Neti, also known as nasal irrigation, is a popular home remedy for upper respiratory congestion and sinus symptoms. The practice, which uses a pot that resembles a tea pot, began thousands of years ago in ancient India as an Ayurvedic yoga tradition.
Simply put, neti pots wash away dirt, dust, pollen and other irritants and rid the nose of excess mucus. Although the devices can be used with distilled water, many people choose to use a saline solution, which can help reduce irritation.
How to Use a Neti Pot
A neti pot is relatively simple to use. Here’s how:
First, check Your equipment
Before you use a net pot, make sure you have the following:
- A premixed saline packet or neti salt
- Distilled or sterile water
According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), other safe water sources include tap water that has been boiled for three to five minutes and cooled until lukewarm or water that has “passed through a filter designed to trap potentially infectious organisms.” Never fill your neti pot with water straight from the tap as this can pose serious health risks.
Next, prepare your saline solution
Make sure your hands—and your neti pot—are clean and dry. Then fill the pot with warm water and add a premixed saline packet or neti salt, according to package directions. You can also choose to add an aromatic neti post boost, if desired.
Then, irrigate your nasal passages
Although instructions may vary by neti pot, the process is typically as follows.
- Lean over a sink and tilt your head so it is at a 45-degree angle.
- Breathe gently through your mouth and carefully place the neti pot’s spout inside your top nostril (taking care not to touch your septum). This will cause the saline mixture to drain out of your bottom nostril.
- Continue pouring the solution until the neti pot is empty.
- Once the pot is empty, straighten your head and gently clear the nostril with a tissue to eliminate extra discharge.
- Repeat these steps for your other nostril.
Lastly, clean your neti pot
Clean your neti pot with antibacterial soap, 70 percent isopropyl alcohol or white, distilled vinegar after every use to help prevent contamination. After cleaning, rinse the pot with distilled water that is below 120 degrees. Allow the pot to air dry on a clean paper towel.
Neti pot safety
Nasal irrigation is an effective way to reduce congestion and alleviate allergy and sinus symptoms. But it’s important to be cautious when using a neti pot.
As we mentioned above, be sure to use a safe water source (e.g., distilled, sterile or properly boiled tap water) with your neti pot. Other safety tips include:
- Only use lukewarm water in your neti pot.
- Clean your neti pot after every use.
- Replace your neti pot regularly to avoid build up of bacteria and microbes.
- Stop using your neti pot if you experience stinging of the nostrils or ear pain.
- Discontinue use if symptoms don’t improve.
- Consult a pediatrician before using a neti pot on a child.
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