You've Been Using A Neti Pot Wrong This Whole Time

If you've ever suffered stuffiness from allergies or a cold, you might have a neti pot, or you might have contemplated getting one of the teapot-shaped nasal irrigation systems. A 2002 study in The Journal of Family Practice showed that using a sinus rinse regularly can improve symptoms and quality of life for people who deal with allergies and sinus issues. Clifford Bassett, MD, a board-certified allergist and author of The New Allergy Solution, told Real Simple, "Some of my rhinitis and sinusitis patients (non-allergic and allergic both) have genuinely benefited from nasal irrigation used in conjunction with other therapies when allergies, colds, or sinus conditions are present."

A neti pot can be a great tool because they are drug-free solutions that you can combine with over-the-counter or prescriptions to get relief. They can feel like lifesavers when it comes to clearing out a stuffy nose, but you have to be careful about how you use and care for your neti pot to avoid some potentially serious health problems (via Self).

Here's the biggest mistake people make using a net pot

The biggest mistake people make when using a neti pot is failing to use the correct water to irrigate their nasal passages (via Real Simple). "First and foremost, all water going into your nose should be distilled, sterile, or boiled tap water that has been cooled. You can also use water filtered with filters labeled 'NSF 53,' 'NSF 58,' or 'absolute pore size of 1 micron or smaller,'" Dr. Bassett explained to the publication. Self recommended if you used boiled water, ensure it boils for three to five minutes and allow it to cool. Failing to use the proper water could result in severe infections and death, so this is one of the most critical aspects of nasal irrigation.

Another common mistake is failing to clean your neti pot. After each use, wash it with mild soap and warm water and let it air dry so that it's ready the next time you need to use it. If you take the proper precautions, using a sinus irrigation system can help rinse out pollen and other irritants and clear your nasal passages of excess mucus, improving your quality of life. If you're unsure, ask your doctor about using a neti pot.