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How to Use a Neti Pot

  • Step-by-Step Neti Pot Instructions

  • Learning how to use a neti pot is not as intimidating as it may seem.

    The term neti pot derives from an ancient yogic technique of sinus rinsing called Jala Neti. The yogis believed that irrigating the nasal passages contributed to one’s health – and apparently they were right. (See our companion article on the benefits of sinus rinsing.)

    Here are step-by-step instructions for getting started with a neti pot:

    1. Get the right equipment: Neti pots are sold in drug stores or online. Often you can pick up a kit that includes not only the device, but a pre-made saline solution. If not, you can make your own solution with common salt. See our allergist-approved neti pot solution.
    2. Choose the right location: You can use your neti pot over a sink or bowl; in the shower; or outside. (A trickle of water will be flowing out of your nose, so this isn’t something to do on the sofa.) Have some Kleenex nearby, and for the first time, wear something that could stand a few drips of water. That’s why over the sink or in the shower may be a good choice – no clothing needed.
    3. Prepare the solution: Recent news stories have discussed rare cases in which brain infections appear to have been caused by using tap water in a neti pot. Just to be safe, it is recommended you use distilled water, or boil your own tap water (let it cool before using.). Use warm water. Test the temp by putting a drop on your forearm, or take a sip. If it’s comfortable, you’re good.

      If you use a pre-packed solution, just stir it into the warm water. If making your own, use the ratio of ½ to 1 teaspoon of salt to two cups of water. This results in the body’s own saline ration of 0.9%. Stir it well into the warm water. See our allergist-approved neti pot solution for more tips.
    4. Begin the flush: After preparing the warm saline solution and adding it to the pot, just lean over your bowl or sink, tilt the head sideways so your face is horizontal, insert the neti pot spout into the upper nostril. Be sure the spout is fully inserted so water cannot leak out that nostril.

      Open your mouth and breathe through your mouth while you gently pour. RELAX.

      After a few seconds, the water will begin to stream out of the lower nostril.

      Use half your solution in the first nostril; save the remainder for the second.

      In between nostrils, you can stand upright and GENTLY blow your nose to clear it.

      If some water drains into your throat, it’s OK. Simply spit it out. Work on our technique and the angle of your head till the water remains flowing only in and out of the nasal passages.

    5. After the flush: You can again GENTLY blow your nose to clear all solution. Do not blow forcefully or you can drive the solution up into the sinuses and ear canals. This is not a serious problem, but is not the intended result.
    6. Rinse out your neti pot and put it somewhere it can air dry: You’re done!

    How Often Should I Use a Neti Pot?
    Most people develop a routine of flushing their sinuses morning and night. It can be done any time of the day – and may help before strenuous exercise, or after activities like mowing the lawn which can introduce more allergens into the body.

    One tip is to do your evening rinse one hour before bed. There may be some slight drainage of the solution and it’s better to catch that fluid with a Kleenex than to have it drip into the throat after lying down.

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