Last Modified on Apr 18, 2014
Neti pots are effective natural treatments for sinus infections used by millions of individuals worldwide to deal with their sinus issues. Since sinus infections rank among the most painful and widespread health conditions, finding an effective treatment option or therapy is crucial. The neti pot has been found to be an effective remedy that can be used by anyone to attain beneficial results.
Nasal Irrigation for Treating Sinus Conditions
Nasal irrigation using the neti pot is a tradition with origins in Ayurvedic medical practice.? The process is designed to flush the nasal cavities, relieving congestion and alleviating infection. The neti pot is considered one of the most popular options for treating sinus conditions as it is particularly effective and safe.
Do Neti Pots Work?
While some doctors may negate the benefits of the neti pot, research suggests that this solution does indeed work. In fact, many ear, nose, and throat surgeons recommend nasal irrigation using a neti pot to their patients prior to and even following nasal surgery.
Further research suggests that nasal irrigation is an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms. The saline solution often used in treatments also makes the option even more effective for removing allergens and other irritants that contribute to sinus issues.
How to Use a Neti Pot to Cure Nasal Congestion
The neti pot is typically a ceramic or plastic pot that looks much like a cross between a traditional teapot and a magic lamp. While some of the pots are different, most function by filling the pot with a warm saline solution. Once filled, an individual must tilt his or head over the sink at a 45 degree angle, place the spout in the top nostril, and pour the saline solution into the nasal cavity.
The fluid will flow through the sinuses and out the other nostril. Blowing the nose helps eliminate any liquid. Likewise, spitting out any fluid that flowed into the mouth eliminates any excess drainage. Following use, the neti pot must be washed and left to dry in the open air.
Research suggests that fewer than 10% of neti pot users experience adverse effects. All others experience extensive relief and limited recurrence of symptoms when used regularly. Neti pots are a safe, effective remedy for treating sinus infection and other nasal conditions.
Where Can I Buy a Neti Pot and Saline Rinses?
Continue reading below for feedback from Earth Clinic readers who have used neti pots to cure their sinus infections!
[YEA] 05/17/2013: Kimber from North Illinois: "After 2 week of dealing with severe spring allergies which consisted of major head/ sinus congestion, watery eyes, and coughing from post nasal drip I felt maybe maybe a trip to the doctor might be a next step. I was taking a decongestant, a antihistamine , netti pot, and Apple Cider Vinegar 2x's per day, with all this I was feeling like a sinus infection was brewing- adding pressure and headache. So to get to the point- I hate going to the doctor and trying to handle this the best way I knew how. Desperate to get rid of this brewing sinus infection I took 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar and added to the netti pot with warm water. After completing only 1/2 the treatment because it was very uncomfortable burning through my sinus cavity I had to stop. Well be prepared- w/ a box of Kleenex because war had been declared!!! With in minutes stuff/ infection was on its way out. Within an hour relief was being felt. As uncomfortable as the neti pot was with Apple Cider Vinegar the result were quick and immediate. Bye bye infection!"
11/12/2012: Carolina from Nyc, Ny, Usa: "I have had a bad sinus infection for the past 2 years, non stop. I had two courses of antibiotics, unsuccessfully. I cannot read, think, breath due to the pressure in my head. My left cheek bone and jaw hurts. My eyes are glassy and itchy all the time. I tried the apple cider vinegar solution but it destroyed my stomach, badly. I got gas, terrible cramps, and overall a feeling of discomfort.
Yesterday I bought a neti pot that comes with salt and aromatic essential oils. I tried it last night for the first time and it didnt hurt or bother me. I produced very clear mucous and felt my nasal passages were clearer. However, my head did not stop hurting and I had a dry cough right after. I tried it again this morning and I felt I was drowning. I also got a dry cough afterwards. The whole afternoon I felt awful. The pressure in my head was terrible. I felt I was the whole afternoon under water. At some point I bent down and a splash of water came out and then again. I exhale vigorously as suggested in the neti pot instructions and do the exercises to remove the excess water. I tried it again tonight as I am planning on using the neti pot twice a day. Again I felt like drowning while using the neti pot and got a dry cough.
