how to make yourself sneeze

Sneezing is the body’s way of getting rid of irritation in the nose. Our nose is a highly sensitive organ which can get irritated by several things. There are many ways to make you sneeze and what works for one might not necessarily work for another. So how to make yourself sneeze? In this article, we will study 20 easy ways to sneeze.

But first, some basics:

What Is Sneezing?

Sneezing is a complex process which does not just involve the nose and the respiratory system but the brain as well. A special part of the brain is devoted for making us sneeze. Also, the diaphragm (a muscle just above our stomach and below the rib cage), the abdominal muscles, the chest, and the throat all work together to formulate a sneeze.

Our eyes tend to shut involuntarily when a sneeze strikes. This is a reflex action and it simply is impossible to keep our eyes open as we sneeze.

When a sneeze occurs, millions of tiny droplets of mucous are ejected from the nose into the atmosphere. How fast is a sneeze? The droplets travel at the speed of approximately 40 miles per hour (not 100 as it has been widely reported, tested by MythBusters Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage) and contain millions of viruses.

It is therefore essential to cover the nose using a tissue (or alternatively sneeze in the elbow of our hands) to prevent the germs from spreading.

A person who has a bout of sneezing might want to stop it at any cost. However, someone suffering from a cold or a nasal congestion might want to sneeze in order to relieve the nasal pressure. If you suffer from a stuffy nose and want to know how to unclog your nose fast, there is nothing more effective than a quick sneeze.

Often though, we feel a sneeze coming, but it just does not get completed. So how do you make yourself sneeze?

Here are 20 proven and easy ways to make yourself sneeze.

How Can I Make Myself Sneeze?

Tickle Your Nose with a Feather

Do you remember, as a child, irritating or tickling the nose could make you sneeze? Tickling is one of the easiest ways of getting a sneeze out of you. Take a feather and irritate the inner side of the nose. This is sure to produce a sneeze.

Tickle Your Nose with a Cotton Wisp or Tissue Paper

A feather could be difficult to find. So use a cotton ball or a wisp of cotton to achieve the same result. If not, simply twirl an end of a tissue paper and put it into the nose. The paper will become a bit wet; now continue tickling the nose with the wet end until you are able to sneeze.

Use a Slightly Harder Object to Make You Sneeze

There are many things that can make you sneeze including Q-tips, pen, pencil, ball point etc. Softly insert the end of these objects until you are able to sneeze. Make sure you do not hurt yourself in the process.

Look at Something Bright

For most people, this trick works wonders and is based on the Photic Sneeze Reflex.

It affects nearly 20-33% of people around the world. Simply step outdoors in the sunshine and try looking indirectly at the sun (be careful not to hurt your eyes in the process). If you just can't sneeze this method is very likely to work.

This should be able to make you sneeze. If you are indoors, try and gaze at a light bulb/lamp/fluorescent light for the same. So this should answer the question, can the sun make you sneeze? Step out and find out for yourself!

Take a Whiff of a Strong Spice

Pepper works the best, though other spices like Indian curry powder, coriander, cumin etc can also make you sneeze. Just opening the container of the spice can bring on a sneeze.

Fake It till You Make It!

If you are wondering how to make yourself sneeze repeatedly then the ‘fake-it-till-you-make-it’ trick should definitely work. If, for example, you are feeling a cold coming on but are simply unable to relieve it, just pretend to sneeze loudly until a real one occurs.

Take a Whiff of Perfume

Certain strong perfumes, mint based fragrances and toothpastes etc can also induce a sneeze. Do not spray the said fragrance in the nostril directly; just around them so that you do not inhale the droplets but they are close enough to irritate the lining of your nose. This is another tried and trusted ways to make you sneeze.

Go out in the Cold Air

People living in cold countries can use this easy way to sneeze. Simply step outside from the warmth of the room out into the cold air in winters to bring a sneeze on. Even inhaling the cold air from the refrigerator can help you achieve this objective.

Chocolate - One of the Most Important Things That Make You Sneeze

There are many things apart from spices; perfumes and pollen allergies that can make you sneeze. Chocolate makes me sneeze is a common complaint made by many. Sneezing, as explained above is the process of eliminating foreign particles and irritants from the nasal passage. Take a bite of dark chocolate with extra cocoa – this "foreign material" enters your body, frequently giving rise to a sneeze.

