Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Neti Pots: Better Than They Sound

Chances are someone you know has raved about using a neti pot or at least you've got an idea of what they are. But maybe you think washing out your nose sounds gross or scary, or perhaps you’ve been intrigued but are too nervous to try it? I was once like you. I’d been told how great they were for years but resisted because I thought it would make me feel like I was drowning. Then one day I went to a new doctor who ordered me to start using one, and I caved, and now I am a full-blown neti pothead. I guarantee that using one is not nearly as hard or nasty as you think it’ll be. Plus, flushing out all the slime from your nose can be satisfying in the same way that cleaning your house can be. You’ll walk around feeling light and accomplished because your sinuses are so sparkling and fresh!

So what exactly is a neti pot? It is a cute little pitcher that’s usually shaped like what I imagine a genie’s lamp looks like. You fill it with salt water, and then pour the water into one nostril, which is easier and less terrifying than it sounds. Gravity then pulls the water through your sinuses and it comes pouring out of your other nostril, along with a bunch of goop it’s collected along the way. Yes, it may sound a little unpleasant, but I promise it doesn’t hurt, and once you get the hang of it, it actually feels good! It’s a practice that has been used for centuries in India and has become ever more popular in the United States. (Dr. Oz even talked about it on Oprah, so you know it’s legit.)

Why would you want to flush your sinuses out with salt water? Lots of reasons: it helps clear congestion during a cold (and can make them go away faster), it can prevent and treat sinus infections, reduce allergies, help you breathe more easily, and just generally keep your respiratory system in better health. Neti pots work because they remove the dirt and bacteria and the dried mucousy clumps which like to hang out in your precious nasal caves and cause problems. The water can reach places you can't get clear simply by blowing your nose or reaching in with your finger (which you would never do, of course). So even if the idea of pouring water into your sinuses sounds icky, just remind yourself that tiny bacteria making a nice home in your face is even ickier. Hey, you clean your mouth and your ears out, why not treat your sinuses with the same respect?

I started using a neti pot about seven years ago after suffering from a lifetime of terrible sinus infections. For years, I essentially had a sinus infection all winter long, and I was on antibiotics for weeks and sometimes months at a time, which didn’t do much for the infections (as science later proved) and was not good for me. I even had two sinus operations. The first didn’t really help; the second helped a bit, but the only thing that’s consistently kept the infections away is using the neti pot once a day. I went from always having a stuffy nose and pressure in my face to almost never having problems — in fact, I cannot even remember the last time I had a sinus infection. It also really helps keep my allergies in check, though I do still have issues when the pollen gets ridiculously high like it is right now.

I’ve converted many of my friends over the years and now they swear by them too. I admit that neti pots are not for everyone—for instance, if you never have any nasal issues (how nice for you!) or if the thought of having water in your nose is deeply traumatizing, then probably better not to go there. But if you ever have any stuffy/runny nose, allergy, or infection issues, and you’re even the tiniest bit curious, please do give the neti pot a try!

So first things first, you need to buy one. Neti pots can usually be found in natural/health foods stores, most drug stores, and even some grocery stores. (Whole Foods sells them, for instance.) I have no specific brand to recommend, since they’re all variations on the same shape. They come in ceramic and plastic. I use a plastic one since I’m clumsy and am afraid of breaking a ceramic one, but either one will do the job. They’re not expensive, usually costing somewhere from $8 to $14 dollars, and they last forever. (There are also electric sinus irrigation machines and these plastic squeezable bulbs that use more force to get the water into your sinuses, but I can’t vouch for these since I’ve never tried them.)

The second element of neti-potting is the saline solution. To make it, all you need is salt and water. There are a two options for salt. The first is to just buy regular sea or kosher salt. (You don’t want table salt that has additives like anti-caking agents). Or they sell salts specifically for use in neti pots (which are usually right next to the neti pots at the store). These “special salts” are generally just regular salt that they’re charging more for — sometimes they come in individual packets (not really very useful) and sometimes it’s more finely ground so it dissolves faster (a little bit helpful). Some brands also have baking soda in them. I don’t use these because my doctor told me baking soda was unnecessarily drying, and I wasn’t able to find any evidence that it has other benefits. I have used both normal and “special” salts and haven’t noticed a huge amount of difference. Right now I am using Ancient Secrets Nasal Cleansing Salt because it comes in a smaller container that fits more easily in my bathroom cabinet, and it has a little measuring spoon which is kind of convenient. But if you already have sea salt lying around the house, by all means use it.

