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Confessions of a Neti Pot Convert

Confessions of a Neti Pot Convert

Things must be seriously blooming, because pollen counts are high across the U.S. right now. Everyone I know is sniffling, sneezing, and suffering. Even folks who aren’t allergy prone seem to be getting hit this year, and you can count me among those numbers.

It’s easy to grab some nasal spray or an over the counter allergy medication when hay fever sets in, but that’s not a long term solution. Your body builds a tolerance to these chemical quick fixes, and over time you have to either up your dose or cope with symptoms once again.

I’d heard folks singing the praises of the Neti pot, but I’ll be honest here: it sort of freaked me out. It seemed a little counter-intuitive to pour water into my nose. After months of deliberating, I finally took the plunge and am now a Neti pot convert! Here are some tips from one first time Neti pot user to another:

How it Works

This part is pretty simple. You’re basically using a very diluted saline solution to flush the gunk out of your sinuses. Water flows into one nostril, through your nasal cavity, and out the other nostril. This sounds a lot more uncomfortable than it is. If you get your technique down pat, you barely feel anything at all. The tips below will definitely help make it a more pleasant experience!

The Water

You want the water you’re using to be lukewarm. If it’s too cold or too hot, the Neti pot experience is a little less pleasant.

A lot of Neti pots come with packets and instructions for creating the saline mixture. If yours doesn’t, just combine a pint of water with a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. A pint of water should be enough to irrigate both nostrils, and the baking soda helps balance the mixture’s pH, so it’s easier on your nasal passages. You flush each nostril separately, using half the pint on each side.

The Technique

Good technique is key to a pleasant Neti pot experience! It seems a little bit awkward at first, but remember: the worst thing that can happen is a little water goes up your nose, just like when you were a kid and swimming for the first time. No sweat!

Some folks recommend standing or sitting in the bathtub, but the sink works fine, too. To start, place the spout of the pot into your nostril. Bend over a bit at the waist, then tilt your head to about a 45 degree angle. The idea is to get one nostril over the other, where the one on top has the spout in it. You’ll also want to tilt your head forward slightly to help keep water from going up your nose.

The water should start to flow through at this point, and so try to relax and take deep breaths through your mouth. It’s easy to catch yourself holding your breath, so try to really focus on breathing. Don’t worry if you need to take a break. This will get easier every time you do it!

Are there any experienced Neti pot users that want to share some wisdom? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments!

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by buffawhat

Read more: Allergies, Cold and Flu, Health,

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Becky Striepe

Becky Striepe is a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. Her life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Like this article? You can follow Becky on Twitter or find her on Facebook!


+ add your own
9:31AM PST on Nov 4, 2014

It's so great....even my grandchildren use it for allergies!

2:19PM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

Interesting article, I wonder does it feel as bad as water going up your nose?
Perhaps it gets easier more you do it.

5:37PM PDT on Jun 30, 2014

I have been BEGGING!!! my husband to do this for YEARS!!!!!! to no avail but, recently he has done so & has had a marked improvement w/ his allergies. Why ppl wait so long to try something new when they suufee so just unbelievable to me. I always say...I guess it's not really that bad, if your not willing to try something, safe & easy to relieve your suffering.

8:09AM PDT on Jun 29, 2014

I've been using a neti pot for years and love the feeling of clean and fresh sinuses. I have great well chlorine..but I would still never use it for a nasal cleanse! I only use distilled water, warmed up a bit. I tried my tap water and it just didn't feel as refreshing as the distilled. So I went with what FELT better. I listen to my always knows the right way to do something.

7:55AM PDT on Mar 23, 2013

I have all the symptoms described and saw on the news today that my city is headed into a severe pollen invasion in a couple of weeks. Appreciate article and comments. I've seen several things about adding baking soda lately. Will try "going to pot".

8:43PM PST on Dec 6, 2012


11:16AM PST on Dec 6, 2012


9:58AM PST on Dec 5, 2012

makes sense, flushing our noses!

9:01AM PST on Dec 4, 2012

The most important instruction was NOT mentioned!! Do NOT use faucet water unless it has been boiled for at least 5 minutes. There have been cases where a very nasty microbe gets up into your brain and the person dies from the microbe eating it up!!

8:22AM PDT on Jul 31, 2012

Glad to have something for my pollen allergies not to mention my allergies to my cat along with dust and some others.
Boiling tap water first is necessary or you may end up with some nasty microscope creatures in your brain-see Neti Pot deaths and how to Neti Safely! (Pictured above with other articles).

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