Neti Pot Basics

May 13, 2010 | My Jottings

If you know what a neti pot is, you probably either love them or they disgust you so thoroughly you gag when you hear the words neti pot even uttered.

For the few who might not know what a neti pot is, here is a photo and a definition:

Historically, neti pots were used in India, to assist in clearing the nasal passages. The neti pot was introduced to the West approximately thirty years ago, and today many people in the West have taken up a modified type of neti practice called Jala Neti (water neti) using a neti pot.

The use of a neti pot requires mixing up a saline solution that will be poured through the nasal passages. A typical saline solution is a mixture of around one pint of water with a teaspoon of salt. In modern times, saline nasal irrigation (SNI) has become more widely accepted as a home remedy to relieve conditions such as allergies (hay fever), colds and mild sinus infections.

If you’re curious you can see a demonstration of someone using a neti pot by clicking right here. Also essential to neti pot basics is keeping your neti pot clean.

Anyway, I know people who have used neti pots with great results, and I myself have used one; once I got over the initial feeling of drowning (which goes away after you’ve used it a couple of times and understand what’s happening to the water) I found the clear-breathing feeling afterward quite refreshing.

My son-in-law Jeremy has allergies and I thought he’d be a perfect candidate for a neti pot, so I bought him one. He used it now and then and did get relief.

Here comes the part of the story that is not for the faint of heart. In fact, if you gag easily you might want to just move on now to the next blog you planned on reading today.

Not long ago Jeremy felt like he was coming down with a sinus infection. Having used his neti pot in the past with good results, he decided to nip this issue in the bud and try irrigating his sinuses as a first line of defense.

When Carolyn found out that he had done this, she winced and said, “You probably don’t want to know where that neti pot has been.”

Oh dear. Guess where it had been?

Before I tell you that, I’ll show you the Neti Pot Culprit. This is 2 1/2 year old Audrey. She is the sweetest little girl. She loves to call Michael Bocka instead of Grandpa. She used to call me Backa instead of Grandma, but now she expertly says Grandma. So when she comes over, she runs into my arms and squeals to us both, “Hi Bocka! Hi Grandma!” Bocka and Grandma: not what I had thought we’d be called, but we’re good with it.

Audrey – sometimes we call her “The Auds”

Audrey is an inquisitive, busy child who loves to explore. She likes to smear cold cream on upholstered furniture, enjoys breaking eggs by the dozen on the kitchen floor to see what they’ll feel like under bare feet, and thinks water is the funnest thing to splash and play in.

Audrey found Daddy’s neti pot and thought it would be so fun to scoop some water into it and pour it out on places in the house that badly needed watering.

But here’s where the Auds got the water to put in the neti pot:

Are you gagging yet? I truly hope not. I would hate to have my blog labeled The Blog That Makes People Gag.

But now you know what happened, don’t you? Jeremy used his neti pot to irrigate his sinuses, after Audrey had used it to scoop out some water from a place other than the sink. And in no time, Jeremy’s sinus infection got worse. Alarmingly worse. Ragingly worse. The infection quickly traveled up to his eyes, the appearance of which gave new meaning to the word bloodshot. Of course he saw a doctor. Thank God for antibiotics – he’s well now.

Audrey, Jeremy and the Neti Pot Adventure notwithstanding, have you ever used a neti pot? If so, what were the results?


  1. Diane Aro says:

    I have never used one and now I am quite certain I never shall.

  2. Jessica says:

    Okay. Where do I start? First of all your toilet story did not make me gag but the demonstration video sure did. To be honest, all I can think of is water boarding. Which is clearly not a desirable experience but I have to imagine the feeling is similar. Like drowning as you said. Who needs that?

    I am not cool with things going up my nose. Which begs the question as to why I stuck a drinking straw in my nose one time (as a much younger person) and inhaled coca-cola ON PURPOSE just to see what would happen. I don’t recommend it.

    And lastly, a nasal infection from toilet water. Well, that’s not one many people can claim. That poor man.

  3. Diane says:

    I am so grateful for God’s healing . . . for antibiotics . . . for our sweet Audrey . . . for the normally beneficial elements of Neti Pots . . . and for your constant love for your daughters, your sons, and your grandchildren!

    God bless and enrich you today!



  4. Dorothy Sooter says:

    Kacie got a neti pot a few years ago. Kacie has always used me as the person to try something first. I did and when the water came out of my eyes it was the last time the neti pot was used. Now Kacie does the teaspoon of warm water with salt and she breathes it up one nostril and has had good results doing so. I will not do that but a q-tip dipped in warm salt water and then put up your nose helps me a lot. Another home remedy that I swear by is vicks vapo rub on the bottom of your feet when you feel a cold coming on. I do it at night and put socks on. Try it.

  5. Jessica says:

    OH. MY. GOODNESS. The water came out of Dorothy’s EYES????? That, my friends, is reason enough to never try this!! YIKES!!!! And I recently heard about the Vicks Vapo Rub thing on the feet and tried it this week on my kids when they had a cough that was keeping them awake at night and I think it worked!!! I’ll try it on myself the next time I get a cold!!

    Seriously. Her EYES????? Scary.

  6. Savannah says:

    This was the best thing I have read all day…

    And I would still use a Neti Pot. =) I hear they work wonders.

  7. Ember says:

    I’ve used a neti pot, and have a friend who uses one regularly. She’s had good results at clearing ongoing sinus problems. My sinuses don’t bother me, but I just had a few goes with one out of curiosity. That toilet looks very clean to me. It was probably only coincidence that his infection got worse. But it might be a good idea to boil the water and stick the pot in steriliser after each use – if he doesn’t do that he could reinfect from residual germs from previous use.
    Hopi candles are excellent for clearing catarrhal sinus problems as well as ear problems – it’s all just one big open plan cathedral in there… Good blog, Julie!

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