A neti pot is a plastic kettle shaped container in which you gently cleanse your nasal cavities with a mixture of warm water and saline solution. Using a neti pot for sinus irrigation is a natural, safe, and effective way to relieve sinus and nasal congestion. But there can be some nasal irrigation side effects due to regular neti pot use. There are some things that you can do to minimize the side effects of neti pot use and ensure a safe experience.


First is the preparation of the neti pot and solution. You’ll want to clean the neti pot before use by rinsing it in warm clean water and wiping it dry with a clean paper towel. Next you’ll want to boil some clean tap water to sterilize it. You can also use distilled water that is warmed up. Allow the boiled water to cool down before using.


Pour a small amount of cooled down boiled water or distilled water into the neti pot. Stir in a packet of saline solution until throughly mixed. Insert the tip of the neti pot into one nostril and tilt your head over a sink until one nostril is over the other. Allow the solution to slowly drain out of the other nostril. You may feel some tingling and warm sensations while the solution moves through completing a nasal irrigation.

Standard Neti Pot

Refill and repeat on the other nostril. Gently blow your nose afterwards and repeat this process as needed. 


If you find the nasal irrigation irritating there are some ways to minimize these irritating side effects. If the solution stings your sensitive nasal passages you can start out by using a half a packet of saline solution per nostril. 


If the solution burns or feels too cold you’ll need to adjust the temperature. For example when boiling water to sterilize it for nasal irrigation allow a longer time to let it cool. If it is already too cool then wait less time before using the water. Sometimes this can be trial and error and takes a few tries to get the proper temperature.


Try to breath in and out normally through your mouth while using the neti pot if you experience a gagging sensation. It is normal for some of the solution to pass over your throat but try to not swallow the solution. While safe and harmless, the saline may irritate your throat and stomach. Try different angles of your head over the sink to get the right flow; the solution should not run down your throat. 


Reduce usage if your nasal passages and nose feel irritated or dry after use. Some individuals might experience irritation with frequent neti pot use. Remember to start with once as needed before moving up to more frequent usage. And remember, for safety purposes only use cooled boiled water or distilled water with your saline mixture.