passages, making it easier to expel any remaining chlorine fumes.

Be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and minerals that could potentially worsen nasal irritation. You can also try adding a few drops of essential oils like eucalyptus or peppermint to the humidifier, which can further help mask unpleasant odours.

6. Avoid Irritants

While you’re trying to get rid of the bleach smell, it’s also important to avoid any additional irritants that could further aggravate your nasal passages. Steer clear of strong scents, smoke, and other harsh chemicals until the bleach odour has subsided.

You may also want to limit your exposure to dry air, as this can cause your nasal tissues to become even more inflamed and sensitive. Using a humidifier, drinking plenty of fluids, and avoiding overly dry environments can help soothe your nose.

7. Give it Time

In many cases, the best thing you can do is simply give it time. The bleach smell may linger for a while, but your olfactory receptors will eventually become desensitized and the odour will fade on its own.

Be patient and continue using gentle, soothing methods to clear out your nasal passages. Avoid blowing your nose too aggressively, as this can further irritate the sensitive tissues. With a little time and some TLC for your nose, the bleach smell should gradually subside.

When to See a Doctor

If the bleach smell in your nose persists for more than a few days, or if you experience severe nasal irritation, burning, or difficulty breathing, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. Prolonged exposure to high levels of chlorine fumes can potentially cause more serious respiratory issues.

Your doctor can examine your nasal passages, determine the underlying cause of the persistent smell, and provide more advanced treatment options if necessary. They may prescribe medicated nasal sprays, oral antihistamines, or other treatments to help soothe your nasal irritation and clear out the lingering bleach odour.

Don’t hesitate to seek medical attention if the bleach smell is accompanied by concerning symptoms like extensive nasal congestion, nosebleeds, headaches, or trouble breathing. It’s always better to err on the side of caution when it comes to irritant exposures that may affect your health.

Commercial Products for Removing Bleach Odor

In addition to the home remedies mentioned above, there are also several commercial products available that can help remove the bleach smell from your nose:

Nasal Sprays

  • Arm & Hammer Simply Saline Nasal Mist – A saline-based nasal spray that can help flush out irritants and soothe nasal passages.
  • NeilMed Sinus Rinse – A pre-mixed saline solution for use with a neti pot or nasal irrigation system.


Essential Oils

  • Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Can help soothe and deodorize nasal passages.
  • Peppermint Essential Oil – Provides a refreshing aroma to help mask unpleasant odours.


  • Vicks Warm Mist Humidifier – Adds moisture to the air to help hydrate nasal passages.
  • Honeywell Cool Mist Humidifier – Uses cool mist to provide soothing humidity.

Be sure to follow the instructions carefully when using any commercial products, and discontinue use if you experience further irritation or discomfort. Consulting your doctor is also a good idea, especially if the bleach smell persists despite your efforts.

In Conclusion

The strong, pungent smell of bleach can be quite unpleasant, especially when it seems to linger in your nose long after you’ve finished cleaning. However, there are several effective ways to help clear out that bleach odour and get your sense of smell back to normal.

Try gently blowing your nose, flushing your nasal passages with saline solution, using a decongestant or nasal irrigator, and running a humidifier. Avoid further irritants, and give your olfactory system time to recuperate. With a little TLC for your nose, that stubborn bleach smell should gradually fade away.

If the bleach odour persists or causes significant discomfort, don’t hesitate to see your doctor. Prolonged exposure to chlorine fumes can potentially lead to more serious respiratory issues that may require medical treatment. By taking the right steps, you can kick that bleach smell to the curb and breathe easy once again.

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As the founder of Clean It Spotless, I am Melissa Walker, a leading expert in removing tough stains from fabrics, carpets, and upholstery. With over 10 years of experience in the cleaning industry, I have developed my own natural, non-toxic stain-fighting formulas that lift stains while preserving the integrity of the underlying material. My stain removal tutorials are widely read online, and I have appeared on local TV segments demonstrating my techniques. I also present popular stain removal workshops at community centers and schools.

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