Pull out Nasal Hair

Nasal hair is unsightly and if you try to pull out one, it often makes you sneeze. Use tweezers to gently pull out the hair that is sticking outside the nose just at the end of the nostril. It might sting a bit, but is one of the sure-fire methods of how to sneeze.

Stimulate the Roof of the Mouth

The roof of the mouth contains the trigeminal nerve which, when stimulated, can make you get a sneeze out. You can simply take the tip of your tongue to the backside of the mouth tickling it until a sneeze occurs.

Use a Massager/Vibrator on the Nose

A back massager or vibrator can be used on the bridge of the nose to induce a sneeze. Switch the massager on and place its edge on the nose taking care not to press too hard.

The vibrations stimulate the tickle spot of the nose and this trick is one of the best and easiest ways to make you sneeze. Try this method, it almost always works!

Drink Soda

Carbonated or fizzy drinks have ingredients to make you sneeze. For some people other drinks like alcohol, cough syrup etc can also make them sneeze.

Use Water

Add a teaspoon of salt to some warm water and inhale the mixture through the nose. You can take the water in a cup and put your nose inside it then tilt the head backwards. This is sure to give you a sneezing fit.

Pluck your Eyebrows

Plucking out nasal hair is not the only way to make you sneeze. Even plucking out eyebrows can do the same trick. The eyelid muscles are close to the group of muscles that activate the sneezing reflex. The trigeminal nerve can get stimulated in the process of plucking out stray hair of the eyebrows and make you sneeze easily.

Have a Full Stomach

Nearly 10% of sneezing occurs on a full stomach. Make sure you eat a large meal to the extent that you cannot eat anymore. Naturally, you must not use this way to sneeze so often that you start dealing with other health problems.

Pinch your Nose and Hum

For some people, this trick works wonders. Simply pinch the bridge of the nose by placing two fingers on the nostrils and humming at the same time. This induces vibrations which can then stimulate the trigeminal nerve and cause a sneeze to occur. The key is to ensure that the air escapes between your nose and fingers tickling the nose enough to make you sneeze.

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Chew Some Gum

Preferably use mint flavour gum or you can even try Altoids. The minty flavour tickles the sensitive nose/throat region causing a sneeze.

Use Dust to Make you Sneeze

This is definitely not the healthiest ways to make you sneeze but it is certainly one of the most effective. Simply grab a duster and dust your way to a cleaner home. If you want to learn how to make someone else sneeze

This will surely irritate your nose enough to produce multiple sneezes; you will also end up with neat and tidy surroundings! If that does not do the trick, you could directly tickle your nose using the feather duster that you just used to dust, on your face and nose. Wearing dusty clothes can also make you sneeze. 

If you want more ideas to learn how to make yourself sneeze have a look at the video below.​

These are the most effective ways of how to sneeze. What makes you sneeze? Share your favourite way?

About the Author

Barbara is the founder and owner of She is a former research scientist with a serious passion for health. She enjoys writing about nutrition, wellness and lifestyle and empowering people to take control of their health.

  • 🤧🤒😷aaaaaahhhhhhh….CCHHhhhoooooo!!! I love sneezing and when people have a sneezing cold.

  • The water salt one didn’t make me sneeze

  • I was struggling to sneeze and I read this and now I can sneeze again

  • For decades I thought I was the only person doing this. I’ve had major sinus headaches forever and started using a fingernail in 1985 to make me sneeze and, wow! does it help! Sometimes I’ve used a paperclip opened up and sometimes a pen when a paperclip is not available. Others have made fun of me but, obviously, either they like to suffer from horrible sinus headaches or they don’t have those issue. Good to know I’m not the only one doing this. Right now I have a nasty sinus infection and although I’m taking antibiotics, I can’ take decongestants so this is the only way I can make myself sneeze multiple times to get the mucous out. This has saved me numerous times from the mucous draining into my lungs as I sleep and becoming bronchitis. Thanks again for the great article!

  • Great article. I didn’t know that there are so many things you can do to make yourself sneeze. Sharing it with friends.

  • Great post. fantastic ideas and cool video with tips.

  • Really like this article. Well written and to the point. And the video is great too.
    You have some other awesome posts of your site.

  • Some great ideas. Thank you. One of the best articles on the net on this topic.

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