My Neti Pot Solution to Prevent H1N1

Ever since I've watched the Neti pot episode in the Oprah Winfrey show, I knew the device's purpose for nasal irrigation made sense.

A brief look around on the internet revealed how such a simple device can be so overpriced! And so I quickly thought of improvising one. There are actually plenty of improvisations you can find around the internet ranging from real ceramic teapots to stainless steel kettles even!

Cheap Homemade Neti Pot

You don't need the porcelain or ceramic Neti Pots that are so expensive at around $10 or more. Plastic is also a popular medium and there are plastic "teapots" now marketed as Neti pots. The saline solution that will be used isn't hot water (just tepid), so plastic is safe to use.

Here's MY neti pot and only costs Php40. That's less than $1.

It's the smallest plastic water can I found over at ACE hardware. Yup, it's over at the gardening section where you'll find watering cans for orchids and small potted plants. I had to modify it a bit though.

How to Make an Improvised Neti Pot

  1. Buy the smallest (and usually the cheapest) plastic water can that you can buy such as the one above.
  2. Typically the water can will have a pointy end at the spout, so you need to modify this.
  3. With a sharp cutter, cut off the sharp pointed end. The spout tapers to the end so locate that portion of the long spout whose circumference would still fit the nostril.
  4. After cutting off the unneeded part with the pointed end, create a small beveled edge on the cut. Use a sharp cutter or a razor blade for this. The idea is to round out the edge.
  5. Rub the edge with a sandpaper to smoothen out any rough spots. This makes it comfortable to position the Neti Pot spout into the nostril.

    The photo below shows the newly cut portion already rounded and smooth.

  6. Clean and wash the improvised Neti Pot thoroughly.

Correct Way of Holding the Homemade Neti Pot

There are many sources on the web on how to use neti pots, especially the commercial ones, so I won't discuss the entire process here. This homemade Neti Pot can contain more solution than the commercial neti pots available.

To use this homemade Neti Pot, place the thumb near the base of the spout of the Neti Pot. Wrap the rest of the fingers near the base of the neti pot, with the pinky (or last finger) supporting the bottom of the base as shown below.

This manner of holding the homemade Neti Pot gives you better control in letting the saline solution flow slowly into your nostril. Do not hold this homemade neti pot by its handle. It will feel a bit awkward as you tilt your head and the saline solution may gush out unexpectedly.

Saline Solution for the Neti Pot

The homemade Neti Pot shown above could easily contain 5 or more cups of saline water. But you don't need that much.
  1. Prepare 2 to 3 cups of tepid distilled water. The closest that you can have the water to your body temperature, the better. An alternative to distilled water is boiled water that has been cooled down.
  2. Prepare 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of uniodized salt.
  3. Mix both water and salt in a tall glass.
  4. Slowly pour the saline solution into the Neti Pot.

H1N1 or Swine Flu Prevention

Originally, I had used it for my allergies which I get occasionally. Also, since I swim, chlorine water sometimes irritate my sinuses and I get nasal congestion. Will the practice of using the Neti pot prevent H1N1 (Swine flu)?

Maybe. The University of Kansas Hospital in a recent study advises the regular cleaning of the mouth and nose as these are the entry points for H1N1 infection. And so the Neti pot may help prevent it.

Go ahead, post your comment below!

arGlene said...

Hi there Sir! Thanks for sharing this but I don't think I can do the nasal irrigation Sir BD. I have acute sinusitis and allergic rhinitis. I'm used to doing the steaming process- inhaling boiled water. It's helping me ever since. I won't resort to medication, I really hate tablets!

Blackdove said...

Hi Lene. I hope I didn't give you the impression that you'd need medicine for this. It's just warm saline solution - no tablets to take.

Aileen said...

hi! i stumbled upon your blog when i was googling for up los banos because my son passed the upcat and got accepted at uplb.
very clever! your own netti pot. we have been users of netti pot for two years now and i highly recommend it. my mom recommended it to me after watching oprah too. i asked my sister to buy it for me in the states and we saved a lot on medicine bills.
Lene, USE THE NETTI POT! my son had acute sinutis and allergic rhinitis and now he is free of it because of the netti pot. At the first sign of the symptoms, we make him use netti pot 3-4times a day, and believe me, after 2 days of use, the sinus clears. we also use it at the start of the common cold symptom and more often than not, the cold disappears after a day or two (of course together with a megadose of vit c, echinacea and sometmes dimetapp ;) )
I enjoy reading your blog :)

Blackdove said...

Thanx Aileen, and congratulations to your son for passing. The effect of Neti pot usage for your son's rhinitis is great news!

Anonymous said...

hi blackdove,

great advice/pics/instructions!

where do you get your un-iodized salt? at healthy options, they only had celtic sea salt, which I understand is not treated with iodine. but i am not sure if this is ok for sinus irrigation.


Blackdove said...

Hi Sebastian,
Thanx. I use sea salt and yes, it's un-iodized. I got it as a gift from a relative in La Union. I'm was told that they get this from a seaside marketplace. I have no idea how much it is, although I'm guessing it's very cheap. So maybe you have better luck with seaside markets.

Last year, we didn't have any, and so I used the regular iodized supermarket kind. Other than a slight sting in the sinus, I've not felt a difference. So, I think they're equally effective. Good luck!

Anonymous said...


thanks! i may just try those seaside markets.

have you ever read about the "flip-turn sinus flush"? this gentleman invented it as an improvement over the regular neti pot procedure. it supposedly is more thorough in that it allows the saline to reach the upper/frontal sinuses which are rarely reached by sprays and neti pots. no additional equipment or solution. just more head movememnt (tipping back, bending over, etc.) here is the site: