The most frequently asked questions are about the salt or saline solution to be used in the neti pot. We have covered this question before, but let’s try it one more time!
The reason one needs a saline solution is to make the warm (not hot, not cold) water acceptable to the nasal passages without stinging. Plain water will sting! You should therefore use a suitable saline solution.
It is EASY to do. You basically start with 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt and mix it into the warm water in your neti pot. That’s it. If you notice any stinging, generally the question is too LITTLE salt, so try adding a little bit more. Many people mistakenly believe it is the salt that stings, but that is simply not the fact, and it is usually the lack of salt that will cause any reaction at all.
Let’s talk about the salt you should use. We recommend using non-iodized salt. You can get non-iodized table salt at most grocery stores and it should be very inexpensive. We do not recommend using iodized salt because you simply don’t want to add more iodine to your body than you are already getting. Some people recommend sea salt, but we have some concerns about the complex makeup of sea salt of multiple different salts, and point out this has not been investigated, so we avoid it.
You can also use salt that is labeled as neti pot or nasal cleansing salt. This is generally USP grade pure non-iodized salt. USP grade simply means that it has been cleaned and purified to a level beyond what is normally found in table salt, as it is suitable for use in the medical industry if necessary. While it is not necessary to go to this extreme, in our opinion, many people feel more comfortable having the right salt available in a special jar or even in a pre-measured packet.
Some companies mix sodium bicarbonate into the salt to make a “mix” but we do not recommend this, on the basis, once again, that this has not been investigated. Plain non-iodized salt has a history going back thousands of years for use in neti pots, so this is really the simplest and least expensive way to do it.