Right after I finished, I got a really bad pain on the left side of my upper stomach and now I am bloated and my belly feels sensitive. Are these symptoms going to go away? Is this normal? I feel I am using the neti pot correctly. I even got my husband to be right by my side to correct my posture. But I dont always get a steady flow when using the neti pot and I was wondering how to do so. I also feel my throat is salty and I am producing some kind of salty phlegm. Thanks for any advice!"Replies
11/13/2012: Cecile from Lakewood, Ca replies: "When using the neti pot put one fourth of a teaspoon of sea salt in it. Stir. You will not get that feeling of drowning. Works much better. Hope this helps..."
[YEA] 09/08/2012: Kimberly From Wv from Fairmont, West Virginia: "Ok for some background. 3 days ago I felt a sinus infection/ head cold coming on. I was VERY congested and had such pressure my eye balls, upper cheek bones and temple area as well as my ears felt like they were going to pop out.
I then had a sore throat that was right at the back of the top of my throat where the air comes in from the nose. It hurt to talk, swallow very severe pain. I came to earth clinic in desperation to find an instant fix.
I read teds personal remedy which included a pinch of borax and 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide in a half glass of water. I used only tap water as I had no bottle water and I used 3% hydrogen peroxide from walmart as I had no food grade. I drank it last night before bed.
At about 530 am I awoke in such pain in my head and nose was so closed up and felt dry almost like I could feel my sinuses moving it was really painful. My throat killed me. So I remembered I had a neti pot. I again did not have what I should have but I was soooo desparate that I used above luke warm tap water.
1/2 tsp of iodized table salt and 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide again from walmart 3$.
I began to pour it up my right nose hole and began the panting that is needed to get the water to come out the other hole. But nothing came out. My sinuses were completely swollen closed. I kept at it and ended up with some going down my throat.
I turned my head to the other side and poured the rest up my blocked side and finally I began to have drainage out the other side. I filled the neti pot up and did this 3 more times alternating sides.
I took a 600 mg ibuprofen and went to bed able to breathe but still in pain. I awoke this morning with both noses open and all pain and pressure is gone. My throat is NO longer sore. Praise God. I again took the pinch of borax and 1 tsp of hydrogen peroxide in a half glass of water and used the netti pot and I can say that as of right now I feel great.
I still have a little sniffle but no pain and no sore throat. This stuff works. Yay..."
07/23/2012: Ivan from Wasilla, Alaska: "Hey I live in alaska. Im 17 and this is the first time I've had an infection. I had nasal problems all my life but nothing too serious, but last 3 weeks have been hell, not as bad until this last week, I feel like my head will explode, I have drank apple cider and waiting for results now. I use a spray called sinux, its clears everything quickly but I still feel pressure, my nasal is dry but soo much pressure. I only wish it was runny so I can get it all out. I've been having chest pains too, not too big but noticable. And things that will help guys? I have an appointment in a week with a specialist- anxious to hear what he says, anything in the meantime to help?"Replies
07/23/2012: Lisa from Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa replies: "Hi Ivan, Have you ever heard of a neti pot? You might want to get one. They offer them at health food stores. They're simple to use and you can see demos on youtube if you need to. My daughter who was plagued with sinus issues/ infections for quite a few years, beginning at about your age, was finally convinced by me to try one and was sold. That was after going to a doctor who kept giving her various antibiotics unsuccessfully, much to my disdain (She was an adult by then and was choosing this form of help on her own). None of them worked and in the process she was also destroying her immune system with them to boot!
She has used her neti pot effectively now for a long time. You might find relief from its use. I tell my students to get one when they have sinus issues and they have been pleased. Hope this info helps, Lisa"
[YEA] 01/21/2012: Jaxine from Nowhere, Fl: "I have been suffering from recurrent sinusitus for years now. I think it has been 5. I have about 5-6 infections a year, usually accompanied by a cold. I am in the middle of my first infection of the year, most likely caused by stress. I have been on a longer work schedule and doing quadruple the work. But this infection wasn't accompanied by a cold. It just came last night. I do the Neti Pot 2x a day everyday so I can prevent infection.