Once you’ve got your pot and your salt, it’s time to mix the saline solution and then get irrigating! After you get to be a pro, you can mix the solution right in the neti pot itself, but to begin it’s easier to use a glass or measuring cup. Start with one cup of lukewarm water that’s similar to your body’s temperature. (If you put a drop on your wrist you shouldn’t notice that it’s hot or cold.) You really don’t want to use water that’s too hot (because it will KILL when it hits your delicate sinus tissue), so it’s better to err on the side of being a bit too cool. Then add in ¼ teaspoon of the salt and stir it around until the salt dissolves. Dip your (clean) finger into the solution and taste a drop of it—it should taste just the slightest bit salty, sort of like tears. Some people prefer their saline a little more or less salty, and you can play around with the measurements over time. But as you’re getting used to the neti pot, it’s better to use less salty water because if the water is too salty it will burn like a motherf*cker, and you will shriek and hop around and swear. So, don’t get overzealous with the salt!

Now that you are like goldilocks and your solution is just right, it’s time to actually do the deed. Fair warning: the first few times you use the neti pot it will feel weird, and you will think that you are not doing it right, and you might even get a little frustrated. But I promise if you give it just a few tries, by the third or fourth time you’ll get the hang of it and then it will be smooth sailing! So because things can be a bit messy at first, I recommend using the neti pot while standing in the bathtub, perhaps before you take a shower. Here is what you do:

1) Pour half of the saline solution into your neti pot.

2) Hold the neti pot in your right hand and bend your head forward while you turn to look to the right. The left side of your face should be parallel with the floor. Open your mouth a bit and breathe exclusively through your mouth.

3) Place the spout of the neti pot into your right nostril, making sure it’s really in there and the nostril has sealed around it.

4) Tip the neti pot up so that the water begins to flow into your nose. At this point you will begin to feel the water moving through your sinuses, which is a strange sensation. Don’t panic. Focus on breathing through your mouth.

5) After a second, if you’re at the right angle, the water will start flowing out of your left nostril. Finding and maintaining this flow of the water is the trickiest part, and you may need to play around a bit with the tilt of your head to find the optimal angle. If you feel water going down into your throat, tip your head down a bit and make sure you’re breathing through your mouth. (Note: if you are really congested, this may not work easily. Blow your nose a few times and retry the neti pot. Or try starting with the other nostril first. Normally after a little persistence the water will come trickling through and start to clear your passages as it does. If you aren't congested and truly cannot get water through, go to the doctor because you may have a nasal blockage that’s worth getting checked out.)

6) Once you’ve poured all the water from the pot into your nose, and it's drained out the other side, turn face down, and gently blow both nostrils out. You may see some nasty goop coming out with the water — good riddance!

7) I usually like to turn my head back and forth a little bit (like I’m slowly shaking my head “no.”) to make sure that any water that’s lingering up there flows down and out my nose.

8) Now you do the same thing on your left side (turn your head to the left, put the spout in your left nostril, etc.), using the other half of the saline solution that remains.

9) Once you’re done with both sides, I suggest bending down to touch your toes and hanging your head down there for a second. As you come back up slowly, there may be a bit more water that drains out of your nose. I find doing this cuts way back on instances of sudden nose running in the half-hour or so after you use the neti pot. Immediately after you’re done, it may feel like your sinuses are a little wet (for obvious reasons), and you may also need to blow your nose a few times, but usually after a few minutes they dry out and then your sinuses feel extra clean and you can breathe more clearly than before!

Here’s a video of a terrifyingly serene woman who demonstrates the basic technique in action:

That woman makes it look effortless, but as I’ve said, it may be not be quite so easy for you at first. Just be patient and practice a bit, and soon you’ll be able to do it standing over the sink without making a mess. Once you’ve got the whole routine down, it will take you less than two minutes to do. You can do it as often as you like. I do it every morning, but you could do it twice a day if you’re really congested, or a few times a week for maintenance, or just as needed when you have a cold or allergies. After experimenting for a few weeks, you’ll figure out a schedule that works best for you. (Bonus tip: I find it's particularly good to do after flying because it moistens my sinuses up after all that dry plane air and, at least in my mind, flushes out anything I might catch from my sniffling fellow passengers.)

