How To Clean A Neti Pot: 2 Easy Ways

The neti pot is an Ayurvedic device for remedying stuffy noses and congested sinuses that involve the user performing nasal irrigation.

Neti pots have a number of scientifically proven health benefits including reducing congestion, common cold symptoms, allergy symptoms, snoring, and more. However, if used or cleaned incorrectly, they can cause serious irritation and infection.

With this in mind, it’s important to know how to clean a neti pot in order to ensure maximum effectiveness, hygiene, and well-being.

In this article, we’ll explore: 

  • What is a Neti Pot?
  • 9 Benefits of Using a Neti Pot
  • How To Clean a Neti Pot
  • 13 Neti Pot ‘Dos and Don’ts

And with no further ado…

a white ceramic neti pot on a table next to pots of salt

What is a neti pot?

If you’re reading this article, it’s likely that you’re already well acquainted with neti pots and their accompanying health benefits. But on the off chance that you’re not, let us catch you up to speed.

The neti pot is an Ayurvedic home remedy for congested sinuses. In terms of physical appearance, neti pots are small, ceramic, teapot-like devices that enable a person to pour saltwater solution into one nostril and out of the other nostril, effectively washing out the nasal cavity.

The earliest record of nasal irrigation comes from the practice of Ayurveda, a system of medicine founded in ancient India. 

Ayurveda, derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Ayu’, meaning Life, and ‘Veda’, meaning Knowledge, is an alternative approach to health that emphasizes bringing balance to the mind and body and holistic wellness. Neti is Sanskrit for ‘nasal cleansing’.

Although user instructions on how to use a neti pot can vary slightly, the devices essentially all work in the same way:

  • Lean over a sink and tilt your head sideways.
  • Breathing through your open mouth, insert the spout into your upper nostril and pour. The saline solution will drain through the lower nostril and out into the sink.
  • Blow your nose and repeat the procedure on the other side.

Pretty simple, right?

If this still sounds like an alien procedure, check out the video below. You’ll be surprised by how quick and easy it is!

9 Benefits of using a neti pot:

Scientific research has proven this simple saline nasal irrigation to be an effective management strategy for a number of sinonasal conditions.

This is primarily because a neti pot helps wash away pollen, irritants and allergens from your nasal passages. It also thins out mucus your body has overproduced as a natural defence and helps it drain quicker, thus reducing congestion, improving ease of breathing and relieving you of that dreaded blocked, stuffy nose.

The main benefits of a nasal rinse performed by a neti pot include:

  1. Reduced common cold symptoms
  2. Reduced congestion
  3. Moisturized nasal passages
  4. Reduced allergy symptoms
  5. Improved symptoms of chronic nasal conditions (e.g. acute sinusitis)
  6. Improved symptoms of pregnancy related sinus conditions
  7. Reduced nosebleeds
  8. Reduced snoring
  9. Reduced reliance on over-the-counter decongestants

How to clean a neti pot: 2 Ways

The FDA warns that ‘improper use of these neti pots and other nasal irrigation devices can increase your risk of infection.’ Disinfecting your neti pot is key to practicing safe, responsible hygiene. And we’re not just talking about a quick rinse under the tap!

There are 2 easy ways to clean and sterilize your neti pot; by hand and by dishwasher.

Check out our step-by-step guide below:

How To Clean A Neti Pot By Hand

You should always wash your neti pot thoroughly by hand after each and every use.

a whole bunch of cleaning products on a yellow background made for how to clean a neti pot

What you’ll need:

  • hot water
  • antibacterial soap
  • clean towel
  • clean bottle brush
  • distilled water or saline solution

Step 1

Although the lid to your neti pot never comes into direct contact with your nose, it can still contain bacteria.

Remove the lid and rinse its underside with hot water. Set this aside on a clean tea towel.

Step 2

Now clean the inside of the pot. Run hot water directly into the pot and swirl it gently to ensure that the water reaches the entire interior.

Empty the hot water through the spout. This will eliminate any harmful bacteria from your nose or residual traces of old saline solution.

Step 3

Add a small amount of antibacterial soap to your rinsed pot and refill it 3/4 of the way full with hot water. Let this soak for a moment.

