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How Not to Use a Neti Pot

Updated on September 7, 2014

What the heck is a Neti Pot?

A Neti Pot looks like a small, plastic, Aladdin style lamp. It is meant to be filled partway with a saline solution and inserted into one nostril in such a way that, when poured, the solution flows through the maxillary sinuses, cleansing them of mucus and irritants. This is called "nasal irrigation," and advocates claim that it's wonderful, and that it helps their cilia work more effectively in the long term, aiding in the quick filtration and removal of allergens and other irritants.

Neti Pot

If you rub this lamp, a genie will NOT magically appear.
If you rub this lamp, a genie will NOT magically appear. | Source

How NOT to use your Neti Pot.

1. Follow the instructions to mix the solution. Instead of using bottled water as suggested in the instructions, I attempted to boil water to sanitize it, then cool the water before mixing it with the solution. This method failed. A watched pot does not boil, and a watched tea kettle will not cool, at least not enough that you don't burn your sinuses. Trust me on this.

2. If this is your first time using the Neti Pot or any type of solution in your nose, follow the instructions. Use half a packet. Do not assume that because you are experiencing extreme sinus pressure that you need to immediately attempt to use two packets. This will burn almost as much as if you heated up your water in a tea kettle and then failed to cool it properly (see step number one.)

3. Do not attempt to use your Neti Pot while standing in front of a sink with a mirror. You may think that this is going to assist you in finding the right angle for insertion. It will not. You need to be completely focused on the angle of your head and your posture, or you will end up snorting and spraying solution all over the sink, the mirror, and yourself. You may want to remove your clothing, or put on clothing that you don't mind blowing nasal secretions all over, and stand in the bathtub. Coincidentally, this is also the method I used the one time I attempted to "shotgun" a beer.

4. Do not incline your head too far forward, or too far back, after insertion of the nozzle. If your face is inclined towards your feet too much, the solution will pool in one nostril and drip back down over your chin. It will be disgusting. Furthermore, do not lean your head backwards. At all. You will end up pouring solution down your throat, and the sensation is very similar to taking in water accidentally while swimming. You need to find the correct angle in between facing your shoes and having your head held completely upright. Make sure when you tilt your head to one side to let the solution pour through your nostrils that you do so slowly, instead of jerking your head, snorting, and coughing saline solution all over your shower walls.

5. Do not attempt to use your Neti Pot with an audience. Specifically, not with a friend or partner who will stand in the bathroom doorway laughing at you while you jam the spout into your nostril. You will laugh and choke, and it will be unpleasant.

6. After you successfully (if you're lucky, let's be honest here) manage to irrigate your sinus, be careful when you pinch your other nostril and blow. As in step number four, there is great potential to make a mess here.

7. When cleaning up the inevitable mess, make sure your shower curtain or door is closed, and that you don't spray cold water all over yourself and your bathroom, resulting in another friend/partner argument and an even bigger mess to clean up.

Have you had Neti Pot success?

Have you had success with your Neti Pot?

See results

They are so not kidding.

Not even if you boil it first, dudes.
Not even if you boil it first, dudes. | Source


  1. Don't be an idiot. Read the directions.
  2. Be prepared to make a mess. It will not be as easy as the people on YouTube make it look.
  3. If you consistently have sinus problems, you should consult your doctor. You may have something more serious going on that needs attention.


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