What is a neti pot? And why would you use one?

Answers from James T C Li, M.D., Ph.D.

Multimedia

A neti pot is a container designed to rinse debris or mucus from your nasal cavity. You might use a neti pot to treat symptoms of nasal allergies, sinus problems or colds.

If you choose to make your own saltwater solution, it's important to use bottled water that has been distilled or sterilized. Tap water is acceptable if it's been passed through a filter with a pore size of 1 micron or smaller or if it's been boiled for several minutes and then left to cool until it is lukewarm.

To use the neti pot, tilt your head sideways over the sink and place the spout of the neti pot in the upper nostril. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril. Repeat on the other side.

Be sure to rinse the irrigation device after each use with similarly distilled, sterile, previously boiled and cooled, or filtered water and leave open to air dry.

Neti pots are often available in pharmacies and health food stores, as well online. Talk to your doctor to see if nasal rinsing is right for you.

Jan. 13, 2015 See more Expert Answers