Yes, the whole thing takes a little bit of getting used to, but once you get hooked, I bet you’ll find it feels as essential as washing your face or using Q-tips. If you go a few days without doing it, you’ll notice your sinuses start to feel stale and sad. And hopefully with regular use, you’ll find that you have a lot fewer colds, sinus infections, and annoying allergy problems. In case you need one final bit of encouragement, I just came up with a new slogan: Don't be a snot, use your neti pot!

If you have health problems, check with your doctor before using a neti pot. Also, no one is giving me money to recommend any of these things.

112 Comments / Post A Comment

Tina Steele Wiltzius

Flushing the gunk out of your sinuses IS awesome, but I have to recommend a sinus rinse bottle over a neti pot. It's like a plastic squeeze bottle. The only thing better than salt water through your sinuses is pressurized salt water through your sinuses.

If you couldn't tell, I'm a bit Type A.


@Tina Steele Wiltzius Word to that, I used to use a Neti pot and had such a difficult time finding an angle for one side of my nose I gave up. Once I got a NeilMed squeeze bottle my life was revolutionized.

Brobdingnagian Brainboners

@Tina Steele Wiltzius I totally agree! Using a neti pot, I couldn't get the water to come out the other nostril for the life of me. I thought I was defective or something, until I tried the squeezy bottle. It's so much easier and more effective!


@Tina Steele Wiltzius YES THE SQUEEZE BOTTLE! The worst and best feeling thing I have ever tried! and much less intimidating than a pot, which looks trickier!

The squeezie bottle changed my life. I used to get sinus headaches that made my face hurt so badly it hurt to walk around (every step on the ground = horrible pain on my face). Squeezie neti-pot-ish bottle and salt made it go away like magic.

Neti pots: buy one. Squeezie bottle: do it if you can't make the neti pot work.

Also, I found that if I inhaled a lot BEFORE using it, and then exhaled out my nose while squirting stuff in, it allowed me to avoid the horrible "water up my nose at the community pool" feeling.

Slavon Smartmil@twitter

@Tina Steele Wiltzius
Don’t forget to blow your nose gently each time after you finish the procedure. This way you will speed up the cleaning process. Usually patients with neti pot deviated septum , who use neti pots, notice improvement from the first day of their treatment.

Sara Keeth@twitter

I call it the snot pot. I was terrified that I would drown while using it. As you might have guessed from the fact that I lived to comment on it, I did not drown. I still think the process is gross, but it truly works. The effectiveness is a huge bonus if you are pregnant or nursing and can't take any good anti-histamines or allergy meds.
It's sort of one of those things you want to do in private, though. Don't plan on taking this up to the office for a little lunchtime nose-cleaning, unless you really, really hate your colleagues.


This thing is vital for me in the winter, as I sleep in a windowless bedroom that gets positively dessicated for half the year. There have been times when I've been so plugged up that I did, in fact, almost drown (as Sara Keeth above was so afraid of). Personally, I think it's a pretty cool feeling, using a neti pot.

(Also, I feel kinda like how the Divacup devotees must have felt the other day. "zomg, they wrote about the neti pot on the Hairpin! Yes!)

Cassie Murdoch

@boyofdestiny Have you tried also using a small humidifier while you sleep? I added that to my routine this year and felt even better!


@Cassie Murdoch Oh yes, I do the humidifier. (And it's not a small one, either.) The effect has been noticeable, but less than I expected. Granted, I expected a warm, misty, tropical clime every time I woke up, and instead found that I just had less boogers. But still. Also, I'm moving in August. To an enwindowed room.


@boyofdestiny Do you turn it on right before bed, or several hours before? It actually takes several hours of a good sized humidifier running to get the RH of the air to go up a good amount.


I am one of those neti pot evangelicals. I love the thing!

However, here is a protip: When blowing your nose post neti-poting, do not press either of your nostrils shut while blowing your nose. (The way you would if one side of your nose was congested and you were trying to force more air down the congested side.) This can cause water to go up into your ears and mess with you for a day or two.

Once you have learned to not do that, though, Neti Pots are really the best thing ever.

