The Best Way to Irrigate Your Nasal Passage: Neti Pot Substitutes

Nasal irrigation is a very effective and natural treatment for a series of conditions. I have found that a net pot is one of my best allies when it comes to draining my sinuses and aiding decongestion. I also use it when it comes to relieving pressure in my head. But my parents and grandparents did not have anything like it, so how did they relieve these kinds of symptoms? Today we are going to discuss some neti pot substitutes that are just as great.

What is the Neti Pot?

A neti pot is a ceramic or plastic medical element that helps you rinse out your sinuses to relieve cold, allergy and chronic sinus infection symptoms. Its origin lies in the ancient ayurvedic and yogic practice of nose cleansing.

This nasal irrigation can also help with facial pain and pressure and rhinitis (runny nose). It flushes out mucus and allergens from the nose, providing relief.


It is usually used with saline rinses and it also helps the function of the little hairs inside the nose that help with the flushing out of mucus. These effects have been recognized by the medical community and it is a widely recommended practice to clear the nasal passage.

You can buy one of these at a local pharmacy or online, but they are essentially just a small kettle. There are other things you could use instead if you are in a pinch or do not have access to one.

What to Use Instead of a Neti Pot

You could use a squirt bottle or a bulb syringe. They will both help you pour water inside your nose in a controlled fashion so that you do not end up breathing it in.

It is important not to squeeze the bottle too hard as this could push the saline solution too much. It will be uncomfortable and can make you choke.

The Best Way to Irrigate Your Nasal Passage

Of course, you can also just use a cup. It will be messier and you will probably choke the first few times you try to do it, just until you get the hang of it. 

It is a strange feeling to get used to because there is liquid going up your nose, but once you do it is amazing and you will be able to reap the benefits of this ancient technique.

How to Keep your Neti Pot and Neti Pot Substitutes Clean

You should sterilize all containers you plan on using for nasal irrigation with a 1:1 water and hydrogen peroxide solution. You can also use bleach. Make sure the mix goes through the nozzle tip (if you are using a neti pot) or any nozzles it may have.

Afterward, rinse it out with water until there is nothing left of the solution on the container.

What Kind of Water to Use for a Nasal Rinse?

The FDA warned that only filtered or distilled water should be used for this purpose. You can also use bottled water.

In order to make tap water safe for this, you should boil it for 3 to 5 minutes. This will ensure that you will not get any kind of infection from cleaning your sinuses this way.

The most usual type of liquid used for this purpose is saline water, though. It would be easier to just buy it right out of the pharmacy.


To make your own saline solution, to every cup of water add half a teaspoon of salt. For nasal irrigation, you will need a cup minimum. Set it over the stove and bring it to a boil. Once it does, simmer it for 15 minutes with the lid on.

You can make this saline solution and leave it in a sealed container until you need it. You can also use bicarbonate of soda for a gentler solution.

Why Use Saline Solution?

Some studies say that it can help to moisture the dry nasal passages we are trying to treat with this irrigation. It is supposed to also help with inflammation. I usually use salt water to rest my feet if I had a long day, but I did not know it also would work for my nose!

How to Irrigate your Nasal Passages

The basic principle is that you will pour some water or saline solution into one nasal passage and it will come out the other nostril. This happens because the nasal passages connect further up the nose.

The solution going though there will moisturize a dry nose, clean up allergies, help with a stuffy nose if you have a cold, etc. This is great for this winter months, so as not to depend on extra medicine if you only have a cold.

You should do this procedure over the sink because you will need somewhere to flush the liquid that comes out of your nostrils on top of any excess water that can overflow.

Place your head at a 45º angle over the sink, so that one nostril is pointed towards the sink. Make sure not to tilt your head back, as this will cause the solution to come up your throat and you will choke.

The tip of the neti pot, the nozzle of your squirt bottle or syringe, they should not come up your nose more than the tip of a finger. Once you are in there, start pouring the solution into your nostrils by tilting or pushing the instrument.

Remember to breathe through your mouth while you do this. Let the solution drip through your other nostril into the sink. Some of it may come out of your mouth. Try to spit it out instead of swallowing it, but it will not hurt you if you do.

Have you ever tried to irrigate your nasal passage? I find it alleviates my cold symptoms in the most amazing, natural way. Ever since I started treating not only my cold but allergies like this, I’ve have been better than ever.

Will you try these substitutes for a neti pot? Have you ever made your own saline solution? Tell us in the comments below!