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How to Use a Neti Pot at Home | For Colds & Flu

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For those unaware, traditional neti pots resemble small teapots and have a long spout. They are used to irrigate your nasal cavity and clear out your blocked nose and clogged airways.

It’s one of the traditional home remedies for colds and flu people have used for centuries, with origins traced to ancient Ayurvedic practices.

small porcelain neti pot with salt on a black slate table

The following quote is from my dear friend…….

I started using a neti pot almost 15 years ago as I heard it would benefit my chronic sinus infections, use it daily and won’t be without one…..I even purchased the plastic travel one and love it as I no longer have to rely on Sudafed to help relieve the congestion. It works!

Cindy

How to Use a Neti Pot: Prep and Procedure

Like many old remedies, the process might sound odd, but it’s highly effective.

You use a saline solution (aka saltwater) and add this to the neti pot. Then you simply flush your nostrils over the sink.

Continue reading to find out exactly how this works.

While you can find nasal irrigation kits online, it is just as easy to make a saline nasal solution at home.

Here is the salt + water ratio recommended by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology.

I cannot make any guarantees but this may work for you when treating recurring sinus issues as well as the common cold at home.

Like my friend, Cindy, it has worked wonders for her!

Home Remedies for Flu

What You Need for a Traditional Neti Pot:

Combine the salt and baking soda in a clean container or flip top jar. Make sure there are no clumps.

Follow the Steps as Outlined Below:

What You Need for a Convenient Neti Bottle:

I happen to really like using this type of Neti Bottle which is an updated version of a traditional Neti Pot.

A squeeze type bottle offers a large volume but with low pressure sinus irrigation that is quite easy to use.

If you decide to make your own saline solution:

Follow the Steps as Outlined Below:

Method:

  1. Add the salt and baking soda mixture (or the pre-mixed sachet) to a sterilized container.
  2. Measure one cup of lukewarm or room temperature distilled water.
  3. Add this warm water to the salt and baking soda mixture.
  4. Stir until the baking soda and salt dissolve completely.
  5. Pour the saline solution into a clean (and dry) neti pot or bottle.
  6. Always double check water temperature before using.
  7. Take the neti pot to a sink and get into position by tilting your head sideways so one of your nostrils is above the other. *See photo below
  8. Carefully bring the neti pot’s spout closer to your upper nostril. Don’t press the spout against the septum, as that might cause discomfort. (Breath through your mouth).
  9. Tilt the neti pot to pour the saline solution into the upper nostril.
  10. Let the solution trickle out the nostril below.
  11. Repeat steps 3-6 a couple of times for the same nostril.
  12. Switch nostrils by turning your head to the other side and repeat steps 3-6.
  13. Or, switch back and forth between nostrils. See what works best for you.
  14. Once done, blow your nose and gargle with lukewarm water to flush out salt residue from your throat.
  15. Remember to clean your neti pot before and after use to minimize exposure to germs.

Do this once or twice a day for 3 to 4 days for best results.

Do not continue more than 4 days without checking with your healthcare practitioner.

To Make a Larger Quantity of the Salt/Baking Soda Mixture:

Combine the salt and baking soda in a clean container or flip top jar. Make sure there are no clumps. Store in a dry place.

Use approximately 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture to 8 oz of warmed distilled water.

a young woman using a neti pot
*Proper Position for Using a Neti Pot

Benefits of Neti Pot: How Does It Help Treat Flu and Sinuses?

When it comes to home remedies for flu, I keep a neti pot, and my homemade cough drops handy to fight off the common cold.

The benefits of neti pot extend to sinus problems as it irrigates your blocked nose and congestion effectively.

Here’s a closer look at the advantages:

  • It reduces congestion and improves breathing
  • Rinses and clears out mucus from the nasal passage
  • Alleviates sinus pressure
  • Works well for upper respiratory problems that cause mucus build-up (including chronic sinus, allergies, common cold, and other infections)

Best of all, it’s a safe and non-invasive alternative to over-the-counter medicines that contain sedatives.

The latter means you won’t feel extra drowsy when relying on nasal irrigation treatment to alleviate congestion.

Home Remedies for Flu

Possible Side Effects and Risks: Is Neti Pot Safe?

You might need some adjustment time to get used to the odd sensation.

