Product Review: The Graco Nasal Clear Nasal Aspirator, or the Amazing Automatic Snot Sucker

When we decided to have children, I knew I was committing myself to a new life of yuck: changing diapers, cleaning up vomit, sticky fingers, you name it. I had not, however, thought about the fact that I would be picking someone else’s nose. Or that babies and toddlers don’t really know how to blow their own noses, which means when they’re stuffed, it’s up to you to de-stuff them. Which brings in the most horrible torture device ever invented: The Blue Sucker of Hate.

They call it a Bulb Syringe Aspirator, but we know it's really the Blue Sucker of Hate.

It doesn’t take long for even a three-month old to see the thing coming and scream and squirm, forcing the apologetic parent to pin down the baby’s head and cram the spout up her nose, release the bulb, and then hurry to wipe away the goop that sucks out. As if that’s not gross enough, there’s no good way to clean the thing; we opted for running scalding water and repeatedly depressing and releasing the bulb.

When we travelled back East for Christmas, we didn’t think to bring it with us, which meant, of course, that the baby would get a cold and wake up screaming from lack of air. She’s hooked on the paci, you see, and without clear nasal passages, she has to breathe through her mouth; with a paci, she can’t do that. Which means she can’t suck on her paci, which means she can’t sleep, which means we can’t sleep.

The first night it happened, we were at my mother-in-law’s, and I remembered that we still had the drug syringe that comes with baby Tylenol. That worked well enough for her to get back to sleep. But when it happened at my parents’, I realized I’d left the drug syringe in Washington, DC, and we had nothing to clear out her poor little nose. Tissues, Q-tips–nothing worked. Eventually, I propped my iPad next to her Pack’n’Play, tuned in the Koi Pond app, and the sight and sound of fish swimming through water was relaxing enough that she was able to fall asleep without her paci. That whole process took three hours.

So in the morning, I sent my dad into town to fetch a new Blue Sucker of Hate. Fifteen minutes later, he called home to ask a question: “Do you want the regular one or the electric one?”

I raised my eyebrows. An electric snotsucker? Buy both. I figured if the electric one didn’t work, we could go back to the manual one and we’d only be out $20. Thus we became the proud owners of the Graco Nasal Clear Nasal Aspirator, a product so excellent that they had to use the word nasal twice.

A friend of mine said it looks like the bugsucker in the Matrix, and he’s not wrong. (I tried to find a picture of the bugsucker, but all I found was a bunch of schematics of the actual bug itself.) But here’s the snot sucker:


Pretty easy to see how it works: stick the nozzle in the baby’s nostril, press the button, and the snot goes into the little receptacle, a process that is gross in the extreme. But here’s the kicker: when I tried it on Gillian, it made her smile. I switched to the other nostril, and she laughed. Eliza came over to see what the fun was about and wanted to try it herself. The only explanation, I think, is that the buzzing of the motor tickles their noses. Or something. But we managed to replace the Blue Sucker of Hate with the Happy Fun Sucker of Joy, and I’m OK with it either way.

It does the job well enough, although if you have any stubborn mucus the motor begins to overheat a bit (which means you can smell a train transformer). There’s a little button that plays music, which we haven’t used simply because the damned music doesn’t turn off until it’s done playing, and we know how I feel about off-switches on children’s toys. The nozzle and receptacle come off easily for cleansing, and it takes two AA batteries.

I love this thing. I’m going to buy it for every baby shower I attend in the future, and may even buy them for people I know who’ve recently had kids. It’s got all the things I love in a baby gadget: it makes sense, it’s not too expensive, it comes with a travel bag, and best of all, it takes an otherwise horrid task and makes it almost pleasurable. For the baby, at least.

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8 Responses to Product Review: The Graco Nasal Clear Nasal Aspirator, or the Amazing Automatic Snot Sucker

  1. Cynthia says:

    I have the Graco one too and I LOVE it! I so highly recommend it to all my other friends with kids. I ended up throwing out all those “Blue Sucker of Hate!” :)

  2. maggie says:

    we use the nosefrida:
    Nosefrida The Snotsucker Nasal Aspirator

    Quinn hates it, but it works way better than the aspirator! maybe we’ll pick up the graco and give it a try!

  3. Judith says:

    My graco nasalclear broke after a week and I returned it.
    No regrets, the suction was weak and it was akward to clean inside. As I would never use a disgusting mouth suction device, I found another battery powered nasal aspirator: the Cleanoz easy. This one works wery well and best of all, no clean-up is necessary afterfards as it uses disposble reservoir tips. I recommend it to everyone!

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  5. Bart and Cassandra says:

    The folks who invented this product are GENIUSES! We bought one for our two week old and she seems to enjoy it! That and the magnifying glass nail clippers are quite possibly the two greatest inventions known to mankind!!!

  6. Bill Klein says:

    We bought one but does not seem to aspirate anything. Feels like a cheap toy. Save your money.

  7. julia says:

    what songs does it play? my baby loves the songs. they are short and quick but I realized I don’t know most of them! would like to learn lyrics.

  8. heather lynn stone says:

    graco are not the inventors of the aspirator . the original name for the product is the infant nasal suctioner designed and invented by Heather Lynn Stone even the cartridges that go with it. Heather L Stone submitted her idea to invent tech in st. louis missouri for patent and at the time did not have 1500 dollars to pay for the process a new idea has to go through. some time later i called invent tech after i have relocated and find out the st louis office relocated they have no record of my idea and i find out my invention is on the market in a bit of an upgraded form that plays music but is the exact same module i designed and submitted to invent tech in 2004.

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