The American Lung Association says your lungs already cleanse themselves when you don’t expose them to air pollutants and smoke. While you can avoid smoke by quitting smoking, sometimes air pollutants like dust are hard to avoid. Most of the larger particles in the air get trapped by the small hairs in your nose. Blowing your nose or sneezing can help rid your body of these particles.
If the smaller pollutants in the air reach your air passages, they stick to the mucus, where the cilia work like brooms to sweep the mucus and pollutants up to your throat. Then, you’ll cough up the mucus and probably swallow it. Should some dust particles sneak by your air passages and enter your lungs, cells called macrophages will capture the particles and move up your respiratory system until they reach the mucus and cilia to be carried out. Your lungs also have proteins that bind to any germs so they can wipe them out (per Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety).