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How to Use a Neti Pot

Updated: Apr 4

A neti pot is a container used to flush debris or mucus from the nasal cavity. Neti pots are often used throughout the natural community to help nasal discomfort associated with symptoms of allergies, sinus infections, mold exposure, colds, and more.

woman holding a neti pot

Have you ever been so congested that it made you incapable of thinking? To the point that you have no idea what is the best natural remedy to conquer the stuffiness in your nasal cavity? Me too! This was one symptom I struggled with when I was dealing with mold exposure. But now, these symptoms predominantly occur when I have a sinus infection or seasonal allergies.


Congestion occurs when the nasal cavity, adjacent tissues, and blood vessels become swollen with excess fluid, causing a stuffy or plugged feeling (1). Or, as we all probably recall: a dreadful stuffy nose! The simplest solutions to congestion I’ve found to date are either steam (from a facial steamer or shower), essential oils, or using a neti pot for nasal irrigation.


Nasal irrigation with devices such as a neti pot helps keep the nasal passages open by washing out thick or dried mucus. Surprisingly, even the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agrees that neti pots are safe and effective products when used and cleaned correctly (2)–even a broken clock is right twice a day.


Now, let’s discuss how to use a neti pot, the herbs you can add, and how to clean it.


 

How to Use a Neti Pot

Before each use, clean the entire neti pot, especially the part that enters your nose, with a non-toxic soap such as Earthley’s Dish Soap Bar and rinse with proper water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the entire neti pot, ensuring no soap remains in the neti pot.


Proper water is either distilled, sterile, filtered (using an NSF/ANSI Std. 53 certified filter or a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller), or previously boiled water (boil water 1 minute or 3 minutes if at elevations above 6,500 feet, then allow cooling to body temperature).

After you’ve cleaned your neti pot, you need to prepare the salt water wash. You can buy these in-store or online, but it’s straightforward to make independently.


To make a saltwater wash for nasal irrigation, start by boiling 8 ounces of water; this will kill disease-causing germs, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites. After you’ve boiled your water, combine ½ teaspoon of non-iodized salt and ½ teaspoon of baking soda with 8 ounces of water, stirring until the salt and baking soda dissolve. Be sure to let the boiled water mixture come to body temperature before using it for irrigation.


Once your saltwater wash has reached body temperature, insert the tip into your nostril, lean over the sink, and squeeze gently.


  • Aim the stream of the saline solution toward the back of your head, not the top.

  • The saline wash should go in one nostril and out the other side (or the mouth).

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Herbs to Add to a Neti Pot

Of course, salt and baking soda aren’t the only options for a neti pot. You can also add herbs along with salt and baking soda to create an herbal infusion for nasal irrigation.


When creating herbal infusions for nasal irrigation, use a cheesecloth to strain the herb. The herbs will not dissolve, and you don't want herb particles to get stuck in your nose, causing additional discomfort. Think of it as making tea for your neti pot; you don’t want any floaters, just the beneficial herbal infusion you’re left with after steeping and straining your herbs. Some of my favorite herbs in my neti pot are:


  • Chamomile contains chemical compounds that may reduce inflammation (3). To use chamomile in your neti pot, simply use 1 teaspoon of fresh chamomile or your favorite chamomile tea (be sure it’s only chamomile) in 1 cup of water, combined with salt and baking soda, following the directions discussed earlier.

  • Ginger has an active constituent called gingerol that has been found to have antibacterial properties, significantly lowering the risk of infection (4,5). To use ginger in your neti pot, simply use 1 teaspoon of fresh ginger, ¼ teaspoon of ginger powder, or your favorite ginger tea (be sure it’s only ginger) in 1 cup of water, combined with salt and baking soda, following the directions discussed earlier.

  • Marshmallow root acts as an enzyme to loosen mucus and inhibit bacteria (6). To use marshmallow root in your neti pot, simply use 1 teaspoon of fresh marshmallow root, ¼ teaspoon of marshmallow root powder, or your favorite marshmallow root tea (be sure it is only marshmallow root) in 1 cup of water, combined with salt and baking soda. Be sure to follow the directions discussed earlier.

  • Mullein reduces inflammation and helps relax the muscles in the respiratory tract (7,8). To use mullein in your neti pot, simply use 1 teaspoon of fresh mullein or your favorite mullein tea (be sure it is only mullein) in 1 cup of water, combined with salt and baking soda. Be sure to follow the directions discussed earlier.

  • Plantain Weed seeds have carbohydrate polymers that absorb water and form mucilage with a high viscosity (9), which helps soothe, moisten, and protect the nose and respiratory system. To use plantain weed in your neti pot, simply use 1 teaspoon of fresh plantain weed in 1 cup of water, combined with salt and baking soda. Be sure to follow the directions discussed earlier.

herbs to add to a neti pot

How to Clean a Neti Pot

As stated earlier, before and after using your neti pot, be sure to clean it according to its directions. For this blog, I will share the directions for my personal neti pot and the soap I use for a non-toxic cleaner.


Clean the entire neti pot, especially the part that enters your nose, with a non-toxic soap such as Earthley’s Dish Soap Bar and rinse with proper water. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the entire Neti Pot ensuring no soap remains in the neti pot.


Proper water is either distilled, sterile, filtered (using an NSF/ANSI Std. 53 certified filter or a filter with an absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller), or previously boiled water (boil water 1 minute of 3 minutes if at elevations above 6,500 feet, then allow cooling to body temperature).


It’s that simple.


⚠️ Warning: The Holistic Hipppie is not a functional medicine practitioner. The FDA has not evaluated these statements. This content is not medical advice and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or replace medical guidance. The Holistic Hipppie assumes no liability for the application of the information discussed.


What's your favorite way to use a neti pot?

Sarena-Rae Santos

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