How Can I Clean My Lungs? | Lung Detox

The Hyfe Mind


July 29, 2020
CoughPro is not a medical product. It is a wellness app intended only for users to obtain a better understanding of their cough. It is not intended to diagnose, monitor, or treat any illness.

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A lung cleanse, also known as lung detoxification, consists of eliminating toxic and harmful substances from the lungs or bronchial pathway.

Detoxification helps withdraw dangerous bacteria and environmental irritants.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that vulnerability to air pollution results in 4.2 million deaths worldwide per year. Across the United States, tobacco smoking is the cause of death for one in every five men. Thus, it is prudent to be aware of lung cleansing and lung detoxing as an essential remedy. This article covers the question, “How can I clean my lungs?”

How Do I Purify My Lungs Fast?

While there is no quick fix to detox your lungs, there are ways you can accelerate your lungs cleansing. Here are 15 simple tips that you can apply immediately to optimize your respiratory system functionality:

1. Quit Smoking Now!

First, quit smoking. Did you know that cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals1? And if that isn't scary enough, persistent smoking can speed up the aging process of your lungs and cause lung cancer. It's like your respiratory health is being ruined one puff at a time, day by day, little by little. So, if you want to live a long and healthy life, stop smoking and let your lungs breathe easily! 

Secondly, avoid second-hand smoke. The harmful compounds found in secondhand smoke, including benzene, chromium, carbon monoxide, arsenic, polonium, formaldehyde, and cyanide, all pose serious health risks such as raising your risk of developing lung cancer2. This occurs even if you don't smoke but breathe in other’s smoke.

2. Adjust Your Diet - Eat Anti-Inflammatory Foods

You might be thinking, “Can I eat or drink something to detox my lungs?”

Breathing problems can be brought on by inflammation, which is where the tissues in your lungs become swollen due to your body’s immune system. Sometimes your immune system causes inflammation as it’s fighting an infection; other times it’s overreacting or inflammation has become a chronic state. Chronic inflammation is correlated with many health conditions3. While medication, like corticosteroids, decreases inflammation, eating anti-inflammatory foods can also help naturally reduce inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory foods include:

  • Turmeric4
  • Leafy greens
  • Cherries56
  • Eucalyptus7
  • Ginger8
  • Onions9
  • Garlic10
  • Blueberries11
  • Olives12
  • Walnuts13
  • Beans14
  • Lentils15

3. Drink Water and Plenty of Fluids

Water is the key to life and this applies to your lungs as well! But the obvious question is, how can drinking water and lung health be related?

Some fluids that help in lung cleansing include:

  • Water – Hydration is intensely important in clearing mucus from the lungs. Being dehydrated makes it very hard to clear any mucus at all16. Drinking more water to be fully hydrated means there is more water available for your body to mix with the mucus, making it easier to clear17.
  • Green tea– Research has found that people who increased their intake of green tea decreased their likelihood of developing COPD18. This may be because, beyond the hydration factor of the water in it, green tea is thought to have antioxidant and antiinflamatory properties, which may reduce the effects of smoking on lung tissues, as well as other damage to your body’s cells.
  • Honey tea – Honey is a well-known and proven cough remedy, found by some research to be superior to some OTC cough medicines19, and excellent at soothing sore throats, which you may develop if coughing up a lot of mucus. In addition, gelam honey has been found to aid in mucus clearance20.
  • No-added-sugar fruit and vegetable juices – These are a more fun and tasty way of getting water into your body, alongside a host of nutrients that will generally contribute to your health. Go for the ones without added sugar, as too much sugar can damage your teeth and the health of your mouth affects the health of your lungs.
  • Warm broth – Your grandma’s advice to drink warn soup (particularly chicken soup21 was right; it makes your nose feel a lot easier to clear out22 and helps you get over colds23.

4. Exercise

Daily exercise is a necessary part of a balanced lifestyle. The correct amount and various types of activities positively support your lung recovery. Cardio exercise, such as running or any movement that raises your heart rate, benefits your lungs by improving their efficiency over time. Exercise that focuses on breathing, such as yoga, can help you learn how to fully use your lungs’ capacity.

If you have a chronic lung illness, check with your doctor before changing your workout routine. 

