What Does the Color of Your Snot Mean?

Discolored mucus does not necessarily mean there’s an infection, but it’s definitely a sign that something is not moving properly. Learn more about what the color of your snot means from Dr. Kandula of ADVENT.
What-Does the Color of Your Snot Mean Blog ImageThick White Snot Mucus No MoistureSticky Yellow Snot Mucus Sinus InfectionSlimey Green Snot Mucus Sinus Issues
Reviewed by
Published on
June 14, 2021
Updated on
February 25, 2022

It lives in your nose. It's hanging with you at all times. Do you know what your snot is trying to tell you?

Mucus is your friend.

In its most technical definition, mucus is a thin layer of fluid that coats your nose, sinuses, and lungs. It's actually helpful, because it filters things out of the air and keeps your immune system on track.

To put it plainly, it's snot. It's the stuff that ends up in the tissue when you blow your nose.

Essentially, snot and mucus are the same thing - snot is made up of mucus - your word of choice simply depends on how fancy you are.

Why does snot change colors?

All joking aside, snot is formed from secretions by the mucus membranes which line all of the cavities that are exposed to external environments.

And it can show up in a … lovely … assortment of colors, like green, orange, yellow, white, red and more.

The range of colors in your snot could mean an array of different things:

  • You have a cold brewing
  • Your sinuses are infected
  • You have a nose that is too dry
  • A fungal infection is lurking

Whether or not you're grossed out yet, it's important to know what the color spectrum means, because your body is trying to tell you something.

The color & consistency of healthy snot

At it's healthiest and highest functioning form, your snot should be clear and the same consistency as your saliva. It does its thing, moving along, being swallowed without you even thinking about it.


When your mucus starts to change, or your body starts producing too much of it, this is a tell-tale sign that something isn't quite right.

Different Colors of Snot

Thick White Snot Mucus No Moisture
Sticky Yellow Snot Mucus Sinus Infection
Slimey Green Snot Mucus Sinus Issues

What causes discolored snot?

When an infection in the nose or sinuses occurs, it'll be paired with inflammation that creates byproducts that will mix in with your mucus causing a wider range of colors - from white to yellow to green, even orange or red.

Does the color of snot indicate an infection?

Discolored mucus does not necessarily mean there's an infection, but it's definitely a sign that something is not moving properly.

Simple Solutions

If you're experiencing this from time to time, simple solutions like rinses and saline may help. But if it's much more frequent, and your tissue begins to look like a painter's palette, it's time to ask for help to find out what the root cause may be.

Having Severe Sinus Issues? Don't Wait...

Schedule Now

First published by ADVENT on
June 14, 2021
Table of contents
What Does the Color of Your Snot Mean?