Dangers of Using Neti Pot Incorrectly

Submitted by Jerry Parker on April 26, 2012

A neti pot is a great tool that can be used to clear out the sinuses. It looks a lot like a small teapot with a narrow spout. Some people also compare it to a genie’s lamp. An important accessory in yoga cleansing rituals, the neti pot is used to flush out bacteria, fungal spores, and pollen from the nasal passages.


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This can relieve allergies as well as sinus pain. There is a typical technique of using the neti pot, and if not used in the intended manner, it can cause various health concerns and physical dangers.

What Happens When You Do Not Use Neti Pot Correctly?

The neti pot can be a really useful tool if used in the correct manner. In fact, it has been used for nasal cleansing since ancient times. In recent times the use of neti pots for nasal cleansing is known to cause some major infections to the body. However this infection is due to contaminated water and is not necessarily associated with the neti pot itself. The danger majorly arises when tap water is used in the neti pot process.

  • There is a rare possibility that tap water could contain the deadly naegleria fowleri amoeba resulting in a deadly brain infection that could lead to in death. This is the biggest neti pot danger as the symptoms of naegleria fowleri may start showing within 7 days of contamination.
  • The most significant neti pot danger for ear and nose use is contamination with dangerous elements and germs.
  • The severest neti pot danger symptoms include fever, headaches, nausea, stiff neck, and vomiting. Some people also experience hallucinations and seizures in the later stages of parasitic infection.
  • Besides this the person may experience loss of balance, confusion, and a complete lack of attention to surroundings as well as people. The neti pot amoeba infection may progress rapidly and may ultimately lead to death, which is an imminent neti pot danger.

Louisiana’s state health department has already issued warnings and advisories against the dangers of using the neti pot improperly. The amoeba can enter the body through the nasal openings or the ear canals and destroy the brain cells. The amoeba can lead to a neurological disease known as primary amoebic meningoencephalitis. This is a disease in which the amoeba destroys the neural tissue, damaging the nervous system irreparably. The amoeba naegleria fowleri thrives in natural water bodies, but may thrive in tap water as well. Chlorination is generally considered effective in killing this amoeba. The amoeba can usually not reach the brain on its own, but when the contaminated water is squirted deep into the nasal passages, it finds the momentum and thrust to reach the brain.

To use the neti pot safely, Louisiana's state health department advises people to use only distilled or sterilized water in their neti pots instead of using regular unfiltered tap water.

Does a Neti Pot Really Work?

Nobody really likes nasal congestion; it is uncomfortable and extremely difficult to cope with. Saline irrigation can help you decongest your nose and sinuses, therefore helping you clear your head. This saline irrigation can be performed with the help of a special tea pot shaped instrument known as a neti pot. Yoga practitioners are known to perform this cleansing technique in order to keep their nasal passages and sinuses clear.

There is a specific technique of performing the cleansing where the neti pot is used to pour the water into the nasal passage. As the water is poured into the nose, its force and volume is able to flush out all the phlegm and congestion from the nose. The force of the water also clears out any other substances that may be irritating the sinus passages. The art lies majorly in exhaling the water out. As you inhale the water, and the nostril is full, water begins to trickle down from the other nostril. This way, you are able to remove all the congestion from the nose and the sinuses.

In the recent years, saline irrigation has become very common. In fact, a study from the University of Wisconsin, suggests that those who use nasal irrigation regularly are less prone to experiencing sinus and other allergic infections. Since the irrigation actually removes germs and allergens from the nasal and sinus passages, it can drastically reduce the chances of getting infections. So for those people wondering ‘does the neti pot work?’ the answer is definitely a ‘yes’.

Can You Avoid Dangers of Neti Pot?

There are some simple steps to avoid dangers of a neti pot. The first, of course, is to learn the right technique of performing this cleansing technique. You should know exactly how much water to use, the amount of force used to inhale the water, and the technique in which the water has to be released from the other nostril. In addition to that, it is important to ensure that you use only the cleanest water. You may boil and sterilize the water before using it in your neti pot, or simply use distilled water for the cleansing process.

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