I also take a multi vitamin with extra C 2x a day and a 5000 mg Vitamin C 1x a day. This only clears out my mucus and let's me breathe easier for a little bit.
This morning I mixed ACV into my normal sinus rinse. I instantly felt some relief even though it stung. I also did some oil pulling for about a minute and it showed no results."Replies
01/25/2012: Jv from Kansas City, Mo. replies: "I don't know if it will help you or not, but I haven't had a cold in over 2 years. I am around people ALL the time (work in sales) so it's not because I am a hermit. LOL!! Here is what I and my wife also do. At the very moment that you begin to feel that niggle in your throat..... Get the peroxide and gargle. Do this every thirty minutes or so. There is not much taste so don't sweat that. Just gargle. So far EVERY time we have done this the cold was stopped in its tracks. Didn't go past that day. Works great for us. Good luck, JV"
03/21/2011: Kathie from Tallahassee, Fla Usa: "I need some help here. I am so tired of being sick. I have been taking Wal-mart "Equate" Allergy & Congestion Relief-D 24 hour relief. BC powders for this headache. 2 Chewable vitamin C 500mg each total 1000mg.
I found this site and did the fresh garlic in boiling hot water and draped the beach towel over my head and breathed in thru nose and mouth for about 3-4 minutes each time. I did this twice today. And I also did the ACV in 8oz glass of water , once. I have done the Niti Pot about 4 times. So my question is 1-can I just take 2tblespoons of ACV without the water? and if so how many a day? Can/should I add this to my Neti Pot solution and if so how much? Can I cook the garlic and eat it cooked or does it have to be raw? and what about putting a slice of garlic in the Neti Pot ?"
[BETTER BUT NOT CURED] 07/29/2010: Lindsay from Chicago, Il, Usa: "I have had severe nasal congestion due to allergies and repeated sinus infections since the age of 4. I spent years on allergy pills, medicated nasal sprays with HCl (the rebounding is terrible), and later saline sprays, which were far better than nothing but not that great. I started rinsing with a neti pot (1 cup of warm filtered water; 1/2 tsp of un-iodized salt; 1/4 tsp baking soda; and a few drops of castor oil for each nostril) about 3 years ago. It took a couple of weeks of using it daily or every other day before I noticed anything profound, but now I can breathe better -- particularly when I'm laying down for sleep -- than ever before in my life. If I'm sick I'll rinse 1-2 times per day; otherwise I only do it every other day. My nasal passages tend to keep draining little amounts for about half an hour after I rinse, so allow some time to sit upright with tissues on hand before going to bed. Important: When I only rinsed sporadically, it was not half as effective. If I do it less frequently than every other day, "stuff" has a chance to build up in my sinuses I have a noticeably harder time breathing."
[YEA] 11/26/2009: Ellen from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada: "Try using a neti pot with celtic sea salt dissolved in a luke warm mixture. Use 1 tsp salt per cup of water. The salt is very alkalizing and will remove the acids from the sinus area. The salt will also reduce the bacterial infection greatly and you should find relief if you do this 5-6 times a day."
[YEA] 06/02/2008: Zuuch from London, United Kingdom: "I have used this technique to cure a really bad sinus infection. I just wanted to add that if you use green tea instead of just water its more effective. I also added a small amount of garlic juice and ginger juice to the tea. I made a half gallon of this solution and poured it all through. ( I just used a regular teapot because the neti pots are a bit small ) It took about half an hour. There was instant relief from pain and by the next day the sinus infection was cured just by this one treatment alone. I think the important thing is to get that garlic juice right up inside your sinuses onto the surface of the infected area. It stings a little, but not even as bad as chlorinated water."
[YEA] 03/25/2008: Linda from Studio City, CA: "Try using the Neti pot with warm salt water. It flushes out your sinuses like nobodies business and it's safe and effective. You can use it everyday. Whole Foods sells them or you can get them off the internet. This and the Cayanne pepper drink saved me last night. My sore throat went away and now my PND is getting better. You guys are great."Replies
12/29/2008: Heidi from Concord, NH replies: "I notice that most of the posts that suggest using salt name Sea Salt. I'd like to suggest Morton's Lite Salt. Instead of being all sodium cloride, it contains about 50% potassium cloride. I find that this salt does sting as much but give a similar result. True you are buying from a big company and there are "extra" ingrediants like calcium silicate, magnesium carbonate, dextrose, and potassium iodide. But for me the trade off makes sense. I do the Netti pot a lot less frequently if I was burning my nose with sodium cloride ever time. I use the same amount of Lite Salt to replace the sodium cloride."
