Introduction: How to Clean Your Sinuses

About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building out…

You can clean your sinuses really effectively just using sterilized warm water, salt, and something called a Neti Pot. I have done it a few times now and I have to say that it really works and feels good.

Many people suffer from some kind of nasal irritation, be it mucus, allergies, an infection, sinus pain or even snoring. While a doctor may prescribe a steroid spray that costs a ton of money and never seems to work, there is a simpler and much more effective way to help your nose and nasal cavity. It's the ancient practice of nasal irrigation - The Neti Pot!

This is not an ad, it just happens to sound like one because I am excited about pouring salt water through my nose.

Step 1: Bennefits and Supplies

Using a Neti Pot to clean your nose seems to have all different kinds of effects on people. I felt clean, open and free of mucus after I did it, but since I didn't really have any sever allergies or irritations to begin with I can't report on the validity of those kinds of results.

(I used it because who doesn't want to pour water through their nose and see what comes out???)

The Neti Pot is reported to have many benefits:

  • Removes mucus and pollution of the nasal passages and sinuses
  • Helps to prevent respiratory tract diseases
  • Daily use relieves allergies, colds and sinusitis
  • Cooling and soothing to the mind
  • Beneficial in the treatment of headaches and migraines
  • Alleviates anxiety, anger and depression
  • Removes drowsiness, making the head and sense organs feel light.

To use a Neti Pot all you need is:

  • The Neti Pot itself (You can get one for about 10 dollars at a drug or natural foods store. If you don't want to buy one look around the house because chances are, you already have something lying around that is perfect for sticking up your nose. Try a children's sippy cup or even a watering can with a narrow spout. Do you make gravy on Thanksgiving? The Neti Pot sure looks a lot like a fat drippings separator!)
  • Warm sterilized water
  • Non-iodized salt

Step 2: Prepare the Neti Pot

Making the Neti Pot solution, which is really just saline/salt water couldn't be much easier.

Put a cup or two of sterilized water into a pot and warm it up on the stove. You can start with distilled water from the store, or purified water from a test reliable source.

Once the water is warm, pour it into the Netti Pot and then grab your salt. Take about half a teaspoon of salt and put it into your water mixture. Stir it well.

Now you are ready to proceed. Find a sink, some privacy and read on.

Step 3: Insert the Neti Pot

Insert the Netti Pot into one of your nostrils.

It's not brain surgery, but it does feel a little funny at first.

Tilt your head to the side, and down elevating the nostril with the Neti Pot in it and lowering the empty one.

Once you feel like you have a good angle for the water to pour through one nostril and out of the other, slowly begin to pour the salt water from the Neti Pot into your upper nostril.

Water will begin to fill your upper nostril, flow into your sinuses, and then work it's way out your empty nostril in a steady flow.

Step 4: Pour Saline Through Your Sinus Cavity

Keep pouring water for about 10 seconds or so until you have got a good flow going and you feel the whole flow of the water going through your sinuses. Remember to breathe through your mouth - you won't choke.

The strange sensation may make you want to cough at first, but just stay with it, it becomes less awkward after the first second or two. Once you have done it once or twice it really is pretty easy and actually feels good!

As you come to the end, stop pouring the water through your sinuses and slowly bring your head upright again after all the water has drained out. Give some quick blows through your nose to clear things out and check out what's in the sink below. The first time I did this some big stuff came out, after that, I really have to much "nasal debris".

Take a second to compose yourself, refill your Neti Pot if you are running low on saline, and then switch nostrils and repeat the process. When you've finished pouring in the second nostril, blow air out through your nose in a few quick short breaths to clear out any water. You can also put your head down towards the ground to drain out any remaining water.

This is a video of me doing it for the first time ever - so I am a little surprised as to how it feels to pour water through my sinuses.

I don't think that it's possible to overdose on Neti Potting, so do it as often as you like. I know lots of people that do this as a preventative activity every day.

Enjoy your clean sinuses!