Make sure your soap is standard antibacterial soap and doesn’t contain harsh chemicals. These are not only bad for your body but can also cause damage to the pot.

a neti pot on a table in front of stones, an orchid, and plants

Step 4

Now scrub the interior and exterior of your pot with a clean bottle brush. Rotating the pot as you scrub can help you reach some of the trickier angles.

Gently scour all surfaces, dislodging any hidden bacteria and material build-up. The hot soapy water will work alongside you to clean and disinfect.

Take your previously rinsed lid and scrub this thoroughly too.

Step 5

Rinse your pot and lid again using distilled water, making sure to flush the spout too. Boiled water or saline solution are also appropriate to use. Tap water, however, is not.

Refill and empty the pot repeatedly until the water runs clear and no soap remains. If you fail to rinse away the soap completely, it can line the inside of your pot and irritate your nasal passages upon next use.

Step 6

Last but not least, place your lid and pot upside down on a clean towel and allow them to drain and air dry completely.

This is an important step to complete as moisture trapped in your pot can lead to mold and bacteria.

Once the pot is fully dry, it’s ready to be safely used again.

How To Clean A Neti Pot In The Dishwasher

The second way to clean a neti pot is to periodically put it through the dishwasher. This method is fast, easy and super effective.

Although you must clean your neti pot after each and every use, you only need to sterilize it in the dishwasher once or twice a month.

a woman showing us how to clean a neti pot in a dishwasher

Step 1

Place your neti pot in the dishwasher, preferably on the top rack as this part of the dishwasher receives a gentler cleanse than the bottom.

Step 2

Turn on your dishwasher and set it to a light wash cycle. It won’t take long for your dishwasher to fully santize your neti pot so the shortest cycle will be more than enough.

If your neti pot is made from plastic, set your dishwasher to the lowest heat setting.

Step 3

Once the cycle is complete, remove the neti pot from the dishwasher and place it on a clean cloth. Allow it time to dry and cool completely before using again.

Neti pots made from ceramic or metal can be extremely hot when they first come out so take care not to burn yourself!

a neti pot, an orchid, and stones on a table from above

13 Neti Pot ‘Dos and Don’ts’

For an extensive guide on how to use a neti pot, check out our step-by-step article here.

In the meantime, here are some basic ‘dos and don’ts’ to follow.

Do:

  • Use a neti pot to relieve nasal congestion instead of relying on over-the-counter decongestants which contain side effects including drowsiness, increased blood pressure and increased heart rate.
  • Replace your plastic neti pot as often as you would a toothbrush (every 3 to 4 months. However, if your neti pot is ceramic it can last for years without needing to be replaced. If you can, try to buy ceramic over plastic.
  • Make your own saline solution using kosher, pickling, Epsom, or canning salt.
  • Lean over a sink whilst performing your nasal rinse. Your first few times are likely to be a little messy!
  • Let the whole family try using a neti pot, including young children and pregnant women. Just make sure you all know how to use a neti pot safely and correctly, and don’t share your devices!
  • Wash your neti pot thoroughly after each and every use.
  • Wash and dry your hands before and after handling the device.
a woman mixing the salt into a neti pot with a spoon

Don’t:

  • Don’t ever use untreated tap water in your neti pot. Although plain tap water is safe to drink tap water, it can be potentially lethal to use as a nasal rinse. Only use distilled, sterile or previously boiled water.
  • Put water that is too hot or cold up your nostrils. Water should always be room temperature.
  • Use a neti pot if you have a weak immune system or are immuno-compromised without first consulting a trusted healthcare professional.
  • Use a neti pot too often. This can lead to dried out nasal passages and make you more prone to nosebleeds and infection.
  • Share your neti pot with other people, even if you wash between uses. Again, think of it like a toothbrush – don’t risk transferring unknown bacteria into your own nose!

Final Thoughts

Neti pots are a safe, effective, and natural way to relieve nasal congestion, cold symptoms, allergies and more.

Now you know how to clean your neti pot, why not take a quick refresher course on how to safely use one?

Photo of author
Lola is a digital content creator based in London with a passion for yoga, nature and people.

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