Sensory Homoncula

@cherrispryte I came here to say that!! In fact, don't blow your nose forcefully or violently because it can force salt water and crud into the tiny tubes that lead into your eyes and ears


If you can't make this work (I can't - it was just an hour of crying and vomiting salt water while my poor boyfriend had to hear me yelling "Ach.....uglglguggllglglgglglgl... BARF" over and over again), the nasal wash thingies work just as well. Maybe even better. This thing is not your friend if you have a deviated septum (get ready for lots of gagging salt water).

elysian fields

@parallel-lines examples of nasal wash thingies, please? I'm interested.


@elysian fields I have a generic version of this one I bought at Rite Aid http://www.fourgreensteps.com/marketplace/sinucleanse-squeeze-nasal-wash-kit-31-pc-sinucleanse.html

It somes with salt packets (that you don't really need) and is a little easier to use than a neti pot.


@parallel-lines I was just a tad frightened when i clicked on your link and saw "31 pieces" on the box of the nasal wash thingie! til i noticed that 30 of the pieces are the salt packets you mentioned!


I think this actually feels really good, I urge everyone to try it. But pfft--you don't need the actual "neti" pot. I use a small old teapot, since I hate tea


@Saiko Oh! Brilliant! I have a tiny, very cute little tea pot for one tiny cup of tea (not mug, cup) that I have never used as it makes such a tiny amount... it would be perfect for this! My fiance is on a business trip... I just might go try this out right now! Excitement!


@joythemanatee I'm actually very curious about this tiny tea pot. Can I have one? I want one for tea and one for my nose.

Nick Douglas

@Napoleon Please keep them in separate rooms.


@Saiko OMGYES! I used a miniature vintage tea service my grandmother gave me as a Neti Pot last year. AND IT WORKED. Haven't had the occasion to serve any tea from it ... ever... but if I do, I'll just bleach it, I guess.

Jolie Kerr

I read one line "pour the water into one nostril", screamed, ran away, vomited, screamed some more, and then wrapped myself in a blankie to stop the shivering.


@Jolie Kerr Oh, man, it's soooooooooo gross. But also great!


@Jolie Kerr Come on, it's a way of being even more clean!


@cherrispryte Yeah, Jolie! You should be ALL OVER THIS! You're washing the INSIDE OF YOUR HEAD!

Jolie Kerr

@punkahontas There is NOTHING that sounds more horrifying to me.

Words cannot convey how utterly freaked out I am right now. I need to be held so bad.

Jolie Kerr

(I should add that I have TERRIBLE HORRIBLE NO GOOD ear problems so even if you could stop the shivering with your words, I would still not try this for practical reasons.)


@Jolie Kerr I'm sorry you have ear problems. I have allergy problems, so I'm a fan of the neti pot. (Or, as my husband calls it, "The Yeti Pot".)


@Jolie Kerr The neti pot also helps with ear problems! If your ear problem is like a hurty congested eustachian tube thing, that is. I have that problem and the neti pot works like a dream. Honestly, it's not scary at all! I don't know why people get all freaked out about it. But then again I'm one of those people who no way in hell will ever try one of those menstrual cup things, no matter how much I'm told they're awesome, so I guess I kinda get it.


@Jolie Kerr THIS. I swim with noseplugs for a reason; the mere thought of voluntarily putting water in my nose makes me woozy and queasy.

Jennifer Michelle@facebook

@Xanthophyllippa and @Jolie Kerr - I was like this, I really was! But then I had a really horrible cold (like, out of work for a week legit bad) and tried it out of sheer desperation and it's really not terrible. It doesn't feel like water in the pool going up your nose ('cuz ew - who enjoys that?), it's much gentler and it really does feel omg good when you're done.


Will this still work if I have a septum piercing?


@juliannasays Sure will! It doesn't need a tight seal or anything; you tip your head and lean over so gravity pulls the water up into your sinuses.


@juliannasays I have a septum piercing and it works, but it's also messy and inefficient. Maybe because I can't get the tip of the neti pot flush with my nostril, or maybe because I'm a goon.


@juliannasays the squeezy bottle type works a lot better for me than the teapot type, no probs at all with my 8ga septum. I recommend doing it in the shower though, even with jewellery in it can get messy!


ugggh deviated septum. I wanted to love this so bad! I turned friends on to it even though I couldn't use it and THEY loved it and I was JEALOUS.


