Doing a sinus wash using a Neti Pot is recommended as part of your personal hygiene regimen. Daily sinus irrigation is great (like brushing your teeth), but not necessary. Even a couple of times a week will make a difference in keeping your sinus passages healthy and your whole head feeling better!
What are the Benefits of Doing a Sinus Wash?
Sinus infections are often caused by bacteria, fungus, or viruses. Regular sinus washes help reduce the risk of these infections because they clean out the sinus passages and sinus cavity and remove any bacteria or fungus that are hiding in there.
Some of the well-known benefits of doing a sinus wash are clearer nasal passage, less frequent colds, fewer allergy symptoms, and less dryness in the nose. Routinely flushing your nasal passages with a saline solution relieves symptoms associated with colds and flu, sinusitis, nasal dryness, allergies, and other sinus irritations. It has also been reported to reduce swelling of the nasal membranes, lighten dark circles under the eyes, and freshen your breath. Sinus cleansing is not a new practice by any means as nasal washing has been part of the yoga tradition for more than 5,000 years!
How Do You Use a Neti Pot for a Sinus Wash?
There are several devices on the market that are sold to enable you to wash out the sinus passages. My favorite, and the one I use and recommend, is a Ceramic Neti Pot. The Neti Pot is inexpensive and easy to use, especially if you stay relaxed. People sometimes feel nervous because pouring water into the nose is counterintuitive, but you really will get used to it and even look forward to the process, and how clean and open your head will feel afterward!
Steps to Using the Neti Pot:
Step #1 Open a packet of saline and pour it into your Neti Pot. Packets of saline should come with the device. If not you can buy them here.
Step #2 Pour your chosen hydrosol and some distilled water directly into the Neti Pot. I recommend approximately 1 part hydrosol to 2 parts distilled water, but hydrosols are so safe you can fudge the amount without compromising safety. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution using a new aromatic for the first time, until you see your body’s reaction to it.
Step #3 Stir the saline, hydrosol, distilled water mixture together.
Step #4 Lean forward over the sink with your head tilted sideways placing the spout of the Neti Pot in the upper nostril. Breathing through your open mouth, gently pour the saltwater solution into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril, like the woman in the image below.
Tip: The more you keep your head down, the less chance any liquid will go down your throat. Repeat on the other side.
Another Tip: I know lots of people who use the Neti Pot while taking their shower!
Here is a Youtube video by the Mayo Clinic that teaches the benefits of doing a sinus wash and gives a little demonstration. In the video, the woman is using a Pressure Rinse Nasal device which some people prefer. It’s shaped very differently than a Neti Pot and relies on pressure instead of gravity, but the concept of irrigating the sinus cavity is the same.
What are the Benefits of Adding Hydrosol to a Sinus Wash?
A hydrosol is aromatic water that results from steam distilling plant material. The best hydrosols are not “by-products” of distillation but are produced as the primary product from an artisan distiller whose objective is the production of gorgeous aromatic water known as hydrosol or hydrolats.
In addition to using a saline solution, adding organic hydrosols to your sinus wash will increase the therapeutic value of this cleansing practice. It is crucial you use only the freshest hydrosols from a supplier you really trust. Hydrosols can become contaminated if they are old or not stored properly. And for Heaven’s sake, NEVER use essential oils in the Neti Pot! They are far too concentrated to use directly on delicate mucous membranes. You only have to try it once to understand how truly uncomfortably it will be. Your nasal passages will burn like fire and your eyes will water. Listen to your body.
Each hydrosol has its own unique set of therapeutic benefits as well as being extremely gentle and nourishing for the body. Adding them to your sinus wash will enhance the experience exponentially.
Which Hydrosols Can I Use in a Neti Pot?
We are fortunate to have so many wonderful organic aromatic waters to choose from in today’s market. My favorites to use for a sinus wash are:
- Lavender: A classic. Calming, soothing, nourishing.
- German Chamomile: Helps with infection and inflammation.
- Myrrh and/or Frankincense: Calming, anti-inflammatory, wound healing
- Cornflower: Combine with Lavender for nourishing and cleansing wounds.
- Sweetgrass: Gentle, nourishing, balancing
- Yarrow: Antibacterial, antiseptic, helps stop bleeding
- Rose: Cooling, nourishing, relaxing, uplifting
Where Can I Purchase Good Quality Hydrosols?
Personally, I buy my hydrosols from NaturesGift.com since I know the distiller where the owner, Marge Clark, purchases them. I am also familiar with this company’s storage practices and know that their standards are high. I have also used this Neroli Hydrosol and was happy with the product.
Want to Learn More About Hydrosols?
- What is a Hydrosol?
- 18 Practical and Creative Ways to Use Hydrosols
- 6 Guidelines for Best Hydrosol Storage
- Lavender Hydrosol for a Burned Mouth
- AWP 048: Tea Tree Hydrosol Therapeutic Benefits and Practical Uses
- AWP: 044 Rose Hydrosol Benefits and Uses
- AWP: 040 20 Ways to Use Lavender Hydrosol
- AWP: 015 What are Hydrosols? Five Ways They Can Help with Allergy Relief
- Hydrosols for Health: A comprehensive, online course giving you a step-by-step guide to understanding and using healing waters called hydrosols.
Books on Hydrosols from Amazon
- Understanding Hydrolats: The Specific Hydrosols for Aromatherapy by Len and Shirley Price
- Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy by Suzanne Catty
- 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols by Jeanne Rose
Post originally written in 2016, updated 2022