5. Monitor Indoor Air Quality

Your lung health is significantly influenced by the air you breathe. Hence, it is important to be aware of and regularly monitor the quality of this air. Some ways to stay on top of it are;

  • Spend time outside – The smartest solutions aren't always the most complex. Go outside and take a breath of pure air. Fresh air is a fantastic way to clear your lungs and your mind, whether you go for a stroll in the park, a hike in the mountains, or just sit on your veranda and enjoy the scenery.
    • However, be aware of outdoor air pollution – Being conscious of the levels of dangerous pollutants in the air where you live and avoiding going outdoors when the levels are high will help to keep your lungs healthy. Look up if there is a local air quality monitoring station near you, or have a look at The World Air Quality Index Project.
  • Monitor Indoor Air Quality – Similarly to developing awareness of air pollution outside your home, keeping an eye on the quality of the air inside your home and office is important too. Some simple things you can do to enhance air quality at home include:
    • Investing in a good vacuum cleaner and vacuuming regularly
    • Eliminating artificial scents
    • Using an air purifier – Start clearing pollutants from your home’s air to give your lungs a chance to clear themselves. Purifiers assist in cleaning the air you breathe and reducing the possible negative impacts of pollution by filtering out fine particles24.  
    • Maintaining your air filters - Change your air filters following the device’s instructions to keep them functioning at full effectiveness. Do not take long to change filters as they are of no use after a certain period; on the contrary, these filters may harm or produce harmful effects on your health once they are clogged up.
    • Consider houseplants – Many houseplants help filter various air pollutants, as well as improve the look of your home. Head over to our article on air-purifying plants for a detailed discussion.

6. Use Air Purifiers

Any indoor space benefits from an air purifier to remove indoor air pollutants such as dust, dirt, or certain gases. Particularly people suffering from chronic lung diseases should use it regularly. This will help your entire body to function properly.

7. Avoid Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke contains dangerous chemicals like benzene, chromium, carbon monoxide, arsenic, polonium, formaldehyde, and cyanide, all of which pose significant dangers to health. As a result, even if you’re not a smoker, breathing in secondhand smoke increases the chance of contracting lung cancer.

8. Practice Breathing 

Breathing is a natural lifelong phenomenon. It's how your cells receive enough oxygen throughout your body, which is obviously necessary for the body to operate properly. However, many of us do not breathe as optimally as we could. You can use breathing techniques to improve. These breathing exercises include:

  • Consciously breathe through your nose – This is better for you than mouth breathing, as it is the way your body has evolved to breathe. However, we sometimes forget or fall into the habit of breathing predominantly through our mouths. Choosing to breathe only through your nose, when possible, will be better for your oxygen intake, as well as reducing bad breath and belching.
  • Resonant breathing – This is deliberately breathing slowly at a rate of 5-6 breaths a minute. You can do this by breathing in for five seconds and then breathing out for five seconds, making one breath take 10 seconds in total. This stretches your lungs, calms your brain, reduces your heart rate, and improves your mood25.
  • Controlled coughing – Muscles in the thorax and stomach are worked by controlled coughing to expel mucus from the lungs. Controlled coughing relies on stabilizing the core muscles to engage the diaphragm more effectively than a hacking cough, which primarily utilizes the chest muscles.
  • Yoga – A major focus of yoga is controlling your breathing, often by breathing deeply but sometimes by breathing in short, sharp breaths or exhaling with an open mouth. It can help you learn how to use your lungs’ capacity fully. Consider these two pranayamas (yogic breathing techniques):
    • Kapalbhati pranayama (ocean/victorious breath) – Sit comfortably and exhale. Slightly tighten your throat, then inhale. Hold your breath for twice as long as you inhaled. Exhale with your throat still tightened. Relax your throat and breath normally before repeating.
    • Kapalbhati pranayama (skull shining breath/breath of fire) – Sit comfortably. Breathe in through your nose using your diaphragm, so that your belly expands. Without pausing, exhale forcefully through your nose, using your abdomen to push in. Release your stomach muscles, and allow a passive inhalation. Repeat 5 to 20 times.

Improving your breathing today betters tomorrow's respiratory health. If you have a chronic lung illness, check with your doctor before changing your workout routine.

9. Maintenance of Air Filters

Change your air filters following the device’s instructions to keep them functioning at full effectiveness. Do not take long to change filters as they are of no use after a certain period; on the contrary, these filters may harm or produce harmful effects on your health.

10. Chest Physiotherapy

One way how to remove mucus from lungs naturally, or without medications is chest physiotherapy (CPT), also known as “chest physical therapy”. It covers a range of airway clearance techniques26 that help the lungs discharge mucus and secretions. These techniques can be carried out manually or with the aid of mechanical equipment and they include:

  • Postural drainage – Lying in a specific posture to drain mucus from the lungs 
  • Percussion and vibration – Chest percussion helps remove fluid and mucus from the lungs, which is especially crucial for individuals suffering from chronic lung conditions like COPD and cystic fibrosis. This process involves a partner rhythmically tapping your back with a cupped hand while you assume different positions, whether sitting or lying down. 