@hotdog Using this thing with a deviated septum feels like self-induced waterboarding. The sad thing was, I didn't know I had one until I was gagging up a ton of salt water.

elysian fields

@hotdog now I'm freaked out about trying this. What if I have a deviated septum and don't know it? Is this the only way to find out??


@hotdog Oh man - I have always been curious yet fearful about this because I love "procedures" and am a nasal spray addict, but I also have a deviated septum so now I have a good excuse for not taking the plunge.

Tina Steele Wiltzius

@hotdog et al Please get your deviated septums fixed because it is the BEST THING EVER. Everything is so much better in that region now. I detail my experiences with the surgery here: http://shiftlessnaysayer.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html

Also, I used the NeilMed squeeze bottle sinus rinse before I had my septum fixed, and it was okay. I didn't drown. But I would tie my shoes 5 hours later and water would come out my nose, so there was that.


@Tina Steele Wiltzius Seconding this! My boyfriend had a septoplasty last month and he is doing great and no longer a mouth breather. He still gets clogged due to allergies, but he can now use nasal rinses without the water getting caught and his snoring is almost gone. The first week and a half sucks, but after that he was quick to recover.


@adminslave Yes yes yes! I corrected my deviated septum a couple of years ago and NO MORE SINUS INFECTIONS!!


@Tina Steele Wiltzius I cannot WAIT til my good health insurance kicks in now!! Life will be so exciting/I won't have excruciating eyeheadaches anymore!


There's also what I call the "tweaker Neti": bring a coffee mug of saline up to your face, pinch one nostril shut, dip the other under the water, and snort REALLY HARD until water comes out your mouth. It's loud, disgusting, and works -- one you do each side, you can breathe through your nose again even after a whole weekend of snorting drugs, hence the name.

It has also converted friends of mine who like the sinus rinse benefits but get squicked out at the idea of standing there feeling water run through their faces.

Jennifer Michelle@facebook

@Arlette@twitter I can't handle the water traveling through my NOSE and into my MOUTH. I'm glad it works for you but ew ew ew for me!


I've used the neti pot (my nose pot!) on and off for years. Every 3 out of 4 times, it works very well, and I feel much better. But, that other 1 of 4 times, I feel exponentially worse - horrible headache and sinus pain that lasts all day, lots of residual congestion. I only use it now if I'm really desperate - the risk is too high.


@kellyannecat Yes, same for me. Or I feel like Kramer trying to get the water out of his ears from when he went to the beach.


My in-laws and their teenage daughter are recent converts to the neti pot way of life. Last year, they all got a terrible sinus infection at the same time. Turns out they'd been inadvertently using the same pot!

Pro Tip: Never, EVER share a neti pot with anyone. Get your own pot and label every surface of it.


OK, fine, I'll try it already, geez. My allergies are the worst.


This is so timely, I bought one on Thursday because I'm desperate to ease my allergies. But...I've used it 4 times and the first three times it burned after I finished. Like a Draino-snorting bender. But the fourth time I used it, no burning. Does it take time to get used to it, or am I doing something wrong?

Cassie Murdoch

@murdear The burning is usually from the amount of salt that you use--but sometimes water quality can affect it. You could try distilled water, since that can be a bit less volatile.


I have really bad ear problems, and find the risk of aggravating them with the neti pot or a saline bottle not worth the benefit. I am jealous of how effective it seems to be for other people though! I used the neti pot once, and I think I slightly tilted wrong, and ended up on the couch in pain with pillows pressed to my ears for two days. Never again!


@adminslave That's really a shame, because whenever I use my neti pot, I feel like my ears take a breath. Which sounds weird, and it is weird, but that's what it feels like. (I don't have ear problems though.)

Lee Pearson@twitter

@adminslave Not weird at all your ears nose and throat are all connected! (Hence the ENT clinic!) So it would make sense it helps your ears as well. When I have a bad cold, my sinuses affect my ears too and it hurts like hell! I haven't tried the neti pot yet though... I am too much of a wimp >.< I hate water going in my nose at the pool, or nose drops, anything. One day though... One day... Especially as I am allergic to my cat, it may help


After fighting 3 colds and 2 nasty sinus infections this winter/spring, I'm ready to become a neti pot convert. I didn't drown using Afrin a few weeks ago, so how bad can it be?