01/04/2009: Heidi from Concord, NH replies: "Just a few corrections:
"I find that this salt does sting as much" should read "I find that this salt does NOT sting as much "
"I do the Netti pot a lot less frequently if I was burning my nose with sodium cloride ever time" should read "I WOULD do the Netti pot a lot less frequently if I was burning my nose with sodium cloride ever time.""
06/04/2011: Yamuna Devi from Taos, Nm, Usa replies: "An important point that is not often mentioned - neti should be done with DISTILLED water - not tap water. Tap often contains minerals, an often other elements that can aggravate. If you are not getting the results you want and are using tap water, make the change and feel the difference. I had a friend who 'cured' chronic rhinitis, and another who avoided nasal surgery using neti 2-3X daily."
01/11/2012: Randy from Myrtle Beach, Sc replies: "I have one nostril that is partially obstructed. My question is since I have never used a neti pot before.. Is it beneficial to add some H202 drops in the water along with celtic sea salt and baking soda or is it really not needed because the sea salt and BS will do a good enough job on it's own?"
[YEA] 03/20/2008: Lad from Bel Air, MD: "I had aggressive sinusitius for four years which would grace me with unusually acute fatigue and depression - it's REALLY miserable. I constantly took nasty Leviquin antibiotics and had sinoplasty over 2 years ago to open my breathing passages.
It is a very elusive infection (sinuses probably offer germs a lot of hiding places) though I think household and seasonal allergy congestion is my big trigger to proliferate it.
Earlier this year, I had a re-infection that closed off my breathing for the first time since the surgery. This time, the Leviquin didn't seem to get it all.
But, I FINALLY whipped it this time around, and breathe better than ever, with:
- Olive Leaf Extract Aggressive use (150mg 4-6x/day or more) w/ 15%-20% oleuropein (seems to route out the germs IF used long enough in quantity) DON'T use w/ antibiotics, N-Acetyl-Cysteine or Soil-Based probiotics. A co-worker, mentioned below, also swears by OLE alone for her chronic sinusitis.
- Neti pot rinse 2x/day (using dash of Himalayian Crystal Salt w/ low sodium, so it doesn't need baking soda buffering like table salt). Sinus irrigation is very proven and is not nearly as hard or gross as it may look to some. It works much better than the sinus/face "baths" & "dips" I tried and has more flow and volume than the squeeze bulbs I used. A special, BIG nasal syringe I bought blasted WAY too much pressure and drove the congestion/infestion further up my sinus/ear canals making it worse. (Which a co-worker swore her Neti pot use also did to her- something said to sometimes happen in people with larger ear canal openings). To prevent this, you may need to wait until you sinus passages open up enough for the water to gently flow through them. Maybe a one-time use of Afrin-type sprays will accomplish this. Just take it slow and steady.
- Nasalcrom spray afterwards 2-4/xday to turn off the Mast Cell / histamine triggers. It's neither an antihistamine, nor a steroid, and is a decent, localized, solution with a very good safety profile - (for a pharmaceutical ;-)). You just got to get started early with it and be patient. The coming Spring & Fall Allergy Seasons will put this stuff to the real test. I may have to use Nettles, Claritin, etc. to pick up the loose ends. (I had success with Zicam Allergy too, but I wondered if the gel ultimately worsened congestion).
------------------------------------- Also used (and probably helpful):
- Lactoferrin w/ colostrum 1-2 grams/day (infected sinuses naturally try to secrete more ferrins to rob germs of the blood iron they feed from). That, and Germanium, also seem to consistantly help my general respiration.
- Apple Cider Vinegar, (1 tsp) or Potassium supplements (150mg) whenever I felt stuffiness coming on (seems to help dry out the sinuses rapidly). Cheap and worth a try. Sinus Buster pepper-based nasal spray may also help open passages up - if you don't mind the sting.
