The Truth About Neti Pots

Lots of folks rely on the sinus-clearing, nostril-soothing benefits of using a Neti Pot (an Aladdin’s lamp-like container with a small spout, which you can find at a drug store). In fact, some people like the remedy so much that they use it every day—whether they have a stuffy nose or not.

But all good things must come with a warning, and here’s the latest on this trendy treatment: Don’t use tap water in your Neti Pot. Harmful bacteria could be lurking in ordinary water. And there’s no harm in playing it safe, and switching to distilled or boiled water (cooled to body temperature) to rinse out your sinuses.

Here’s how to safely use a Neti Pot:

  1. Mix approximately ¼ teaspoon of fine table salt into 1 cup of distilled water that’s been warmed to body temperature, or boiled water that’s been cooled.
  2. Lean over a sink and turn your head so your left nostril is lower than your right, keeping your head tilted so your nose is higher than your mouth.
  3. Pour the solution into your right nostril, allowing the water to drain from your left nostril and your mouth.
  4. Gently blow your nose, without plugging either nostril.
  5. Repeat with the other nostril.

Be sure to clean your Neti Pot after each use with warm water and dishwashing liquid. (Or check with the manufacturer to see if your pot is dishwasher safe.)

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