A Guide to Neti Pots

Neti pots are devices used to flush out your nasal passages. Often resembling a small teapot, they are used to pour salt water through your nasal cavity. They can be extremely effective at reducing snoring caused by a blocked nose.

Jump to SnoreLab’s recommended neti pots

If a stuffy nose is causing you to snore, nasal irrigation has benefits over other anti-snoring methods. Neti pots are:

  • Inexpensive and simple
  • Non-medicated
  • Unlikely to produce side effects
  • Able to relieve cold and allergy symptoms

Neti pots have their origins in an ancient Hindu practice of health and wellbeing, where nasal irrigation, or “jala-neti”, was practiced daily as a cleansing ritual. This alternative medicine technique has stood the test of time and has been adopted by many snorers with very successful outcomes.

“My snoring has stopped, I now sleep and breathe better. It’s so nice to find something that can solve a huge problem in my life so easily”

How do neti pots work to stop snoring?

When your nose is congested your normal breathing is disrupted. Breathing through a partially blocked nose creates suction forces that act on your airway which causes it to narrow.

When you can’t breathe through your nose, mouth breathing ensues. This yields some shape changes to your airways which disrupts airflow and brings on snoring.

Using a neti pot helps to clear your nose and encourage healthier, quieter nasal breathing. Nasal irrigation:

  • Soothes inflamed tissue. Reducing inflammation widens the nasal passages.
  • Flushes out allergens and other potential irritants.
  • Breaks down and clears excess mucus.

Who can benefit from a neti pot?

If a blocked nose is making you snore, a neti pot can be an extremely effective way of reducing this blockage and sleeping quieter. We recommend them for:

How to use a neti pot

Despite the well documented benefits, snorers are often deterred from using a neti pot because it just seems a bit weird and gross. Like anything, it gets easier with practice.

“The first few times you use it, you may feel that the sensation is a little weird. With regular use this will become something normal, not a big issue and will only make you feel better.”

There are four important things to get right when using a neti pot:

  1. Use the correct water
  2. Use the correct salts
  3. Use the correct technique
  4. Use the correct cleaning methods to decontaminate your neti pot

Here is SnoreLab’s process to get safe and effective use from your neti pot:

1. Choosing the right water

Unclean water can introduce harmful bacteria into your nose. DO NOT use untreated tap water. You have several safe water options:

  • Bottled water that is labelled as “distilled”.
  • Tap water that has been boiled for around 5 minutes and left to cool to a lukewarm temperature. This kills any potentially harmful invaders.
  • Tap water that has been passed through a filter with pores 1 micron (one thousandth of a millimeter) or smaller.

2. Preparing the salt solution

The salt solution is important to help break down the excess mucus in your nose.

Many neti pots can be bought as kits where the appropriate salt mixture is provided in a sachet. These can also be bought separately.

If you want to make your own salt solution, DO NOT use standard table salt. Find a pure salt that is:

  • Non-iodized
  • Free from caking agents
  • Free from additives

Recipes for homemade solutions vary, but a good guide is to add ½ teaspoon of the appropriate salt to the water, along with ¼ teaspoon of baking powder.

3. Using the neti pot

Now for the gross bit. With practice this will get much easier. To properly use the neti pot, water should be poured into one nostril so it comes out of the other. Follow these steps:

  1. Tilt your head sideways over the sink.
  2. Breathe through an open mouth.
  3. Place the spout of the neti pot on your upper nostril so that it forms a tight seal.
  4. Pour half of the contents slowly.
  5. Allow the water to run through your nose and out of your lower nostril.
  6. Repeat for the other side.
  7. Once done, gently blow your nose without pinching your nose to remove excess water.

4. Cleaning the neti pot

This part varies depending on what type of material your neti pot is made from. Regardless of material, thorough cleaning is a must to prevent the build-up of harmful bacteria in your neti pot.

Some neti pots can simply be put in the dishwasher. Others can be boiled whereas some need some scrubbing with warm water and soap.

Once done, let your neti pot air dry.

What should you look for when purchasing a neti pot?

Whilst a neti pot might seem like a simple device, there are a few features you should look for when deciding on which neti pot is best for you …

Material

Neti pots are available in different materials, each with their relative merits (jump to different neti pot materials: the pros and cons):

  • Ceramic
  • Plastic
  • Steel

Easy to clean

Neti pots need to be properly cleaned to be used safely. This is to stop you inadvertently introducing harmful bacteria that might lurk in the recesses of your neti pot, into your nose.

Look for a simple shape with a wide opening that has no difficult-to-reach nooks where mold and bacteria can hide. Also check that the design has no cavities within the handle as it is almost impossible to clean this effectively.

Consider that different materials have to be cleaned differently.

Comfort

You need a reasonably tight seal on your nostril to use a neti pot effectively, therefore it is important to consider how the spout will feel on your nose.

Steel and copper pots are hard and cold, whereas plastics can be softer. Cheaper designs might have some rough edges whereas some pots come with a little silicon cap to provide enhanced comfort.

Breakability/longevity

Are you likely to travel with your neti pot? If so, consider that ceramic neti pot materials are more breakable than others.

Whilst plastic pots are less likely to break if dropped, if they are made from thinner plastics (such as squeezable ones) they will probably wear out faster than steel or ceramic ones.

Squeezable material

Some neti pots are made from soft plastics that can be squeezed. This allows you to control the pressure of the water going into your nose.

Appearance

It might sound silly, but good ceramic neti pots can look like a nice, simple ornament. On the flip side, some plastic ones can be rather inappropriately shaped! Are you likely to leave it lying around?

Different neti pot materials: the pros and cons

Ceramic

This is the most common type of neti pot and the one that we recommend the most.

Pros:

  • Comfortable on the nostrils
  • Hygienic and easy to clean
  • Simple designs with few nooks for mold and bacteria build-up
  • Dishwasher safe
  • Looks good

Cons:

  • Breakable
  • Usually has less capacity than pots made from other materials
  • Heavy
  • Lower quality ceramics can have pores that trap mold

We recommend the Himalayan Chandra Ceramic Neti Pot. It has a smooth design that doesn’t allow mold build-up, the starter kit comes with a 10-ounce salt pot and measuring spoon, and it is not bad looking either.

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Plastic

Pros:

  • Cheaper
  • Not breakable
  • Light
  • Suitable for travel
  • Softer plastics can be squeezed to control water pressure
  • Clear plastics allow you to see the water level and potential dirt build-up

Cons:

  • Some designs have cavities where mold and bacteria can accumulate
  • Not often dishwasher safe
  • Less long-lasting. Can be degraded by salt water.

We like Dr Hana’s Nasopure. It has a very simple ergonomic design that is easy to use and easy to clean, with no handle, hence no cavity. The shape and squeezable material allows you to use this neti pot without having to tilt your head. The kit also contains 20 salt packets.

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Steel


Pros:

  • Hygienic. Unlikely to trap bacteria.
  • Not fragile
  • Easy to clean
  • Good sizes available

Cons:

  • Can rust if not dried properly
  • Hard and cold feeling on the nostrils

Our steel neti pot pick is the Health and Yoga Stainless Steel Neti Pot. It is large enough to not need refilling during a single irrigation, it has a nicely shaped conical tip, is very robust and has a simple design with very few areas for mold to form.

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