How & Why To Use A Neti Pot

 reading time: 5 min

Episode 8.

Since it's Valentine's Day today, what better topic to talk about than rinsing your nose, lol. So romantic! (But seriously, who's also in a long-term relationship and has basically no shame flirting and joking around with their partner while doing gross things like picking your nose or popping each others pimples or tongue scraping or rinsing out phlegm with a neti pot? 😅 At some point, I feel like nothing is off-limits any more 🙈 I wouldn't say that farting in front of each other is particularly sexy or romantic, but it also weirdly deepens the relationship, I think. Aaaanywaaay ...)

Over the past few years I've used a nasal rinse cup whenever I had a cold or especially bad allergies. So maybe about two or three times a year, max. However, only since I have done some research for doing an at-home Ayurvedic cleanse known as panchakarma this month I've learned that using a so called "neti pot" is a common daily self care Ayurvedic practice (just like tongue scraping, oil pulling, and dry brushing, all of which I've already made separate blog posts about) which has more health benefits than I was aware of. So in this post I'll share these benefits, and also talk about how to actually use a neti pot. 

BUT FIRST: What is a neti pot?

A neti pot aka nasal rinse cup is a can-shaped container that kind of looks like a little genie's lamp (like the one from Aladdin) or a tiny teapot. Make sure to use either a copper, ceramic or stainless steel neti pot and avoid plastic ones! I use a ceramic neti pot.

It is used to clean your nostrils by rinsing away any dirt, dust, pollen, and excess mucus. It is even advised to do nasal rinses as a way to help treat or prevent virus infections such as COVID-19! Of course, always ask your doctor before deciding to do the nasal rinse to make sure it's safe for you to practice.


I am not a physician, and the information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

What You Will Need For This Method

  • a neti pot aka nasal rinse cup
  • 2 cups of warm filtered water (I usually boil my filtered tap water beforehand to kill any germ and allow to cool to room temperature before rinsing)
  • 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt (canning, kosher, pickling, or sea salt) *

* I actually usually make a larger amount than this: 1 liter (4 cups) of water + 9 g (about 1 1/2 tsp) of salt – and yes, I weigh it out! This is the perfect salt/water ratio because it is the same concentration that naturally occurs in the human body. 
If you do experience a burning or stinging sensation in your nose, adjust the amount of salt you use! This should NOT be painful.

The Benefits of Using a Neti Pot

Neti, or nasal rinsing, sinus rinsing, sinus irrigation, sinus wash, nasal douche or nasal flush, is a process of cleansing and purifying the nasal passages. Here are the key benefits:
  • Cleansing and refreshing the nasal passages
  • Flushing sinuses
  • Moisturizing and protecting mucous membranes
  • Removing excess mucus
  • Soothing inflammation during sinus or cold
  • Reducing and preventing nasal congestion, cold, allergies and many other respiratory problems
  • Improving breathing (and breathing exercises, yoga etc.) as it allows the air to flow better through the nostrils
  • Reducing snoring by unblocking the breath
  • Improving mental clarity and focus

How To Use a Neti Pot

1. To 1/2 to 2 cups of warm or hot filtered water, add 1 teaspoon of un-iodized salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Allow to cool to room temperature or body temperature before using!
2. Pour lukewarm salt water (saline solution) into your neti pot. Mine only holds 1 cup, so if your neti pot is bigger than that, make sure to only pour half of the solution for this round!

3. Lean over a sink. Tip your head slightly forward and tilt it to one side so that one ear is facing the sink. Gently insert the nozzle of the neti pot into the upper nostril (the one that is facing toward the ceiling).

4. Tip the neti pot up so that the salt water enters your top nostril. Keep your mouth open to breathe and to prevent the solution from flowing into your throat! 
Now let gravity do the work to help the solution flow through your sinus cavities and out the other nostril. At first you may need to work out the right angle, but you'll know it because the water will start dribbling out your other nostril like magic! It will probably feel weird at first when you feel the liquid running out the nostril, but just stay calm and keep breathing through your mouth.

5. Once the pot is empty, stand up straight. Exhale out of the nostrils to clear any water in the nasal passages. You may also gently blow your nose, or clean with a bit of water.

6. Refill the pot with the remaining salt water, and repeat this procedure for the other nostril.

7. Apply a bit of sesame oil or coconut oil to both nostrils to lubricate and protect them after the nasal rinse. This balances the drying nature of salt.

TIP: If you want to extend this clearing and nourishing practice further, include the full nurturing nasal lubrication called nasya into your neti routine: Lie down on your back or tilt your head back as far as comfortable, e. g. over a pillow. Insert 2-5 drops of nasya oil in each nostril, using a dropper (avoid touching the dropper to the nostril!). 
Inhale in rhythmic sniffs to draw the oil upwards, then rest for a few minutes, head tilted back. Massage the outside of your nostrils to help the absorption. You might feel the oil running down the back of your throat. After a few minutes, sit up and spit out any oil through your mouth. Rinse well and gargle the mouth with some warm water.

How Often Should You Rinse Your Nose

Generally it is safe to rinse your nose every day. If you are sick or allergic, you can even use it multiple times a day – I'd recommend up to three times a day. If you suffer from a chronic or severe health problem, please consult your doctor first to get a recommendation on the duration and frequency of using a neti pot.
Personally, I'm convinced that the body usually knows what's best for it/you, so rinse your nose when it feels good to do so, and stop when it doesn't!
I definitely don't use my neti pot every single day, not even every single week. However, when allergy season rolls around or when I feel a cold coming on, I do a nasal rinse once or twice a day for several days or even weeks.
NOTE: Always clean your neti pot after doing a nasal rinse. I use a bit of natural dish soap and hot water to make sure there's no salt left in the pot. Leave it to air dry thoroughly.

Have you ever tried using a neti pot? How do you feel about it? 
Let me know in the comments!