Normally, the nasal and sinus cavities are able to clear mucus on their own. Sometimes, swelling of the nose from allergy, irritation, or infection can prevent this self-cleaning. Irrigation can be used to flush, or wash out the nose and sinuses until the mucosal lining recovers and can function normally again. Nasal irrigation cleans the passages of your nose, helping to wash away trapped mucus or irritating particles. It can also help to stimulate cilia movement and healthy secretions while keeping the nasal mucosa moist.


We recommend using a rinse bottle or neti pot for irrigation. You can buy commercially prepared sachets containing a salt and baking powder mix (see image above). Alternatively a saline solution can be made by adding 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of rock or sea salt to the bottle. Use water that is tepid, or at room temperature for your irrigation.


If using a rinse bottle, irrigate each nostril with by placing the tip of the bottle up against your nostril and squeezing the bottle gently. One squeeze will empty about half the bottle. If you are using a neti pot or other type of container, use 240ml of solution. Lean forward over a sink while you are irrigating so that the solution can drip out of your nose.


It is important that you let the bottle or container dry after each use.

You should clean your irrigation device with soap and water daily so that bacteria are not reintroduced with each irrigation. Using two containers is optimal are one can be cleaned while the other is in use. You may use a weak solution of Milton’s fluid to sterilize the bottle once a week. Rinse thoroughly and allow the device to completely air dry before using it again.

Helpful tips:

  • Breathe through your mouth or hold your breath while irrigating
  • Stop irrigating if you need to sneeze or cough
  • Do not speak or swallow while irrigating. This will prevent changes in ear/nose pressure, which can cause infectious material or irrigation solution to be drain into the middle ear/sinuses.
  1. Barham HP, Harvey RJ. Distribution of Topical Therapies in CRSwNP. International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology. 2016.
  2. Barham HP, Harvey RJ. Distribution of Topical Therapies in CRSsNP. International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology. 2016.
  3. Barham HP, et.al. Frontal sinus surgery and sinus distribution of nasal irrigation. International Forum of Allergy and Rhinology. 2016.

Relevant Publications

Nasal saline irrigation: Therapeutic or homeopathic