Jala Neti Pots: How They Work And What They Do

learn more about nasal irrigation

Jala neti is the practice of nasal cleansing, used by yogis and in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. Traditionally, a neti pot is a small jug filled with saltwater, poured into the nostril and used to clear the nose for improved breathing. The rinse is made up of a balance of salt that mimics seawater (it’s salty!), but other minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium found in seawater (or mineral salt) can also be added1 .

used to clear the nose of allergens, pollutants and infection

Our noses contain thousands of tiny hairs that trap particles that we inhale, including allergens like grasses and pollens, chemicals that come from air pollution and infective microorganisms like bacteria.

Maintaining healthy nasal and sinus passages is important in protecting us from infection and inflammation. Our nasal passages contain a coating of friendly bacteria that protect us from outside invaders. Steroid sprays can damage these friendly bacteria, reducing our protection and only giving temporary relief. Nasal irrigation using a neti pot is a gentle, effective alternative2.

research shows that using a neti pot is very safe3 and may help:

Sinus problems like sinusitis and sinus headaches. Using a neti pot is shown to help the symptoms of colds with a runny or congested nose4 and is also shown to significantly help episodes of sinusitis5. This makes it a great alternative to using decongestants when you have  a cold.

Hay fever, snoring and rhinitis. Nasal irrigation is shown to help with allergic rhinitis (hayfever) in children6 and adults 7.

Smell and taste problems due to congestion. By improving a long-term blocked nose, taste and smell can be improved by regular use of a neti pot.

how to use a neti pot

  • Buy online. Neti pots are traditionally ceramic, but don’t need to be. Modern neti pots can be bought inexpensively online, along with salts and minerals. Neti salt should be of good quality. Traditionally, ground rock salt is used. Himalayan or Dead Sea salt contain lots of beneficial added trace minerals. 
  • Use sterilised water. Boil 200ml of water and cool before using. Tap water can contain harmful bacteria that can cause infections and keeping your neti pot clean is essential. Add ½  tsp of salt to the water, letting it dissolve completely before use.
  • It takes a little practice! Lean over a sink, with your head at a 45-degree angle and insert the spout into your right nostril. As you gently breathe through your mouth, pour the saline into your nostril and let it run out of your left nostril into the sink. Repeat with the left nostril.
  • Don’t forget to clean your pot. Make sure to regularly sterilise and wash your neti pot to stop it from harbouring bacteria or germs. 
  • Repeat daily until symptoms settle. Neti pot irrigation can be very effective in treating sinus problems. Use daily, but if irritation or nosebleeds occur, it’s important to stop. If symptoms don’t resolve after a month or two, stop. Long term use can cause infection.

A neti pot is a perfect home remedy and can be used for the whole family! 



  1. Bastier PL, Lechot A, Bordenave L, Durand M, de Gabory L..Nasal irrigation: From empiricism to evidence-based medicine. A review . Eur Ann Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Dis. 2015 Nov;132(5):281-5. doi: 10.1016/j.anorl.2015.08.001. Epub 2015 Sep 3. PMID: 26344138
  2. Liu CM, Kohanski MA, Mendiola M, Soldanova K, Dwan MG, Lester R, Nordstrom L, Price LB, Lane AP. Impact of saline irrigation and topical corticosteroids on the postsurgical sinonasal microbiota Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2015 Mar;5(3):185-90. doi: 10.1002/alr.21467. Epub 2014 Dec 29. PMID: 25556553; PMCID: PMC4628778.
  3. Khianey R, Oppenheimer J. Is nasal saline irrigation all it is cracked up to be? Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2012 Jul;109(1):20-8. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2012.04.019. PMID: 22727153.
  4. King D, Mitchell B, Williams CP, Spurling GK. Saline nasal irrigation for acute upper respiratory tract infections Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2015 Apr 20;(4):CD006821. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD006821.pub3. PMID: 25892369.
  5. Wang YH, Ku MS, Sun HL, Lue KH.Efficacy of nasal irrigation in the treatment of acute sinusitis in atopic children  J Microbiol Immunol Infect. 2014 Feb;47(1):63-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jmii.2012.08.018. Epub 2012 Sep 30. PMID: 23034126.
  6. Chen JR, Jin L, Li XY. The effectiveness of nasal saline irrigation (seawater) in treatment of allergic rhinitis in children Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2014 Jul;78(7):1115-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2014.04.026. Epub 2014 May 5. PMID: 24809770.
  7. Lin L, Yan W, Zhao X. [Treatment of allergic rhinitis with normal saline nasal irrigation at different temperature] Zhonghua Er Bi Yan Hou Tou Jing Wai Ke Za Zhi. 2014 Feb;49(2):109-14. Chinese. PMID: 24742508.

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