How to use a Neti Pot

It seems everyone in the Sonoran Desert is affected by allergies this year. Even people that don’t usually have allergies are noticing symptoms. Because of higher than normal rainfall this has been an excellent year for plants. Some of those plants are treating us to pollen that sets off our sneezing, coughing and post nasal drip.

There are literally 100’s of products on the market for allergies. In my work as a wellness coach, I always recommend trying the least invasive things first. In this case it is a neti pot. If you are suffering from allergies or dry sinuses, then a neti pot may be your new best friend.

The word “neti” means nasal cleansing in Sanskrit. The neti pot was first written about in India over 500 years ago and was likely invented many centuries before that. A simple concept, the neti pot is a gravity-based device for pouring saline into one nostril that flows out the other.

Non-invasive, easy to use and no side effects. Even the US Food and Drug Administration recommends using a neti pot. You can read their report here.

Why it works

The neti pot works by thinning mucus and flushing out the nasal passages. Breathing through the nose filters and conditions incoming air. The inside of the nose is lined with tiny, hair-like structures called cilia whose job it is to push mucus to the back of the throat so it can be swallowed, or to the front of the nose to be blown out.

The cilia are covered with a thin layer of mucus that traps dirt, dust and pollen. It is important that this protective layer of mucus is kept healthy, if the mucus becomes too thick and dry or too thin and runny it is easier for bacteria and viruses to penetrate.


Things to know

Using a neti pot is easy, here are a few things to remember:

  • Use a true neti pot that is designed for this purpose. Don’t try to stuff a tea pot up your nose because it has a spout!
  • Use only distilled water. Tap water or even bottled water can contain impurities that can make your condition worse.
  • Use pure non-iodized salt in the recommended amount. You can purchase salt made specifically for the neti pot. If you experience burning in your nose it often means you have not used enough salt.
  • And like your toothbrush, everyone should have their own neti pot.


How to use a neti pot

So how exactly do you use a neti pot? Quite simply you fill it with salt water and pour it through your nose. Okay there is a little more to it, but it really is simple.

  1. Make sure you start with a clean neti pot.
  2. Make a saline solution by using ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt in 8oz of warm distilled water.
  3. Bend over the sink and turn your head to one side so that your ear is facing the sink. Keep your forehead at the same height as the chin or slightly higher.
  4. Insert the spout into the upper nostril so it forms a comfortable seal.
  5. Raise the pot gently so the water begins to flow through your upper nostril and out the lower nostril. Breathe through your mouth. If the water drains out of your mouth, lower your forehead in relation to your chin.
  6. Repeat the process on the other nostril.
  7. When you are done exhale vigorously through both nostrils while holding your head over the sink to remove excess water. Don’t pinch your nose. You can blow gently into a tissue if you prefer. Do this until most of the dripping has stopped and you can breathe easily.

It’s that simple!

But be warned…you might notice easier breathing, a better sense of smell and enhanced taste buds.

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