Dr. Douglas Dedo, MD

How to Use a Neti Pot Safely – Palm Beach Sinus Doctors’ Tips

how to use a neti pot safely

How to Use a Neti Pot Safely

Recently in the news, there have been scary reports about the dangers of using a neti pot to clean out your sinus passages. While the incidents that cause problems and even death are extremely low, it’s important that everyone know how to use a neti pot safely to avoid complications.

Neti pots are small teapots with long spouts that those who suffer with sinus problems use to flush out their nasal passages. Many home across the United States now have these neti pots as a fixture in their bathroom cabinets. Since they do work and help people breathe easier, word of mouth about neti pots spread quickly.

The way they work is that they allow a user to pour saline or saltwater into their nostrils to bring relief. They help with moisture and flushing out mucus and bacteria. But when they aren’t used right, they are more harmful than helpful. While “neti pot” is what most people call these devices, you might also hear syringes, bulb syringes, squeeze bottles, and pulsed water devices.

One factor that cannot be stressed enough when it comes to neti pots is that they have to be clean in order to be effective. This means rinsing out the pot thoroughly and using distilled, not tap water, with them. To clean the neti pot, you should clean and rinse with distilled, sterile or water that was boiled to kill bacteria, amoebas, and pathogens. All of these things are found in most tap water.

“Bacteria and Amoebas in the tap water? How can I drink it?”

You might wonder why the water from your tap is good enough to drink but not good enough to clean your nasal passages with. Simply put, your stomach acid does a fantastic job with killing pathogens, but your nose doesn’t. You have small nose hairs to keep out some things, but stomach acid kills many more uninvited guests. When you introduce organisms into your nose with a neti pot, they can remain alive for quite some time. The nasal area is a fairly hospitable place for them to set up shop so to speak. This means a potentially fatal infection may develop over time.

What Water to Use With a Neti Pot

  • Distilled or sterile water for sale in large bottles in grocery and drug stores
  • Boiled water (3 – 5 minutes). Cool and stored in a completely clean, covered container to use within one day.
  • Filtered water using an approved water filter to catch infectious pathogens

Follow Your Neti Pot Instructions

One of the best places to find safety information about your device is on the website or in the product packaging. There you will find detailed information on how to clean and use your specific product to remove dust, pollen, allergies, and thin out mucus. If you don’t have instructions with your device, talk to your ENT doctor or your pharmacist.

Who Should Use a Sinus Neti Pot Rinse?

Just about everyone would gain some benefit from using a sinus rinse. Neti pots and similar devices help to make your nose and nasal passages cleaner and clearer. This reduces the likelihood that an infection develops down the road. If you have a cold, flue, sinus infection, have allergies, or if you have had nasal surgery, you are perhaps more likely to find benefit from using a saline rinse.

If you have any trouble using your Neti Pot rinse, of if you don’t find any relief, it is best to talk with your ENT or sinus doctor. Or if you have a special case, such as a nasal trauma, septal deviation, or a polyp, talking with your doctor about the best remedies first is the best route of action. Your Palm Beach Sinus Doctor can also recommend additional medicines and additives. These can be added to your rinse to try to obtain even better results. If you have any questions about sinus infections, allergies, or how to use a neti pot safely, contact Palm Beach Sinus Doctors today!