@Bittersweet: Just got one and tried it, and feel so fresh 'n' so clean, clean! One brief mishap when it went down my throat, but otherwise aces.


I think the description, for those of you who might want to try it, is making obtaining a neti pot and making the saline solution sound a little more complicated than it actually is.

I got mine at Walgreens (it's called Sinu-cleanse), and it comes with pre-made saline stuff that you mix with tap water. Ta-da! You can even buy refills of the saline packets. I don't used my every day, but maybe if I did, it would make more sense to make my own saline. Anyways, if you're a beginner, just buying it at Walgreens will take a lot of guess work out of the process.

I also use mine while I'm in the shower or standing over the bathtub rather than standing over the sink. I think it makes it easier to get the right posture so that the saline doesn't drip down the back of your throat, and then you can blow your nose with abandon afterwards.

Cassie Murdoch

@Jabberwoky The only problem with the pre-made saline solutions is that sometimes they're a bit stronger than is suited for someone's particular nose. I've had trouble with a few of them in the past. So the reason I suggested making your own is that you can play around with the level of saltiness as needed. But if they work for you then that is even easier!


@Cassie Murdoch I get that. You could also just use a little less of the packet thingy. My thoughts were just along the line of: if you think this is scary and complicated b/c you have to make stuff, don't worry about it b/c it's not complicated.


Just reading this makes me feel way, way worse than spiders and bed bugs in real life. But not ticks. Nothing is worse than ticks.

Jolie Kerr

@docstrawberry Are you free for a drink tonight? I think I need to be with someone who understands what I'm going through right now.


@docstrawberry Worse than spiders and bed bugs? Let's not say things we can't take back!


Good tips for safe Neti pot usage. But here is an example what you DO NOT want to use with a Neti Pot. I learned this the (very) hard way.

Cassie Murdoch

@marcygordon@twitter OMG!!!


first the menstrual cup, now the neti pot! If the next recommendation is for the crystal deodorant then I'll start thinking someone has been looking at my secretly hippie medicine cabinet.



Sorry, I was really excited to try it and it didn't work at all (and was expensive!) Very upsetting.


@contrary oh I like it! I use the roll-on kind. The actual crystal one always breaks and gets sharp in weird places. Also, it is no more expensive than regular deodorant- like $3-4? What kind were you buying?


Pro tip here, for people who can't get the water to run out the other side of your nose. Sometimes, if you are really unbearably infected, your sinus membranes can be too swollen to let the water move all the way through. Just let that water run back out the nostril you put it in if this is the case, it will actually help to reduce the inflammation. Or take a decongestant to reduce some of the swelling, and then do the neti pot again.


I LOVE my neti pot, and I too push usage on everyone I know... Allergies, colds, any sort of sinus nastiness is helped by the pot.

And once you figure out the right angle for your head tilt (over the sink!) you will not drown. Trust.

dracula's ghost

Here's another reason to use Dear Neti every day: BAD BREATH! My old man struggles with this issue and they (the struggles) finally led to his brave foray into the world of nasal irrigation. BAD BREATH GONE! Knock on wood! Also his horrific sinus problems have been marginally better.

It is really good for your face.


@Marianna Woah, what a weird and wonderful benefit! Do you know why it works? I'm just insanely curious. Is his face just really full of bacteria?


@Marianna Dunno if this was her husband's issue, but mouth-breathing (as sinus sufferers often have to do) generally makes your breath smell bad because it dries out your mouth and prevents saliva from doing all its helpful cleaning, pH-restoring things.


Soooo....does everyone on the planet besides me clean out their ears with Q-tips? Is this actually "as essential as washing your face?"


@km1312 I'm not saying that YOU must apply qtips to your ears. . .but i cannot go to work with my ears all wet inside after a shower! i feel squishy all day. don't judge. . .


@km1312 I clean out my ears at least once a week with Q-Tips but a) the box explicitly says not to do that and b) I'm a huge weirdo SOOOOOOOOOO


@km1312 I never use Q-tips in my ears. I never notice ear squishiness but I guess I'm just used to it. Do you have better than average hearing? I always have to turn the phone down at work if someone else has been using it. (We switch desks/departments daily where I work.)


I've never had bad enough sinus/allergy issues to warrant a neti pot, though many of my friends swear by them. Now, if they made something that could flush out your tonsils, I'd be all over that.

