How To Use A Neti Pot

1. Enter Mother’s Market. Spend upwards of twenty minutes aimlessly walking around the store, feigning interest in various items while, in reality, you are too shy to ask the cute dude with dreads about the Neti Pot.

2. Locate a very tall Swedish man with a skinny plumber’s butt and ask for assistance locating the Neti Pots. Loudly knock over an organic tissue box display with your stroller.

3. Find and purchase Neti Pot.

4. Return home. Sit on couch. Take Neti Pot box out of the shopping bag.

5. Stare at Neti Pot box.

6. Repeat #5 several times.

7. Make dinner.

8. Finish dinner. Sit on couch.

9. Repeat #5.

10. Place Neti Pot box on the couch next to you, barely touching your leg. Pray that the physical contact alone will unleash the magical healing powers of the Neti Pot.

11. Realize magical Neti Pot diffusion isn’t happening. Decide to open the box.

12. While opening the box, notice the term “nasal douching” written on the side. Gag forcefully. Repeat #5.

13. Quickly get over your fears when your sinus cavities remind you that YOU WILL DIE IF YOU DON’T DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE MUCUS.

14. Prepare Neti Pot with the warm water and salt. (1/4 teaspoon to 8 ounces water is the recommended amount. I used a little bit less, thanks to your comments.)

15. Read the directions 5,000 times and obsessively worry that your head won’t be tilted properly.

16. Lean over the sink, tilt head and stick the Neti spout into your right nostril, creating a “seal”.

17. Pour water into your right nostril. See nothing coming out the other side. Wonder where the water is going. Tilt head upwards to look in the mirror. Salt water now gushes down your throat. Choke. Scream, “I’M DROWNING! HELP MEEEE!”

18. Realize you are, in fact, NOT drowning. Collect yourself.

19. Try again, this time tilting your head properly. The saltwater flows directly out the other nostril! You are amazed! This is the coolest party trick ever!

20. Feel equally happy/horrified about the expelled contents of your nose.

I’m here to tell you – don’t be scared of the Neti Pot! There is definitely a little bit of a learning curve when it comes to the tilt of your head (not tilting downwards enough can cause the saltwater to drain in your throat), but once you have that down, it’s really easy. I’m definitely a fan. Now, if I only had bought one a week ago, I probably wouldn’t be dealing with my newly-diagnosed sinus infection of mammoth proportions. Oh well, at least I’ll know next time.

  • jonb

    July 2, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    what..no pictures? …I mistakenly googled Neti Pot which led me to a YouTube instructional video…

    should make for an awesome party trick!

  • sizzle

    July 2, 2008 at 2:54 pm


    I will never recover from hearing that.

  • What Liz Said

    July 2, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Oh my gosh… I love that thing. It saved me during allergy season.

  • serror

    July 2, 2008 at 3:03 pm

    Amazing, no? I prefer NeilMed which requires less tilting and refers to it as “nasal lavage”


    It is a must for me and allergy season, but helps a lot with colds!

  • Jora

    July 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    I was hoping for a video tutorial!

  • Kathy

    July 2, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    That instructional video…. there are just no words. And now I need one. Just for entertainment purposes.

  • slynnro

    July 2, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I wish they made something like that for ears. Because Aaron? Has a wax problem.

  • Heather

    July 2, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    I tried the neti pot once. All it did was make me feel, for a week, like I did a cannonball into the pool without plugging my nose first.

  • laura

    July 2, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    we love our neti pot here under the Big Top!

  • Amanda

    July 2, 2008 at 4:26 pm

    Yeah, I’m thinking we need some pictures to demonstrate it’s effectiveness.

    I’ve heard they’re awesome and although I’ve never tried it myself (because certainly I will be the one random person who drowns via neti pot), I recommend them to everyone.

  • Lissa

    July 2, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who also kept staring at the box!
    I had the same experience with the neti pot! I actually had my friend on speaker phone while I was doing the the head tilt thing just in case I drowned. I did feel so much better afterwards though, but really who thinks of these things? THAT’S WHAT I WANT TO KNOW!

  • bethany

    July 2, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    Ha….hahahahaha! I watched a video on nasal douching, erm…I mean the “neti pot” on you tube and if was fracking hilarious! I don’t know how much legitimacy I can give the thing after watching the video! But i’m glad you feel better:)

  • Jenifer

    July 2, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    We have major sinus issues in my house. We went straight past the manual system and went high tech.


    Okay, not that high tech since it’s just a water pik with a special attachment but it’s much faster than the ‘Pot and easy to sanitize with white vinegar. (I’ve paid attention to the Whoorl key terms.)

    I highly recommend it.

    PS…don’t turn your head upside down for about an hour after irrigating. Yeah, learned that one the hard way.

