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Proper Use of a Neti Pot.

Updated on December 25, 2011

Neti Pot Deaths and How to Protect Yourself

The proper use of a Neti Pot is very important when using as to not cause illness or death. Recently there have been two deaths associated with the improper use of this popular nasal irrigation technique. Neti Pots has helped thousands that suffer from nasal decongestant and for those that like to cleanse their nasal passages. The cleansing is great for getting rid of pollutants that we breath in during our daily lives or in the work place. Here we will examine the proper use of a Neti Pot that will benefit you.

Improper use of a Neti Pot can increase your risk of side effects (ear pain), and even death. It is very important to use distilled water or boiled water when prepping you Neti Pot. There is also a plastic bottle that acts like a Neti pot that you gently squeeze to push the water, saline solution up into your nostril. No matter what you use the water you use is vital and if you use tap water there is a chance you could get sick. The two deaths were attributed to Naegleria fowleri infection "brain-eating" amoeba because it enters through the nose, infects the brain, and cause's primary amebic meningoencephalitis. This is why it is very important that you clean your pot and use the right water, not tap water. When searching for a video almost all showed someone filling up their Neti Pot with tap water. This amoeba lives in fresh water, so take precautions.


Sinus Diagram
Sinus Diagram

How to Use a Neti Pot

  • First you need to buy salt that has nothing added to it or you can buy it already packaged ready to go. If you need to do your own measuring, you can start by taking 500 ml of water and add one teaspoon of salt. Some users don't use any salt at all, which is fine for cleansing and it also done if your nose is sensitive to salt..
  • Next get your water ready and have it warm or at a temperature that is to your liking. I start off by boiling my tap water and let it cool where it is still warm and mix my salt until it dilutes. Careful not to use hot water it will burn the inside of your nose and make you very uncomfortable.
  • Bend over the sink and breathe naturally through your mouth. Open your mouth wide and breath. No talking and relax.
  • Now put the nose cone into one of your nostrils and seal it with the spout of the Neti pot. No water should come out of this nostril, only out of the other nostril.
  • Then gently bend your head forward and roll it to the opposite side. Stay over the sin when doing this.
  • Once the water is coming out of the other nostril, hold your head and only move the Neti pot up to keep the water pouring in. Keep breathing out of your mouth.
  • Bring your head up and let all the water flow out. Blow gently with both nostrils and do not blow hard. This is an important step and if not done right can cause ear pain due to water going into the ear canal instead of out of your nostril.
  • Repeat the procedure, doing everything in the opposite direction.
  • When you finished let all the water flow out again and gently blow the water out of both nostrils.
  • The first time you do this it will seem weird. I know some that don't like it and never use their Neti Pot a second time. Remember to breath out of your mouth, no talking, and relax.

Benefits From Using a Neti Pot

Removes dirt and infectious microorganisms from the nasal cavities and passageways reduces the frequency and duration of colds.

Beneficial for some types of ear problems.

Reduces allergic problems such as hay fever

Improves your nose breathing and reduces diseases such as asthma and bronchitis.

Moistens dry nasal cavities and passageways.

Flushes the tear ducts and increases eye sight.

Reduces the symptoms of chronic sinusitis.

Improves your sense of smell and taste, and helpful if you want to stop smoking.

I have been using a Neti Pot for a few years and enjoy the benefits. I suffer from dry nasal passages and used to have nose bleeds all the time. Since using the Neti Pot on a regular basis I rarely get a nose bleed and it helps when I have nasal congestion due to a cold.

There have only been two reported deaths from using tap water that contains the dangerous amoeba which lives in freshwater. This why it is important to boil your water or buy a bottle of distilled. Better to be safe than sorry.


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    • jennzie profile image


      6 years ago from Pennsylvania

      I have wanted to try using a Neti Pot for a while- it seems like it would be very helpful for colds and other issues (when used correctly). Great information!

    • mkott profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Reno, Nevada


      I have not heard of that method but I use a squeeze bottle that rinses my sinuses.

    • JCielo profile image


      6 years ago from England

      After an operation inside my nose I was advised by the surgeon to flush out my nose with salt and warm water for several days. But instead of a neti pot I was told to use a plastic syringe. Have you heard of this before?

      Thanks for highlighting the dangers of not doing this correctly. I've marked this as useful and up.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      6 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I have never heard of this before, but it seems like a good idea, if used properly. I use menthol crystal fumes to do the same job. It is definitely essential to keep the nasal passages, and the sinuses unblocked.

      Thanks for this very useful article.


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