4 Impressive Neti Pot Benefits, Plus Helpful Tips to Give Nasal Irrigation a Try

Elizabeth Marglin

by | Updated: November 18th, 2022 | Read time: 4 minutes

Nasal irrigation is trending, but for many people the idea of rinsing their sinuses with warm water has little to no appeal. Because they require rinsing warm saltwater through your nose—in one nostril and out the other—they might even be a little scary, truth be told. But neti pots can actually feel surprisingly good. They require just two ingredients, purified water and salt, to perform a deep clean on your nasal passages. Think of them as a bidet for your nose, swooshing water up in your bits and loosening any debris.

Woman Benefitting From Neti Pot Benefits Practicing Nasal Irrigation on Mat on Floor

What is a neti pot?

A neti pot, which looks like a white teapot-shaped vessel, is a device that pushes a flow of a saline solution through your nasal passages, removing mucus and allergens. Using a saline solution instead of just water helps prevent irritation of your nasal passage.

What’s its origin story?

Nasal rinsing has a history more than thousands of years old in the Ayurvedic medical tradition and yogic traditions of India. Since breathing exercises were so integral to Indian spiritual pursuits, anything that helped clear the nose was considered essential for personal hygiene. The first mass-market produced neti pot was introduced to the West in 1972. Impressively, neti’s growing popularity is based on it being safe, inexpensive, on trend and time-tested.

How is nasal rinsing beneficial?

When you inhale, the mucus in your nose traps all sorts of undesirable particles from the air, like viruses, bacteria, allergens and pollutants. Microscopic hairs in the nose, called cilia, then sweep those trapped particles, with the mucus, into the throat so they can be swallowed into the gut. Sometimes, people react to that stuff that’s getting caught up in the mucus. This can lead to inflammation and trigger symptoms like congestion, pressure and pain.

Enter neti, which washes all that stuff right out of your hair. Nasal rinsing can also thin the mucus and reduce swelling that can cause congestion, functioning as a natural decongestant. A huge bonus is that while it works as a decongestant, it has none of the side-effects of over-the-counter medication, like drowsiness or stimulation.

What specific ailments can a neti pot address?

Chronic inflammation

A study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that patients suffering from chronic sinus infections who used neti pots had modest improvements in their symptoms and maintain positive outcomes for six months. The study subjects not only got relief from sinus congestion, they also experienced fewer headaches and resorted to over-the-counter medicines a lot less.

Impaired sense of smell

If you are struggling with a post-Covid impaired sense of smell, a neti pot may help. Nasal irrigation can clear virus and bacteria along with heavy mucus and offer a natural decongestant effect. In addition to breathing easier through their noses, many neti pot users also report a more acute sense of smell and taste after a neti pot session.

Seasonal allergies

Nasal congestion and post-nasal drip are core components of seasonal allergy symptoms. Nasal irrigation functions as a power washer for your nose, providing immediate drip relief.

Colds and flus

When you use a neti pot for a stuffy nose due to a cold, you can thin out the mucus so it can drain out more easily. This relieves multiple cold symptoms.

Are there any risks?

Though the evidence that a neti pot helps with these various nasal issues is mixed, experts say there are few downsides to trying it. In general, it’s a case of low risk but high potential benefit for users. This means it’s worth giving neti a go, as there are no dire side effects.

How often do I need to rinse?

For people with chronic sinus inflammation, the recommendation is rinsing twice per day — morning and evening. For those with milder symptoms, daily rinsing may be enough. Doing it on a regular, preventive basis keeps inflammation under control versus trying to catch up once the inflammation has already established itself. Be careful about overusing your neti pot, too, because that can lead to irritation of the nasal passage. If your issues continue after a few days, contact your healthcare provider.

Tips for correct neti pot usage:

Use only distilled or sterile water

Use only sea salt, kosher salt or a plain cooking salt in your neti pot

Keep neti pot extremely clean

Don’t overdo using your neti pot

Featured Products

Xlear Natural Sinus Rinse with Xylitol
NeilMed NasaFlo Neti Pot with 50 Pre-mixed Packets
Himalayan Chandra Neti Salt for Nasal Wash