You may have seen pictures or videos of people holding up what looks like a tea pot to their nose, and always wondered what it was.
It’s sorta weird, huh?
That thing is called a neti pot and it helps to clear your nasal passages.
It works with a saltwater solution that is low in cost and easy to use once you learn the right way to do it.
Keep reading if you are interested in using a neti pot, but aren’t quite sure where to start.
What Is A Neti Pot?
Before looking at the benefits of using a neti pot and discussing simple instructions, let’s first go over exactly what this is.
The term neti pot actually comes from the practice of rinsing your sinuses, which called Jala Neti. This has been used since ancient times and was the practice of using a device (similar to the pot used today) to insert a water solution into the nasal passages to cleanse them.
At the time, it was done for overall health after irrigating them.
Today, the neti pot is used in similar ways, though now there is a lot of science to back up the health benefits of clearing your sinuses.
Benefits of Using a Neti Pot
As you have probably guessed by now, there are many advantages of using a neti pot. You can use it year-round, but it is particularly useful during cold and allergy season.
This is because when it is allergy season, you tend to breathe in a lot of allergens like pollen and pollution, which can then inflame and irritate your sinuses.
Here are some reasons why using a neti pot can be really useful for you:
- You can relieve stuffiness and congestion from a cold
- It helps to alleviate pressure when you have sinus or allergy problems
- You breathe better when your nasal passages are clear
- It reduces nasal dryness and cracking of the skin
- Neti pots help to reduce your sinus headaches
- You have improved sense of smell
- It can help reduce your snoring
- You will be able to breathe deeper
- Using it regularly helps prevent the common cold
If you are someone with sinus infections, allergies, or frequent cold and flu symptoms, you can probably benefit from using a neti pot.
Finding A Neti Pot That Fits Your Needs
When you begin shopping around for a neti pot, you will discover that there are many different varieties.
This is not a brand of device, but rather a type of device.
It is essentially a container that you can use to put a solution through your nostrils to clean out your nasal passages.
There is a wide range of styles, sizes, and colors of neti pots.
Some are ceramic or plastic and look similar to a small teapot, while others look like a squirt bottle (this is the type I use).
Many neti pots come with a saltwater solution that you can use along with the pot.
You’ll be placing the spout of the pot near your nostrils so get the size you can easily manage.
You can buy a neti pot at most drug stores, chain stores, Amazon, and occasionally doctor’s offices.
How To Use Your Neti Pot
It can be intimidating to use a Neti Pot at first, but once you use the right technique, you will discover how easy it is.
Find A Good Location
Before you do anything else, make sure you have chosen a good location in your home to use the neti pot.
Try to pick a time when you won’t have any distractions from kids or pets. Typically, people will choose the bathroom to flush their nasal passages with the neti pot.
You can either do this over the sink or stand in your shower or bathtub.
The shower really is the best place because you can choose not to wear clothes and keep them from getting solution on them, plus there is no risk of spilling the solution on the ground.
If you do it over the sink, you need to lean your head over the sink enough to where the solution that drips out goes into the sink and not on your floor.
If you do this over a sink or while clothed, you might want to put on a t-shirt you don’t mind getting a little wet. This should only be necessary the first couple times until you get used to using the neti pot.
Use Premade Solution
The solution used with a neti pot is typically a saltwater solution.
You can either a premade solution, make it yourself, or it may come with your neti pot kit.
For the first few times, it is often recommended you use one already made for you.
That way, you aren’t stressing over making it before trying out the neti pot for the first time.
If you decide to make your own, use either distilled or bottled water, not regular tap water.
Also, you should always boil your water before using it and then let it cool to lukewarm.
You don’t want to use too much salt, so be careful if you are making your own keeping it to about a teaspoon of salt per 16 ounces of water.
Put The Spout Near Your Nostril
When you have made your warm saltwater solution, it is time to get into position and start using the neti pot.
You want the spout of the container to be near your upper nostril, as it is going to come out of the lower nostril.
Stand in the shower or over the sink, and tilt your head to one side.
Now put the spout near your upper nostril and start pouring the solution in.
If it is inserted enough, it won’t leak out of the nostril.
If you do this right, it will flush the nasal passage and come out of the lower nostril.
Try To Relax
It is important that you try your best to relax while using the neti pot.
It might feel a little funny, but it will not harm you if you follow these instructions.
Open your mouth to breathe through your mouth and just try to relax while you insert the solution.
If any solution goes into your throat, just spit it out. This is also normal. Repeat the process with your other nostril and you’re done!
How Often Should You Use Your Neti Pot
A common question asked is how often you should use the neti pot.
Typically, you only need to use it as needed.
This might be when you are stuffed up or when you have symptoms of sinus problems or allergies.
Other people use it more often, such as doing it once a week or every few days.
Easiest Neti Pot For A Beginner To Use
I’ve found the simplest and easiest Neti Pot to use is actually the squeeze bottle style.
NeliMed is the brand I bought and comes with premade solution packs (more than enough for cold and allergy season if you get the 100 pack).
I bought mine at Costco but you can get them on Amazon, too.
When you check it out on Amazon be sure to read the reviews as there are over 1,000 positive reviews!
Additional Tips To Follow
Here are some more tips to follow for using the neti pot successfully.
Don’t use the neti pot right before bed
You might still have a little drainage after you are done using the neti pot, so it is best that you not lay down right after. You don’t want a pillow that is wet when you are trying to sleep. Wait at least an hour before lying down after using it.
Try using the shower
This truly is one of the best ways to use a neti pot. There is less clean-up and it is easier to manage overall.
Don’t lean over too quickly
While you will be tempted to lean over immediately after pouring the solution into your nostril, give it a few seconds and only lean over as much as you need to. This allows the solution to work its magic before draining out.
Wash your hands thoroughly before using the neti pot
This is a good rule of thumb to ensure only clean, filtered saltwater enters your nostrils. Wash your hands before touching and using your neti pot.
Use the pot regularly during cold and allergy season
While you can just use the neti pot when you already have symptoms, you can also try using it routinely. Use the neti pot more often during allergy season.
Use Clean Boiled Water
The water you use for the saltwater solution should always be as clean as possible. This means using distilled or filtered water that you have boiled 3-5 minutes.
Rinse your neti pot after using it – you don’t want that saltwater solution to sit in the neti pot.
When you are done using it, dump it out, then rinse it well on the inside and outside.
Using Essential Oils With Your Neti Pot
If you are someone who likes to use essential oils you may want to try using them with your solution.
The essential oils can help when killing microbes that can lead to sinus and allergy problems.
There are certain essential oils that are great for helping to kill microbes, such as tea tree oil, rosemary, and clove essential oils.
Only add a drop or 2 to your solution.
Another way to get the benefits of the oils is use them in an inhaler after you’ve used the Neti Pot. You can find inhaler recipes for congestion here.
Neti pots provide a great way to treat your allergy symptoms and sinus infections in a natural way. Be sure to check with your doctor if you have any questions.