Neti Pot Safety

by member Brandi Monson

Neti pots have been in the news recently for causing two deaths in Louisiana. I would note that the neti pots were not the actual offending cause, the tap water was. (hello! don’t drink the stuff!!) So health authorities are stressing the use of sterilized water (distilled or boiled) in your neti pot as a precaution.

Nasal Irrigation


I use a neti pot occasionally as do several of our club members. I thought that it would be a good refresher to go over proper use and care of the neti pot.  You can read a good written instructional here or view a video here.
Most of the instructions for usage I could find on the internet suggest tap water however, it was unsafe tap water that led to the infection of these two individuals in Louisiana with naegleria fowleri. I use RO filtered water in my neti pot. The pores in a reverse osmosis membrane are only approximately 0.0005 micron in size (bacteria are 0.2 to 1 micron & viruses are 0.02 to 0.4 microns).  Otherwise, I would use distilled water, or boiled tap water.

This nasty little critter can be found in fresh water lakes, swimming pools and soil.  It is not found in sea water however, thus the importance of using salt in your neti solution.  N. fowleri invades the body of the host usually through the nasal passages and attacks the nervous system. Thus the sensational name of  “the brain-eating amoeba”. Death is certain once infected, with a mortality rate of 98%. Yikes!

To clean your neti pot, you should hand wash in warm soapy water, or if you have a porcelain pot you can wash it in the dishwasher. And let it air dry before using again. It’s important that you don’t share your neti pot. At least sterilize it if you have had to share yours.

So be safe when irrigating your sinuses!


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