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How and Why to Use Nasal Irrigation

Updated on February 22, 2015

The Basics...

What is nasal irrigation?
Nasal irrigation, also known as nasal rinse or nasal wash, is simply the act of rinsing the nasal cavity with a saline (salt water) solution.

What are the benefits of nasal irrigation?

Nasal irrigation can help to clear the nasal passages from mucus, allergans, and infectious agents, and also moisten the mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses. It has been shown to help in the treatment and prevention of sinusitis and other nasal and allergy related problems, improve breathing, and enhance the sense of taste and smell.

To learn about the history of nasal irrigation and the research-proven benefits, check out the links below.


What You Will Need

What are the products offered for nasal irrigation?

The best-known product for nasal rinsing is the Neti Pot. The Neti is basically a small pot, resembling a teapot, which you fill with a saline solution. It takes a little practice, but you place the spout in one nostril, gently allow the solution to flow in, and it comes out the other nostril.

Better Than the Neti?

What other products are available?

Some newer, more convenient, and, often, more effective nasal irrigation products are on the market now.

Disposable systems
Disposable systems offer convenience, many featuring pre-mixed solutions. The bottle used in such products is often easier for most people to use, and can be washed and re-used, thrown away, or recycled.

Pulse Irrigation Systems
Pulse irrigation systems are becoming extremely popular. The pulsating action is said to better remove mucus and debris, as well as offering throat irrigation and tongue cleansing.

The links below explain in greater detail the newer irrigation systems available.

Nasopure Demo

SinuPulse Demo

2004 Mayo Clinic
2004 Mayo Clinic

Do It Yourself

You can also perform nasal irrigation with a bulb syringe, making your own solution.

For simple nasal rinsing, this method works well.

Don't forget the solutions...

What about the irrigation solutions?

The basic solution for nasal irrigation consists of salt, water, and often a small amount of baking soda.
Some of the products offered are pre-mixed packets and jars of powder, containing a ph-balanced mixture of sodium chloride and sodium bicarbonate. All you need to do is add your own water. Most manufacturers recommend using bottled or pre-boiled water.

Do-it-yourself irrigation solution

You can also make your own nasal irrigation solution at home.

1 tsp (5 ml) pickling/canning salt

1 tsp (5 ml) baking soda  (optional) not baking powder!

1 pint (475ml) of water (use distilled or filtered water if any concerns about the water quality in your area)

Simply dissolve salt and baking soda in the water, and store in a glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Discard any solution after one week or if it begins to appear cloudy.

Some prefer to boil the solution; please allow to cool before use or storage.

When should you not use nasal irrigation?

Don't use nasal irrigation if you are fighting an ear infection, or if one or both nostrils are completely plugged or hard to breathe through.

Not only could you create pressure inside the nasal or sinus cavities, but the solution may not drain well, causing problems with your ears.,

If you are running a fever or having any nasal, sinus, or allergy problems that are persistent or new to you, talk to your health care provider first.


This hub is for informational and entertainment purposes only, and not meant to diagnose, treat, or otherwise cure anything or anybody.


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    • profile image

      where to get ear candles 

      5 years ago

      This is a great post. Very detailed and easy to follow.I impress your blog.

      where to get ear candles many millions of people have this problem!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      For everything you ever wanted to know about beating colds and flu (plus a nasal wash formula):

    • elisabethkcmo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Just East of Oz

      Glad you found this hub helpful, CMHypno

      thanks for checking it out.

    • elisabethkcmo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Just East of Oz

      I appreciate the added info, rmpal, I'm going to check out that site!

    • elisabethkcmo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Just East of Oz

      rmcrayne, I'd be honored if you want to link this to your sinusitis hub, thanks!

    • CMHypno profile image


      9 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Great info - I've never tried any of these products and didn't really realise what a range there were to choose from

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      This is a great post. Very detailed and easy to follow. I usually use Neti-Pot and it works great for sinus irrigation. I also supplement this with another product I was referred to, it's a homeopathic nasal spray and I use it every morning and night. I also take it with me when traveling. It really cleans out my sinuses and has allowed me to avoid sinus surgery. I had a CT scan last year and was told sinus surgery was inevitable...but now after using Neti-Pot in combination with my nasal spray it has really worked wonders. when I went back to my ENT they said my sinuses have greatly improved and I won't need to do the surgery after all! You can get more info from the company's website:

      I hope this helps!

    • rmcrayne profile image


      9 years ago from San Antonio Texas

      I'd like to link this hub to my Sinusitis hub. I have a paragraph about my personal experience with nasal washes near the end of the piece when I talk about the Ivker book. Take a look at it and let me know if that's okay, or if you want to trade links.

    • elisabethkcmo profile imageAUTHOR


      9 years ago from Just East of Oz

      jaspal, glad you mentioned the use of the neti's origins..

      think I'll add a link about the history

      fastfreta, with nasal irrigation, chicken soup (Veronica's hub), and GARLIC, we would never be sick!

      magdielqr, thanks for your comments, and I just joined you fan club

      Veronica, glad you found this hub helpful, I agree, we all need to look first at healthier alternatives

      (like chicken soup)

    • Veronica Allen profile image

      Veronica Allen 

      9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the detailed instructions. I'm really into trying to find healthier alternatives to getting rid of the cold, flu, and allergies. Thanks for the link, (I added a link to your hub as well) and I think in combination of warm chicken soup and nasal irrigation, we'll all be set for the winter season.

    • magdielqr profile image


      9 years ago

      Excellent Hub!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 

      9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks elisabethkcmo for the link. Oh yeah, (smile), the hub is very informative, after reading it I'm inclined to go out and get a Neti Pot. My family suffers with seasonal allergy, and I feel that we all could benefit from nasal irrigation.

    • Jaspal profile image


      9 years ago from New Delhi, India

      I have never tried this myself, but have heard about this technique which is fairly common in India, and finds its origin in yoga. Some friends who practice yoga, say that nasal irrigation is really helpful, specially for those who suffer asthma or flu like systems during autumn and spring.


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