Neti Pots – Here’s How You Can Use One to Clean Your Sinuses Safely and Efficiently

Neti Pots – Here’s How You Can Use One to Clean Your Sinuses Safely and Efficiently

You might be curious about what a neti pot is and why people use one if you’ve ever seen one in a drugstore.

A neti pot is a tool used to wash out the sinuses and remove any buildup of mucus and it resembles a teapot.

Its function is fairly straightforward: Saline solution is placed in the pot.

The nozzle is then inserted into one nostril, allowing the liquid to pass through the sinuses and out of the other nostril, taking everything out along with it, helping you breathe easily once more.

Although the idea is straightforward, forcing a lot of water up your nose is not something that comes naturally, according to Mas Takashima, an ENT specialist.

However, using a neti pot at home becomes simpler with some practice, and there are many advantages, such as easing allergy symptoms, removing congestion, or minimizing active respiratory infections.

Takashima mentioned that “The whole goal of the nose is to filter the air for your lungs. It keeps the opening of the sinuses open and aerating well.”

It’s crucial to keep that filter clean, just like you would any other filtering device.

 In addition, adding salt water “makes the environment less conducive for the bacteria to grow” during an active infection, Takashima said.

There is some evidence that saline sinus irrigation may have a small beneficial effect on reducing the duration and severity of upper respiratory infections as well.

With that being said, here’s what you should do to real all the benefits safely.

First, you must prepare a saline solution before using a neti pot: Most drugstores sell pre-mixed packets, but you can also make your own by combining salt and baking soda.

You should either use distilled water or water that has been boiled when making the saline solution.

Even though it happens very infrequently, drinking tap water, which has very low levels of microorganisms, has been linked to some serious, even fatal, infections.

The FDA advises using distilled water in order to avoid that.

Otherwise, you can also boil the tap water for about 3 to 5 minutes in order to get rid of that risk.

Regarding technique, the best way to learn to do it right is to watch some video tutorials and practice slowly.

Even though using a neti can pot be awkward at first, Takashima observes that if it hurts, you are not doing it right. 

According to him, the most painful mistake people make is using plain water instead of a saline solution.

If you have a deviated septum, that might also be a problem and cause pain or discomfort.

You should stop if you feel like you are forcing something when you don’t need to or if it doesn’t feel right.

A squeeze bottle is an alternative to a neti pot, where you squirt the solution into your nose as opposed to pouring it in.

If battery-powered kits sound more comfortable, they are also available.


Katherine is just getting her start as a journalist. She attended a technical school while still in high school where she learned a variety of skills, from photography to nutrition. Her enthusiasm for both natural and human sciences is real so she particularly enjoys covering topics on medicine and the environment.

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