Lily Rowan

Everyone should watch the Toothpaste for Dinner guy use the neti pot. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQm7YpxgOnA


@Lily Rowan haha. I was just thinking about that.


I bought a Neti pot years ago after lots of recommendations. I got the hang of it right away but the weird thing is, only water came out. Everytime I've had sinus problems or colds, I tried the Neti Pot and no matter how much snot was in my face, none would be flushed.

Has this happened to anyone else? Any recommendations?

Or perhaps I'm really not using it correctly?



Sometimes, if I'm really congested, it takes more than one pot of water to get things moving. Even then, nothing really gross comes out with the water -- but when I blow my nose right after neti-ing, watch out. Ew.


@totallyunoriginal I've never been able to get any snot to exit, either.

Tina Steele Wiltzius

@totallyunoriginal Try the squeeze bottle instead of the neti pot. It sounds like you need to step up your game and stop playing Mr. Nice Guy with your sinuses. Be Aggressive!*

*not real medical advice, but you should do it


@totallyunoriginal Sometimes for me, the gross bits don't really look much different than the water bits. (I think everything just mixes together and is, um, runnier than normal?) That is, I can feel the flushing happening (and am cleared out after), but the actual discharge is still clear.

Is all of that as gross as I think it was to write? SORRY!

Meg Wilson@facebook

@totallyunoriginal It could also be that the congestion in your head is not due to snot. No, really. Your sinuses are lined with nice, happy, pink, spongy stuff kind of like the stuff in the inside of your mouth, and when you get sick, those tissues swell up. That makes it feel like there's about sixteen tons of snot in your head, but there's really only a couple of teaspoons. Still, a Neti or Squeezy will help, because the salt water will soothe the tissues and help decongest them.

Twilight News Site@twitter

@totallyunoriginal Try a cheap waterpik, minus the pointy nozzle that attaches to the end. More water, and a little more pressure than gravity provides


Knowing me I would be the first person in neti pot history to drown herself.


I use the squeezable plastic one, a.k.a. the sinus rinse, or as I like to call it, "the nose douche." I used to get bronchitis every year for months at a time, because sinus congestion would drip down into my chest. I, too, would be taking useless antibiotics and just chugging cough syrup straight from the bottle. I would basically swallow an entire pharmacy's worth of pills with no noticeable effect. And because the coughing kept me awake, I couldn't get any rest, which made it difficult to heal on my own.

I finally tried a sinus rinse as a last resort, and now it's my religion (well, that and PJ Harvey). I can't even describe how nice it is to only get sick for three or four days like a normal person, instead of feeling a tickle in my throat and knowing I'm in for at least four weeks of misery.


This was actually great. My roommate actually leaves her neti pot (a name I had hitherto thought she'd made up...) on the sink in our bathroom, and I was always like, "that goes Wheeeerrre?!?" But now that I've seen it in action, I'm a pretty convinced but also a little scarred for life. That eyes of the woman in the video--so lifeless!

Jennifer Tonti@facebook

Anyone see the neti pot episode of Cougartown? F--ing hilarious.


I use a little oral medicine syringe thingy with a long tip, I suck up the salty water and then aim it within my nose. There's a higher degree of control involved in this method, although I almost drowned myself on the first try. But now it's delightful and I enjoy loosening up the snot.

Meg Wilson@facebook

I'm a nurse who does heads, mostly, as in brain and sinus surgery. I also recently had surgery myself, to remove a tumor on the roof of my mouth (I'm fine). We use the Neil-Med sinus squeeze bottles at my hospital after surgery to remove pituitary gland tumors, since we go through the sinuses for that. I had heard people RAVE about how much better they felt after the sinus rinses, but didn't try it myself until after my own surgery.

Gross TMI Alert: Stop Reading Now If You Get Queasy Or If You Are My Sister:

The Neil-Med squeezy saved my life. Because the surgeon had to un-floor my right sinus, I occasionally get crap stuck up in there--you know, food and stuff. The Sinus Rinse Kit keeps me sane and happy and pain-free. It was a Frogsend when I had a false palate wired in to my head after surgery, too, and had to get rid of surgical slough.

I can't say enough good about the damn thing. If you get sinus infections a lot, get one. Seriously.

