Problems with my new neti pot... Help!

After seeing all of the glowing reviews here and after a 3-week sinus infection last winter that I don’t want to repeat this year, I just got a neti pot. I used it for the first time on Tuesday, and it wasn’t bad. But yesterday and today, the salty water in my sinuses has burned to the point of making my eyes water. I’m only using 1/4 tsp of salt like the instructions said so I don’t think that’s the problem. But should I try using less?

I have been using pretty warm water to make the salt dissolve more easily. The water feels ok on my finger, but could it be too warm for my nose? Should I try adding cooler water after getting the salt to dissolve?

Other suggestions? I want this to work 'cause I really don’t want another sinus infection!

What about buying the little packs of solution? They’re pretty cheap and very convenient and you know it’s the correct amount. I love my neti pot and should do it more often. I test the water temperature on my wrist. If I can’t really feel it, then I know it’s the right temperature.

Just make sure you don’t ever blow your nose hard after, I did that once and ended up with a horrible ear infection.

You’re using non-iodized salt, right? The iodized stuff will irritate.

Also, consider adjusting the temperature of the water. Is it too hot? Is it too cold? You may have trouble completely dissolving the salt if the water is too cool. Don’t use chlorinated tap water.

I second using the little packets you buy at Walgreens, made specifically for neti pot use.

Also, use it after or while you’re in the shower. Let the steam start to open your sinuses a bit then use it. Makes a huge difference.

Try using your wrist and not a finger for heat. The wrist is more sensitive. I found this out after having kids.

I use shower temp water, and only occasionally have the burning sensation, and it is usually when I don’t mix the salt in well enough. Non-iodized salt is the way to go, and I believe some companies use a mix of salt and bicarb to make it a little gentler.

I also use the packets and I use distilled water that I warm up a bit so it is not cold up in there. I also don’t use the neti pot, I use the squeeze bottle version and like it much better.

Things that will cause burning sensation:

  1. Too much salt
  2. Too little salt
  3. Salt not mixed fully
  4. Iodized or mineralized salt? I’ve never tried these, so I don’t know.
  5. Water too hot
  6. Water too cold
  7. Really, really chemically tap water? I can’t drink our tap water, but it works fine for neti.

I’d also recommend the little packs of mix to start with. I think you actually start with 1/2 package, then move up to a full pack. Once you’ve gotten going and have a feel for it, switch to mixing your own if you’d like. I use pickling salt and bicarb in mine.

An odd “burning” sensation is IME usually salt related. 1/4 tsp per pot seems low to me, but I know some people recommend low-level solutions. I use about 1 tsp per pot, plus a bit of baking soda. I think I worked up to that, though.

Do be sure that it’s mixed really well. I’ve burned my nose on the bottom half of a mix when I didn’t. (I mix enough for two pots plus a bit in a separate container.)

If the water is too hot, I think it feels like “OW HOT HOT HOT”. It doesn’t feel the same to me as a chemical burn feeling. I run mine rather warm, but when I started I tried to get a temp that I could run over my hand & wrist and it felt “body temperature”.

I tried using distilled water, but don’t have any way handy to heat it. Trust me, warm tap water is MUCH MUCH better than cold distilled!

My roomie loves the squeeze bottle. I like the pot better. I use my squeeze occasionally in the shower when I’m in a hurry, but it doesn’t do as good a job.

Am I the only person who actually uses a thermometer?

I make it hot enough to dissolve the salt & let it cool to temperature while I brush my teeth.

I use distilled water, mix in the packet, and put it in the microwave (minus the top). The kit that I bought had instructions on how to only nuke it for a short period at a time to avoid overheating and thus not burn yourself.

In my limited experience, the water needs to be body temperature. If it feels warm, it’s too hot. Body temp water is usually described as feeling tepid.

If you don’t have the packets handy, you can use 1/8 tsp. non iodized salt and 1/8 tsp. baking soda.

I use Sinu Cleanse which may have a different formulation than what you use. But it suggested using 1/2 a packet for beginners.

Thanks for the tips. I do have non-iodized salt. I’ll try adding baking soda and letting the water cool more.

I use these in mine and have never had a problem outside of once or twice when I had a cold.

If you can’t drink it, why would you put it up your nose? Just asking…

Maybe just the taste is nasty.

The water temp should be almost exactly body temp. You should barely feel it if you stick your finger in it. I used water that felt “warm” (not bathtub hot, just pleasantly warm to the touch) and it was agonizing.

We use special neti pot salt, just because it’s so finely ground that it dissolves quickly even in such near-cool water. That’s by no means essential. Your idea of adding cooler water (once the crystals have dissolved ) should work as well though it might be tough to make sure you add the right amount of the right temp water.

I’ve noticed that head angle makes a difference as to how much goes into the sinus cavities versus just flushing the nose area.

If you’re using a neti pot then consider also gargling with hydrogen peroxide. I try to exhale through my nose as I do this to move it up the throat/nasal passage. be sure to gargle with pure water afterward so there is no residue. Also brush the top of the pallet as well as the tongue. A lot of bacteria sits at the top/back area of the mouth and just re-infects the nasal passages.

I was wondering the same thing.

SF tap water is pretty awesome, so I don’t bother with distilled water. I usually use fairly warm water- mostly at the sink but sometimes I’ll just fill up in the shower (WITH WATER). I use the packets, too. They’re a bit pricey but they’re pretty dummy-proof.

All the threads about the neti pot convinced me to get one. I don’t have a problem with sinus infections (only had one in my life but it was a doozy) but I do suffer from constant sinus headaches.

I’ve only used it twice so I can’t say whether or not it has made a difference. I can say though that I think using this thing is one of the strangest feeling things I’ve ever done.

I’m a bit confused. Should I be closing off the ends of my nasal passages the way I do when I’m swimming or breathing through my mouth to avoid a nasty smell?

I tried it both ways. With no block, it seems like the water is going places I really don’t want it to go. With it blocked, it feels like there’s a lot more pressure than there should be.

The desire to sneeze while pouring the water in is kind of unpleasant but not completely off-putting.

I really hope this works. The current sinus headache has been here for 3 days.