How to Use a Neti Pot Safely

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Allergies Vs. Amoebas: 2 Steps to Using a Neti Pot Safely

by James Hubbard, MD, MPH

There are not many natural ways to treat or prevent nasal allergies effectively, but using a neti pot for nasal irrigation is one of them. And it’s safe.

Okay, sure … a brain-eating amoeba has killed a few unfortunate people after they used contaminated tap water.

And, yes, some who use the neti pot actually have more sinus infections.

But … you can prevent both of those problems with two simple steps.

How to Use a Neti Pot Safely

Allergies Vs. Brain-Eating Amoebas: How to Use a Neti Pot Safely | The Survival DoctorStep #1. Clean the pot thoroughly before each use. You’ll need a tube brush or something similar to make sure you clean inside that thin spout.

Step #2. For irrigation, use distilled water, or boil your tap water for about a minute (and give it time to cool off) to kill any of those amoebas. Sure, it’s so easy to use water straight from the tap, and those brain-eating amoebas are really rare. But if you were to get the infection, you’d die. There isn’t a cure. Why take a chance?

How to Use a Neti Pot Effectively
  • Add around ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of baking soda to every cup or so of water. You don’t have to use either, but the salt may clean better, and the baking soda is a buffer to limit any irritating stinging.
  • If you’d rather, use your favorite commercial, premixed solution instead.
  • Irrigate each nostril daily if you’re having allergy symptoms or every other day if you’re using it for prevention. A great time to do it is during your shower.
Why a Neti Pot?

It’s so simple to use. That’s all. Next week, I’ll teach you an advanced nasal irrigation technique that cleans out your sinuses even more thoroughly. For that, you only need a cup—no neti pot. But it takes more practice.

How Nasal Irrigation Works

Again, simple. It washes away the pollens. It’s also good for sinus infections and colds.

What Else Can You Do for Allergies?

There are plenty of over-the-counter antihistamines that work well. Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) may be the strongest, but it tends to cause drowsiness. Sometimes it’s just a trial and error thing until you find the one that works best for you.

Since antihistamines may take a few days to work their best, start them early on. If you want details, check this article out.

And then there are prescription nasal sprays, steroid tablets and shots, and allergy testing and shots.

But one simple measure that can help quite a bit is to close your windows in your bedroom. Of course for some of you, that’ll make it too hot. But if you can, test it out for a few nights. It could make a considerable difference.

One other thing you might consider is the herb butterbur.

What has helped you? Have you tried the neti pot? Did it help?

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  • Liberty & Justice For All

    I put a drop of tea tree in my neti pot too! Works wonders!

  • Wzy

    Remember to only use aluminum free BS. At least that’s what my Dr. advised.
    I have tried adding a little liquid silica to the water for a gentle lubrication effect, but found it made no difference.

  • Lindsay

    I’m trying to fight a staph infection in my nose after numerous antibiotics didn’t quite work. Bought some mgo 400 manuka honey to swab inside, but I’m thinking of irrigating with the neti pot. Found a recipe for the salt, water, and distiller water. Do you think this is safe? I don’t really see any reason why it wouldn’t be, but I’m not positive. Thanks.

    • James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Check with your doctor, but I don’t see the harm. Of course, use sterile water. The prescription antibacterial cream, mupirocin, often works for staph also.

  • Gina Ruth Davis

    Thank you all, very informative.

    • James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      You’re welcome.

  • gaby

    hi, I have heard using boiled water with one drop tea tree oil is very effective, but I don’t know if it is safe . thank you for your valuable advices

    • Liberty & Justice For All

      I do this. Never had a problem. works wonders.

    • James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Thanks, Gaby. I’m not sure either. I do know that ingesting larger amounts by mouth is not safe.

  • Pingback: The Best Sinus Irrigation Method (Without a Neti Pot)()

  • Brian

    This was a very good article. I recommend the Neti Pot to all of my athletes as well. One more addition, my son’s ENT told him to also use J&J Baby Shampoo (No More Tears) with the salt and distilled water. It can burn some too, but it really helps to scrub the inside of the nose.

    • James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Thanks, Brian.

  • Judy Rodman

    THANK YOU!! Finally, the real facts about the safe way to use this amazing, easy remedy for allergies. I can’t tell you how many singers I’ve recommended this to who said they were scared they’d get a brain-eating amoeba if they did! Your common sense facts here should open up this solution for a bunch of folks.

    • James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Glad it helps, Judy.

  • Cindy

    Love using my neti pot! I always put salt in the distilled water. The one time I didn’t, the water burned my nose like crazy!
    Very good article – thanks.

    • James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      You’re welcome.