Keith Kisser@facebook

My neti pot has saved my life. I'm sure of this. Like you i was getting sinus infections at least once a year, had awful sinus headaches 2 or 3 times a week and colds would last forever. I was on so much sinus medication i felt doped up. I've been using my neti pot for 6 years now and have had no sinus infections, rarely have any sinus headaches 9and they now go away with use of the pot and a couple of ibuprofin0 and colds are rare and when they do occur, last 3-6 days, rather then 2-3 weeks. I can breath better, I don't snore as much and no more medication! There are no downsides to using a neti pot.


I'm going to go wash out my nose RIGHT NOW!

Sensory Homoncula

Imagine that bacteria have a crispy shell that is held together with and electrochemical formula. Imagine that salt disintegrates the electrochemical bond. The crispy shell bursts, and the bacteria whizz around deflating like a released balloon. YES!! that mental image is what really happens when salt water meets bacteria!!! Like a superhero punching his or her way thru a crowded bar-room of thugs!!

blue barracudas

The squeezy ones are actually great, you just put salt water in it and squeeze it up your nose. Not too bad.


I don't even swim underwater without plugging my nose, and have somehow managed to master the squeeze bottle. I take my glasses off so I can be super-blind and distance myself from the process, so I'm not really sure if I ever see any actual snot making its way out...mostly lots of clear water. But it does shorten the length of colds and allergy attacks (my allergies want me to die) so I do it pretty regularly.


"But I promise if you give it just a few tries, by the third or fourth time you’ll get the hang of it and then it will be smooth sailing!"

don't you mean...smooth saline? a har har har har :B

D. L. Wallis@twitter

Nasal douche, heh. Does work though.


I place neti pots in the same category I place menstrual cups--fascinating but terrifying.


Nothing legit about Dr. Oz, he's a snakeoil salesman of the worst sort.


@CJane Why? He's been my hero for a while. I DID wonder how Oprah found Dr.Oz (AWESOME!) and creepy Dr.Phil and endorses both.

Black Socks

Anyone a fan of Six Feet Under and think of Ruth saying accusingly to George, "Where do you keep your NOSTRIL POT?" whenever they hear someone bring up the Neti Pot? Anyone? Anyone??

On another note, I was really excited to try the Neti Pot. I had heard about it's benefits for such a long time, and I've always had terrible allergies & sinuses, and this particular summer my allergies were worse than ever. So a friend of mine and I made a Neti Pot date. It was a weird a feeling, but I thought it might have done the trick. However, the next morning I woke up with a sore throat and painful sinus pressure. That summer ended up being one of the all time worst for my sinuses. I blame the Neti Pot. Although, after reading some of these posts I'm wondering if it didn't work because I have a deviated septum?

dracula's ghost

@jabberwoky He has gnarled-up sinuses because of weird surgeries (also genetics, lets be honest), and our theory is that bacteria gets trapped up in there, and then stinks.

Twilight News Site@twitter

Waterpik works best (not the ultra sonic kind, too tingly, just any cheap kind), with the pointy thing removed -- just place the flat part of the handle to your nose. Bonus, it holds way more saline than a neti pot.

Also, I wonder if in a few years, people will look back on the time when we didn't rinse our sinuses like when people didn't bathe or wash their hands. Eww. No wonder people have so many colds and allergies!!! Be clean people!


Someone is raving about neti pots in my office at this exact moment. Hairpin, how did you know??!?

Yoga Lifestyle

This is a wonderful Neti Pot available, since they can be difficult to find. This model is ceramic, so you can go completely organic and not risk getting plastics into your system. I recommend! Neti away!



Ok-maybe I have some mental block that prevents me from allowing salt water to run through my sinuses...or maybe there actaully is something wrong with my nose... The IDEA of the neti is still delightfully appealing to me, but when I tried to use one, the water either got stuck and wouldn't go any further, or started draining into my throat (I know, ew!) Needless to say, I've given up. I covet all of your gunk-free sinuses :(

sandra sanborn@twitter

I saw the video in this blog it's explain very well that how to use netipot when we feel nasal irrigation problem and this blog tell us the netipot is drug-free solution for nose problem. it's very very well.


I started using neti pots when I was in Midwest Reproductive Center and since then I use it on a weekly basis. It is proven to be good for health, people use it for centuries and none of them had any complications.

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