- Seagate Olive Leaf Nasal Spray (w/ GSE & Wild Indigo) (used during the day, esp. in dry air - doubtful it is very effective alone without all the above).
---------------------------- Environmental trigger elimination I probably should try (if I wasn't so lazy)
- total house / air vent cleaning and mold detection (or just move!)
- eliminating ALL wheat/flour and dairy in my diet (major ER4YT "Blood Type O" immune triggers). Both seem to automatically make the sinuses a little stuffier, hence, I keep the ACV / Potassium above handy.
[YEA] 11/29/2007: Rita from Pierson, FL: "NETI POT: Saw this remedy on Oprah and I tried it and no more antibiotics for me. This is an inexpensive ceramic pot (available in Health food stores)in which warm water and sea salt are mixed; you bend over sink and turn your head to once side. Keeping the pot level, place the small spout into the top nostril until it has a snug fit. breathe through your mouth and slowly tip you head downward allowing the warm water solution to travel through your sinuses and out the other nostril. You would not believe what will come out of there. This works for sinus infections, nasal congestion, post nasal drip and headaches. No more drugs or drops necessary. Can be used daily without any side effect."Replies
05/28/2009: Greengirl from Boston, MA replies: "I too discovered the Neti pot from an Oprah episode. It helps, alot. So does a simple saline spray (drug store). I have some serious allergies, so I also take 1/2 a benadryl before bed (weaned myself down to 1/2 a pill a day, but eventually hope to rid myself from taking any pill). Additionally, and probably the most important tip I have, I see an acupuncturist once a week (tremendous help for allergies, sinuses and improving my immune system). Of all the treatments above, including mine, acupuncture and drinking lots of water helps the most."
[YEA] 09/13/2007: Katia from Jacksonville, United States: "I get a miserable sinus infection every year, usually it begins in August. A couple of years ago it started, after about three weeks, I went to the doctor and he gave me antibiotics and nasal spray. Ten days later I was no0 better off than when I started. Another, stronger antibiotic, another two weeks, same infection. Eight weeks and three drugs later I decided I was just going to have live this way forever. Then our accupuncturist neighbor came over one day and explained the neti pot process to me. A mild sea salt and warm water solution into the neti pot, tip your head back and slowly pour the salt solution into one nostril. This is where it gets tricky, because nature sends the salt water straight to your throat which will generally make you choke or cough in that position. You have to teach yourself to close off your throat (not breathe). Once you get a good bit of water in your nose, you roll your head backwards slowly and in the opposite direction. If the water is in the right nostril, roll left. You should be able to feel the solution running through your sinuses. Make sure you do this over a sink, or with a towel handy, because once the water makes it through, it will come out the opposite nostril, at which point you will likely sneeze or cough. I would repeat this step 4-5 times twice a day, ending with a good nose blowing. Salt dries things, even gooey sinuses. I never buy allergy meds any more, and before I could find a real neti pot, I mixed the salt and water in a glass and filled a straw with the solution. My kids find this process very entertaining as well, I usually have an audience when I treat my sinus infections."
[YEA] 03/20/2007: MAHINDRA from DUBAI, UAE: "Hi all. It may not be easy for everyone to buy a jalneti pot, coz it is not very easily available. A yoga institute in India taught me a better method, without using any pots. Take a cup (coffee mug size) of warm water (should not be too warm), add a pinch of salt and stir it. Now, try to hold some of this water in your palm (sufficient quantity) and quickly bring your left nostril close to it and try to suck that water with your left nostril, closing the right one with the right hand. As soon as you suck it take the right hand of your right nostril. All the water sucked in will come out either from your nostril or your mouth. Wait a bit, try it on the right side using the same technique and once done blow your nose gently from each side. Do it daily and say a big Good bye to your sinus issues."