  • Mrs. Schmitty

    July 2, 2008 at 7:06 pm

    I was completely horrified when I heard of the Neti Pot, but it’s awesome, isn’t it? Clear ya right out!

  • Michelle

    July 2, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Whoorl – You are blazing the trail for chicken shits like myself…the neti pot scares me to be honest. Do you think D. would video you doing the “nasal douching” by chance? Just curious….

  • 180/360

    July 2, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    I twittered you a few months back during your last sinus infection that you should try a neti pot.

    I love mine! Once you get the hang of it, it’s really not so bad. I especially like using it before/after flying. I liked it so much I bought them for all of my family and friends.

    Be sure not to put in extra salt (OUCH) and always use warm water. Cold will give you a nasty brain freeze. I swear it helps keep me and my sinuses healthier.

  • Loralee

    July 2, 2008 at 8:05 pm

    I am thrilled to know that this is actually out there. As an opera singer, mucous is a HUGE problem. You just cannot have it or it makes production of sound difficult, and this kind of irrigation is a singers secret (Along with zinc lozenges). I used to use an extra large ear syringe filled with lukewarm salt water but this thing looks much simpler.

  • Kaili

    July 2, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    Interesting….I may try it next time my nasal needs douching! YIPES!

  • barbara

    July 2, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    My favorite part is afterwards. People say you get your chi revved or something, but I am pretty sure the surge of energy is that primal “I didn’t drown!” response.

    and also? For about fifteen minutes post-neti, you may have sudden, inexplicable, water-tricking-from-nostril syndrome.

  • Abi

    July 2, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    I’m still sticking to my guns that the NeilMed Sinus Rinse is a better, easier, less weirdy (weirdy?) way to go. But the neti pot does work — I did use one for years before switching to NeilMed.

    It IS quite a marvel what can come out of your nose. In fact, my friend just recently pulled a marble out of her daughter’s nose!

  • angie

    July 3, 2008 at 4:04 am

    I tell you, I learn something new every day! I couldn’t watch that whole video-ewww. But to hear it from your mouth? Well that means something. Thank you, whoorl.

  • tracey

    July 3, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Shuddering… The Neti Pot is one of those things, like a pap smear, that I’ve always said are great things! Awesome inventions!! Yay… Until the thought of having to do it myself (well, not the pap smear MYself, but you know what I mean) and then I get all weirded out.

    Glad you figured it out!

  • tricia

    July 3, 2008 at 6:42 am

    yeah, i love the neti! and my dr. says the research shows it’s just as effective as antibiotics for minor sinus infections.

  • katia

    July 3, 2008 at 7:02 am

    I need Neti. I’m on cold #2 in 2 weeks and I’m dyyyyyying.

  • Olivia

    July 3, 2008 at 7:06 am

    slynnro: there is something like that for ears. Check out Murine Earigate Ear Cleansing System and similar products.

  • merrymishaps

    July 3, 2008 at 7:22 am

    I have picked up the Neti Pot and NeilMed boxes in the drugstore many times. I have sinus problems during allergy season and I KNOW it will be good for me.

    I’m just a bit scared of it. I’ve tried saline rinses and it doesn’t work well, and this is a lot more water!

    I will just have to give it a shot one of these days. Hearing your step-by-step makes me a little less frightened!

  • andrea

    July 3, 2008 at 8:42 am

    I’m deeply terrified of the neti pot although I’ve heard great things about them. And I am definitely one who could benefit from them but dear lord, I have to get over the fear. Thanks for making it a little less scary for me.

  • Allison

    July 3, 2008 at 8:51 am

    I’ve heard you can accomplish the same results by using a nasal aspirator (you know? The Baby Booger Sucker) in reverse. You suck up some warm salt water and then squeeze the ball part to shoot the water into your nose. (I guess I’d be sure to buy a new one and not use the one you use for Wito’s booger sucking…)

    I’ve been too scared to even try that, so I’m amazed you tried the Neti Pot – that’s MUCH scarier!!

  • Diane

    July 3, 2008 at 9:24 am

    So glad you tried it and now know the awesomeness of the neti. You’re right…once you get the angle down, it’s smooth sailing!

  • metalia

    July 3, 2008 at 9:40 am

    The phrase “nasal douching” is making me giggle UNCONTROLLABLY. I don’t think that speaks too favorably of my maturity level.

  • ali

    July 3, 2008 at 9:59 am

    um…i’m scared of your neti pot.
    i may possibly have nightmares.

  • Chiada

    July 3, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    Ooh, I love the Neti pot! I think my husband loves his Neti pot more than he loves me! But, considering his allergy problems, that could be a good thing. He’s the type that, when he sneezes, he sneezes at least a dozen times. And they are loud, back-wrenching sneezes that ensue the moment his eyes flutter open in the morning. Then he staggers out of bed to find a rag (yuck! ew! what’s with men?!?) to blow his nose into after having sneezed a dozen times.

