Safe Neti Pot Usage: Dos and Don'ts

When allergy medications alone aren't enough to provide the relief you seek, consider practicing nasal irrigation to clear your blocked nasal passages.

A neti pot is an inexpensive tea-pot-like container with a long spout that's sold over-the-counter in most drugstores. Use it with a salt-water solution to thin your mucus secretions and to minimize nasal passage swelling. While this form of nasal irrigation can be effectively address common allergy symptoms, it's important to know that if used improperly, you can face serious risks.

How to Use a Neti Pot Safely

Adhere to these nine essential dos and don'ts for safe and effective neti pot usage:

  1. Do use your neti pot every day when you're experiencing ongoing or severe nasal congestion. This method can also treat nasal symptoms caused by a cold, flu, or sinus infection. You can cut down using a neti pot to a few times a week once your symptoms lessen.
  2. Do combine a pint of sterilized, distilled, boiled, or filtered water with a teaspoon of salt to clean your nasal cavities.
  3. Don't ever use a neti pot with fresh, untreated water. This can expose you to bacteria that can make you quite sick or in extreme cases cause life-threatening consequences.
  4. Do tilt your head sideways over a sink and then pour the solution into one nostril so that it can flow through your nasal cavity and then drain out the other nostril. This process should be repeated on both sides.
  5. Do blow your nose gently after neti pot usage to clear out the mucus thinned during the nasal irrigation process.
  6. Don't block either nostril when you blow. This can put pressure on the other side and can force the mucus up deeper into your sinuses or ears, which may lead to infection.
  7. Do clean your neti pot after each use. Rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry fully. Also sterilize after every few uses, either by steaming it or running it through your dishwasher.
  8. Don't share your neti pot with others. This is important to prevent the spread of germs.
  9. Do check with your doctor if you have questions about how to use a neti pot or if you experience any discomfort when using it.




Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). "Parasitic Meningitis." 22 March 2012. Web. 6 Sept. 2012.

Mayo Clinic. "Lifestyle and Home Remedies." 20 Jan. 2012. Web. 1 Sept. 2012.

National Jewish Health. "Hot New Trend has Helped National Jewish Allergy Sufferers for Years." 27 Feb. 2008. Web. 2 Sept. 2012.