[YEA] 03/07/2007: Madeira from Alexandria, VA: "I was suffering from a sinus infection and did not want to take antibiotics so after reading the H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide) remedies and the feedback, I decided to add about 7-8 drops of 3% H2O2 to my Neti-pot and rinse my sinuses out. I did this twice and also applied H2O2 to my cheek where my sinus was killing me. I then slept with a heating pad on my face and WA-LA -- no sinus infection -no pain the next morning! I could chew again!! Lots of disgusting stuff still coming out 2 days later but no antibiotics and no pain and in less than 24 hours -AMA-ZA-ZING!! This remedy is a keeper! Thanks for all who shared -- you gave me the courage to try it!!"
[YEA] 03/04/2007: Karena And Baird from Gainesville, FL: "I have cured my sinus infections by using a Netipot, which is a lavage treatment for your sinuses. But instead of just adding salt to the warm water, I also added 1/8 tsp. of a crushed clove of garlic. The garlic burns, but only for an instant. The garlic will zap the bacteria! I poured one pot of this into each nostril 2 times a day. My sinus infection was cured in 4 to 5 days. No, it is not a quick fix, but it does work!!"Replies
[YEA] 03/04/2012: Toni from Sanford, Florida replies: "I tried the Neti Pot rinse with crushed garlic and seven days later my sinus infection is gone!!! No mucus, no sore throat and earache gone. From the day I started this regiment my symptoms did not worsen but it did take a week for all symptoms to be gone. This is so much better than ten days of antibiotics (sometimes two rounds of ten days) and two hundred dollars to a doctor!"
[YEA] 01/31/2007: Penny from Glasgow, Scotland: "I suffered with low grade sinus problems for years until I tried an ancient Indian yogic practice called Jala Neti, which involves using warm salt water to clear out the nasal sinuses. Yoga websites contain information on this procedure and links to suppliers of neti pots (little jugs specially designed for pouring the salt water through your nostrils). This is very different from spraying stuff up your nose, but is quickly learned and extremely simple, as long as you don't have a deviated septum or similar. Once you're in the habit, it takes about as long as cleaning your teeth. I now do this every day, more often if I can feel a problem developing with my sinuses, and for the first time in years have been able to breathe properly. I also haven't had a cold since I started jala neti about two years ago. The salt water clears bacteria, viruses, dust and assorted allergens out of your sinuses and nasal passages, and allows your nose to do its job properly. I would recommend this most highly, but would stress that you need a reputable source of information and products, and should never put anything except pure salt and warm water in the neti pot."
[YEA] 01/30/2007: Jem from NYC, USA: "I was desperate for a cure to my clogged sinuses and post nasal drip. Unable to take over the counter decongestants I searched high and low for a natural cure. I came across what is known as a neti pot which has been used by the yogis of India for centuries. It looks like a genie pot and you can buy it in any major pharmacy. There is one company who sells it along with little packets of solution which is more convenient but you can make your own solution using equal parts of salt and baking soda. You put the solution into the neti pot and fill it with warm *NOT HOT* water. The spout of the neti pot goes up one nostril, you tilt your head and the stream of warm water and solution comes out the other nostril. You then repeat the process on the other side, gently blowing your nose in between. The results for me were immediate but it can take a few days to get the mucous out. It really works, I have unclogged my sinuses and my post nasal drip is almost gone. You can use it every two hours but I suggest every other day. It can feel weird at first but it doesn't hurt and if you hold your head to the side properly, it will not go down your throat. If it burns a little it can mean that you either put too much salt or not enough in the water, you will have to play with the amount or buy the pre-made packets in the store. I just bought a refill of 40 packets for around ten bucks. This will draw all of the mucous out. I did not believe it but I was so desperate that I gave it a try. The nose is the number one source of viruses and bacteria because it is a filter. All colds and flu invade your body through your nose. By cleansing your sinuses every other day with a neti pot, you are removing viruses, bacteria, pollen and debris that can make you sick. It can be used to prevent getting sick as well as relieving the symptoms. I clean my sinuses with a neti pot before I brush my teeth and I do it every other day."
[YEA] Gayle from Winter Park: "I've had sinus infections off and on for years. I heard about a device called a neti pot while studying yoga. At the first sign of a sinus problem coming on (usually early spring), I bring out my pot and flush my sinuses with 1 cup of warm water and 1/4 teaspoon of salt (non-iodized) once or twice a day. It's been remarkable in helping me to avoid trips to the doctor for antibiotics."