    However. Since using the Neti pot for the last two months, his allergies have decreased tremendously! Now he rarely staggers out of bed in a sneezing fit! It’s lovely, I tell ya, to not have to be forcefully waken to the sound of violent sneezing.

    Except then he constantly leaves his Neti pot and glass of dissolved salt water next to the kitchen sink, which really really drives me crazy.

    Oh well.

  • SK

    July 3, 2008 at 12:36 pm

    Where was this little guy when I was pregnant??? I suffered from multi-sinus infections and suffered dearly from not being able to take my usual pleatherful of cold meds. I had to irrigate the old fashion way with a bowl, saline solution and letting the water exit out my mouth! I need to get me one of these bad boys. I also would spend many times in a hot steamy bathroom depleting my hot water supply in conjunction with the salt water. I saw an episode of Grey’s Anatomy where Izzie had to do something similar to a patient but it was called “nasal lavage.” I must try this wonderful neti pot you speak of.

  • emma

    July 3, 2008 at 9:01 pm

    Yeah, I love mine but it definitely took me a few tries to get the angle of my head right.

  • gorillabuns

    July 4, 2008 at 11:40 am

    While I need to use one, I just can’t bring myself to use one.

  • Kat

    July 5, 2008 at 8:11 am

    OMG – I did the same thing when we got ours. When hubby used it the water came out right away, mine didn’t so I started to freak out wondering where it went! Thankfully mine did not use the erm douching!!

  • Sarah

    July 5, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    Yay! My husband loves the neti pot.

  • Mel

    July 5, 2008 at 4:06 pm

    Go you! I love mine. :)

  • motherofbun

    July 6, 2008 at 2:34 pm

    Have got one too.

    My mom thought it was a teapot once and tried to make herself some green tea in the microwave with mine. She almost gagged when I told her (“Um mom, that’s the part I shove up my nose…”)

  • artemisia

    July 7, 2008 at 10:03 am

    This made me laugh out loud (and get caught not-working at work!).

    I also use the NeilMed Sinus Rinse thing and it is a life-saver during allergy season. Gross, too. I was sooooo terrified the first time I tried it, but now happy wash snot out of my head regularly.

    This is lovely, isn’t it?

  • Danielle

    July 7, 2008 at 10:34 am

    really? don’t be sceered? because I’m terrified…. but I will keep you and all of your braveness in mind should I need to douche my nose….


  • red lotus mama

    July 7, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I am currently suffering from a horrid head cold and was told to pick a lovely “nasal douche” up. My head is swimming from the congestion. I am really nervous, but your post has given me a bit of confidence.

  • Aimee Greeblemonkey

    July 7, 2008 at 3:35 pm

    21. Go buy a NeilMed Sinus Rinse kit and forgo the yoga and the mess.

    (sorry, you knew I couldn’t resist!!!) ;))))

  • Filtering Life

    July 8, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I am dying laughing. Our very own “nasal douche” sits proudly in our bathroom cabinet. My husband, Captain Congestion, finally got the nerve to use it and was ADDICTED! He tried to convince me to use it for “the fun of it” in which I promptly declined. The whole thought of it makes me queasy but I hear nothing but good things. I am assuming you felt sweet sweet relief? Your description is priceless.

  • victoria winters

    July 8, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Oy. Sounds brutal! I’m visiting from Quarter Life Crisis – stop by my neck of the woods sometime! :)

  • Molly

    July 9, 2008 at 8:36 am

    this is so true, especially if you are leaning over–“and also? For about fifteen minutes post-neti, you may have sudden, inexplicable, water-tricking-from-nostril syndrome.”

    Another trick is to always use warm water. Too cool will make you feel like you’re drowning in a pool.

  • Valerie

    July 9, 2008 at 5:25 pm

    Neti pots are amazing! I used one for the first time last year and I love it. It’s especially helpful when you’re pregnant and your doctor wants you to wait your head cold out a couple days before allowing you to take any medicine.


  • wishcake

    July 9, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Wow, so…remind me never to watch that Neti Pot instructional video ever again. That woman is like a robot. With a man’s haircut. Unfortunate, really.

    Anyway, you’re a brave soul. I would never, ever be able to get past step #12 without throwing up in my hand.

  • moosh in indy.

    July 10, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I have nasally douched. And I felt better. Aside from admitting I had douched my nasal cavities.

  • Kristen

    July 13, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    I heart nety-ing. Near drowning aside.

  • Stacie

    July 14, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Aaaaaggghhhhhhh! I can’t believe it comes out THE OTHER NOSTRIL!!! This has deterred me from trying the fearful neti-pot so far. My boyfriend has one and assures me it is not bad at all. I can touch my eyeballs so why can’t I get over this fear?

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