I have had some stinging when I did not follow the directions!

Make sure to use lukewarm or room temperature distilled water and the homeamde mild saline solution or the little pre-mixed packets.

If you are making your own saline solution and it stings or triggers a burning sensation, you should reduce the amount of the salt/baking soda mixture you use in your solution.

Alternatively, you might experience ear pain, or the saltwater might cause you to gag or cough.

Typically, this happens when the water goes down your throat instead of the other nostril.

Use this guide to learn how to use a neti pot correctly.

In addition, start slow by rinsing your nose once or twice before increasing the frequency of usage.

Besides that, you should always use clean, distilled water to ensure the solution doesn’t contain any harmful microorganisms. 

Using tap water or well water can be slightly unsafe since it may have low levels of bacteria.

Our nasal passage and airway don’t have a natural defense mechanism (like our stomach) against such microorganisms.

It’s why tap water might be safe for drinking, but it poses a risk for nasal irrigation treatments (like neti pots).

Yield: One Application

How to Use a Neti Pot

white porcelain neti pot

The Neti Pot is a traditional home remedies for colds and flu people have used for centuries.

Prep Time 6 minutes
Active Time 5 minutes
Total Time 6 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost 1

Instructions

  1. Add the salt and baking soda mixture (or the pre-mixed sachet) to a sterilized container.
  2. Measure one cup of lukewarm or room temperature distilled water.
  3. Add this warm water to the salt and baking soda mixture.
  4. Stir until the baking soda and salt dissolve completely.
  5. Pour the saline solution into a clean (and dry) neti pot or bottle.
  6. Always double check water temperature before using.
  7. Take the neti pot to a sink and get into position by tilting your head sideways so one of your nostrils is above the other.
  8. Carefully bring the neti pot’s spout closer to your upper nostril. Don’t press the spout against the septum, as that might cause discomfort. (Breath through your mouth).
  9. Tilt the neti pot to pour the saline solution into the upper nostril.
  10. Let the solution trickle out the nostril below.
  11. Repeat steps 3-6 a couple of times for the same nostril.
  12. Switch nostrils by turning your head to the other side and repeat steps 3-6.
  13. Or, switch back and forth between nostrils. See what works best for you.
  14. Once done, blow your nose and gargle with lukewarm water to flush out salt residue from your throat.
  15. Remember to clean your neti pot before and after use to minimize exposure to germs.

Notes

Do this once or twice a day for 3 to 4 days for best results. Do not continue more than 4 days without checking with your healthcare practitioner.

So What Can You Use?

According to FDA (Food and Drugs Administration), you can use:

  • Filtered water to eliminate infectious/harmful microorganisms
  • Distilled/Sterile water available in stores
  • Tap water that has been boiled for 3-5 minutes to kill germs

Store the water in a clean container and keep it covered to prevent contaminants entering. Moreover, avoid using cold water or boiling water for nasal irrigation as extreme water temperature can cause discomfort.

Is It Safe for Children?

Yes, you can use a neti pot to treat flu and seasonal allergies experienced by children aged two and above.

Be sure to ask your pediatrician to be on the safe side (especially if your child has severe respiratory issues).

You can teach your child how to use a neti pot through a live demo or YouTube tutorial (featuring a child).

These demos will allow them to get used to the process and clear any doubts about this odd-looking device.

Always supervise the process (or pour the water carefully yourself) to prevent mishaps.

>Word to the Wise: You should discuss using nasal irrigation with your primary healthcare provider as a precaution. Professional consultation ensures that this type of home remedy is suitable for your condition.

Additionally, teaming traditional treatments (like the neti pot) with medicines can help you recover faster and better.

In a Nutshell

Nothing’s worse than a cold during the holidays. It dampens the mood and turns anyone into a Grinch, especially around the holidays. 

That’s why learning how to use a neti pot can be a lifesaver whenever you feel under the weather, or your sinuses make an unfavorable appearance.

As you can see, the procedure is relatively simple.

It only requires a few staple ingredients and a good old neti pot.

If you don’t own a neti pot, you can use other nasal irrigation devices (like a nasal mist) to add moisture to your nasal passages but in my opinion, neti pot works best because it’s more manageable.

Wishing you a cold-free and flu-free season ahead!

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