From time to time, almost all singers have to deal with, what I call, the creeping crud.

That’s an overload of yuck in the throat.

There are a number of things that can cause the creeping crud –

Eating chocolate; eating ice cream, drinking milk, going swimming!

Yup, all these things are the things you can do to yourself that will result in a not-so-lovely phlegmy throat.

And then there are nature’s little gifts – like allergies or having what might (or might not) be a cold.

Face it mucus is the bane of a singer’s life.

So what can you do?

Taking stuff to dry you up (like an antihistamine) will do exactly that – and good luck singing with a dry throat and mouth.

Have you ever tried singing when your mouth is so dry your lips are glued to your teeth?

I have.  And it’s not fun (nor is it pretty).

I have had a lot of success with hot pineapple juice.

It tastes a lot better (to me) than hot lemonade – but it has lots of acid to cut through the phlegm and then sugar to coat and soothe the throat.

Some people swear by hot tea with lemon – except then you have the caffeine which also dries you out, makes you jittery, and will keep you running to the loo.

A lot of folks on Broadway use the herbal tea Throat Coat.  I’ve never tried it – but it is supposed to do wonders.

And I know one person who swears by Alkalol (she gargled with the stuff) – which is supposed to cut mucus.  Don’t know if it works, but she was (and I assume still is) a great singer.

Mostly, I say, find something that tastes okay to you, removes the crud, and will keep your throat warm and moist (and fuck you if you don’t like word “moist” – it’s a perfectly good word, get over it).

And if and when everything plugs up and shuts down – the miracle cure of all miracle cures is a cortisone shot; but good luck finding a doctor who will give you one.

That shit works (but it will take at least a day to kick in)!

I was so sick and had to perform – got the shot – was able to sing beautifully.  Sadly, I was so clogged up – I couldn’t even hear myself sing (that’s how sick I was) but everything felt fine and everyone said I sounded just fine.  Not something you can do often, but if one must, one must.

You got any cures for the creeping crud?

Do tell.



  1. The problem is milk will, by itself, cause you to phlegm up. You need something that will strip away the phlegm and then re-coat the throat. That’s not to say indulging in something that makes you feel good isn’t beneficial – just not so much if you need to sing.

    • Gargling warm salt water is very soothing for a sore throat; but I’m not sure how good it is at cutting through the mucus.

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