Below are answers to commonly asked questions regarding sanitizing your nose. If you don’t see your question listed below, please fill out the form on the right.
The skin inside the nose is warm, moist, and hairy—a perfect environment for germs to grow, multiply and flourish. This is often referred to in the medical setting as colonization because the germs “colonize” the nostrils. Sneezing, coughing, or touching someone or something after touching your nose can cause germs to spread to yourself and others. The nose is like a revolving door for germs, where potentially harmful germs enter and leave your body and can put you and others at risk of infection.
Our noses spread germs to our hands, and our hands spread germs to our noses. Sanitizing the nose, known in medicine as nasal decolonization, interrupts the cycle of recontamination between the hands and nose. Sanitizing your nose is the other half of prevention. Combined with hand washing/sanitizing, killing germs by sanitizing your nose is an effective way to prevent the spread of germs that may cause infection. Sanitizing the nose is an established prevention practice in healthcare that is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Killing germs in the nose has been used for decades to help prevent infections in hospitals.

Everyone can and should sanitize their nose to help prevent the spread of germs, particularly individuals exposed to more people in what are considered “high-risk environments,” such as (but not limited to):

  • Workers in high-contact roles
  • Public transportation users and employees
  • People living in communal spaces: retirement or nursing homes, college dorms, military barracks, etc.
  • Health care industry staff
  • Travelers
  • Athletes and those who frequent or work at gyms
  • Childcare workers and teachers
  • Retail store visitors and staff
  • Individuals at high-risk for infection or caring for people who are at high-risk should also consider regularly sanitizing their noses.

This includes individuals who have suppressed immune systems such as oncology survivors, transplant patients, and people living with multiple chronic diseases and the family and caregivers who interact with these higher risk individuals.

See this Solutions chart for more information on effective methods to sanitize the nose. These products are clinically proven to kill germs in the nose and are supported with peer-reviewed hospital research. Not all nasal hygiene products kill germs. Neti pots and saline sprays may clean and decongest, but they are not indicated to sanitize the nose or kill germs.
Like washing your hands, sanitizing your nose can be done routinely to be most effective. Some of the products available recommend to sanitize your nose once or twice a day to help protect yourself from germs.
By sanitizing your nose regularly, in addition to other healthy habits such as hand washing, you are more likely to avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.
Killing germs in your nose directly contributes to preventing the spread of germs to the general population. By killing the germs in your nose, you reduce the risk of spreading germs to other people, especially when you’re entering high-risk environments such as airplanes, gyms, and other crowded public places.
Sanitizing the nose, or “nasal decolonization,” is an important component of infection prevention protocols in hospitals, along with other practices like hand hygiene and hard surface and equipment disinfection. Patients undergo sanitizing of the nose as a part of their medical care – when the nose is included in infection prevention protocols such as for intensive care units (ICUs) and surgery.
You can find a list of recommended published, peer-reviewed research on our Resources page.
Visit our Resources pages for research and the science behind sanitizing your nose, and if you still have questions or want to receive the latest information, please contact us.


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