To receive proper guidance on how to perform these techniques, it is recommended to consult with your primary care provider.

11. Avoid Using Artificial Perfumes or Scents

Artificial scent air refresher

Many of us like to fill our homes with sweet fragrances and smells by using sprays, candles, and other artificial scents. These are popular in areas that can get smelly, such as the toilet. While pleasant smelling, these products can damage our airways, cause headaches or migraines, and worsen asthma27. If you are having trouble with your breathing, try cutting out all artificial scents in your home and reducing unpleasant smells through regular cleaning and air circulation.

12. Take Water Vapor Therapy

Inhalation of steam (in other words, water vapor) is amongst the best therapies for opening up your air passages and draining phlegm from your chest. 

Patients having respiratory issues, such as COVID-19 or the common cold, can inhale steam to get comfort. You can fill a bowl with freshly boiled water, lean over it, and place a towel over your head and bowl to trap the steam. Then breathe normally and the warm water vapor will help your air passages relax. You can also try having a warm bath or shower – this will also produce steam that will help cleanse your lungs. Try to use scent-free bathroom products on these occasions.

13. Have Green Tea 

Not only is green tea a flavorful source of water, which we discussed the importance above, but green tea is also a vital source of antioxidants. These powerful chemicals may reduce the effects of smoking on lung tissues, as well as other damage to your body’s cells. 

14. Vitamins for Lung Health

Make sure your diet includes sources of vitamins that are essential for the respiratory system. Some of the essential vitamins and minerals for lung health include (sorting by richest sources first):

  • Vitamin A – This can be found mainly in parsley, carrots, sunflower oil and seeds, basil, and beetroot.
  • Vit. C – It can be found in parsley, cabbages, bell pepper, horseradish, kiwi, coriander, lychees, and oranges.
  • Vitamin D – You can find it, especially in fish and eggs, and you can produce it by spending time in the sun.
  • Vitamin E – This is found in sunflower oil and seeds, almonds, oregano, soya oil, and olive oil.
  • Zinc – This mineral is found in oysters, wheat, poppy seeds, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds, and pinions.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids – It can be found in flaxseed oil, nuts, pinions, poppy seeds, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, tahini, and sesame seeds.
  • Magnesium – You can find it in basil, wheat, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts, tahini, cumin, and sesame seeds. 
  • Selenium – Brazil nuts, seafood, organ meats, muscle meats, cereals, and other grains, and dairy products are rich food sources of selenium.

15. Decrease the Use of Unsafe Household Products 

You likely employ several household products for daily cleaning purposes. However, you probably do not even think of the ingredients that you are expelling out in your house. Yet, many common cleaning products contain lung-injurious substances.

Check the warning labels on the back of your cleaning chemicals to find out which are hazardous to your health. Replace any that you can, such as swapping cleaning spray for a mixture of malt vinegar and water. When you have to use hazardous cleaning chemicals, wear a mask to protect your respiratory system. Well-fitted surgical masks filter the air you breathe in as well as the air you breathe out.

How Long Does It Take for Lungs to Heal After Quitting Smoking?

Once you quit smoking, it takes two weeks to three months to heal.

Improvement in your health condition will indicate healing – you will recover from the damages such as coughing and other respiratory problems. Since lungs play a crucial role in our general health, we should do all we can to help them function well.

Can I Cleanse My Lungs?

Although you can take active measures to cleanse your lungs, they do cleanse on their own. It is a natural process, provided you follow a healthy routine and stay away from pollutants. 

For long-term cigarette smokers, however, the idea of a lung detox or smoke detoxification should sound great.

How Do I Clean My Lungs?

So, on to answer that burning question, “How can I clean my lungs?” 

There are many ways to give yourself a lung detox, but you must be wise in your choice of how you go about it. 

Recently, there has been a wide variety of new lung cleansing products labeled “natural.” These products have been used by a large percentage of the population craving quick results.

But the truth is that the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) has licensed none of these products nor has there been the appropriate clinical evidence to support their daily use for disease prevention. Moreover, even though many of them contain ingredients, such as vitamin D, that play an essential role in improving immune system responses and minimizing inflammation in the airways, quick fixes never really work.


As there are currently no drugs or therapies that are specifically designed to clear the lungs, it is better to try to steer clear of any possible pollutants. This can involve changing behavior, such as giving up smoking, to reduce exposure, or changing one's diet and engaging in regular exercise to improve lung health. If you are suffering from an acute condition, such as a cold, medication can also help.

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