How To Properly Use A Neti Pot

You've probably seen people use these teapot-shaped devices on YouTube or TikTok, but a neti pot can help shuttle any mucus, pollen, dust, and bacteria out of your sinuses in just a few minutes (via Cleveland Clinic). The research backs it up. According to a 2009 study in American Family Physician, a neti pot is effective for those who suffer from chronic rhinosinusitis, or inflammation of the nasal cavities. It can also help with other types of rhinitis and upper respiratory tract infections.

To reap the benefits of a neti pot, it's important to know how to use it safely. The first safety measure is the water you use. According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, you should never use regular water from your household tap to irrigate your sinuses. Although regular tap water might be safe to drink, it might contain some bacteria or amoebas that can cause serious infections in your body. The acid in your stomach typically kills these microorganisms, but your sinuses can't. Therefore, you should only use distilled water or water that's been boiled for one minute (boil for three minutes if at high altitudes) and then cool before using. You can also use filtered water if your filter is labeled NSF 53 or 58 (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). It's also best to use a saline solution rather than plain water to avoid irritation. Saline packets usually come with commercial neti pots.

Safely using a neti pot

Once you have your saline solution ready, it's time to rinse out the grime. To avoid getting water everywhere, it's best to use your neti pot either in the shower or by the sink. Lean over, and tilt your head about 45 degrees so that one nostril is higher than the other (via Healthline). While breathing through your mouth, bring the tip of the neti pot to the top nostril and pour the solution into that nostril. The solution should drip out of the bottom nostril and into the sink or shower. When the neti pot is empty, breathe out through your nostrils to remove any saline solution or mucus that's left. You can also blow your nose with a tissue. Then, fill the neti pot again with the saline solution, and repeat with the other nostril.

After you're finished, be sure to rinse your neti pot with distilled or sterilized water. It's better to wash your neti pot with hot water and antibacterial soap after each use. If your neti pot is plastic, the Cleveland Clinic suggests replacing it every few months. You can safely use your neti pot as often as needed. Phelps Health says you can use it daily if you're prone to seasonal allergies.