Discover the benefits of nasal rinses and how to use them.
A nasal rinse, often referred to as nasal irrigation or nasal wash, rinses and washes away mucus, allergens, and other debris that have collected in your nasal cavities. A nasal rinse contains saline, or saltwater, which reduces mucus membrane inflammation and also re-moisturizes your sinus lining.
If you have a virus or are suffering an allergic reaction, sinuses can get clogged. Clogging can begin to cause a bit of facial pain and pressure, and at times, a sinus infection. A nasal rinse clears your nasal pathways and prevents (further) growth of bacteria.
Benefits of a Nasal Rinse
- Gets rid of mucus and increases its flow through your nasal cavities
- Gets rid of pollen, allergens, and other debris, i.e., dirt/dust particles
- Reduces swollen mucous membranes (sinus linings) which restores mucus flow
- Improves breathing
- Can prevent sinus infections
How to Use Your Nasal Rinse
Create the saline solution by mixing sterile or distilled water with salt (sodium chloride). Your nasal rinse will most likely be prepackaged with a premixed saline packet. If you have to use tap water, boil it first! If you don’t, you risk a sinus infection or, worse, a parasitic amoeba infection that can affect the brain.
Use the nasal spray before an antihistamine or steroid nasal spray, if any were prescribed.
Use distilled or sterile water – never use tap water.
Do not use a nasal rinse on infants.
- Thoroughly wash your hands
- Tilt your head to one side (over a sink or in the shower)
- Place the tip just inside your nose.
- Open your mouth and gently squeeze the bottle into your slightly tilted upper nostril. If you notice solution reaching the back of your throat, tilt your head even more until you find the perfect position
- The solution should escape through your other nostril and fall into the sink (or shower floor)
- Repeat this process for the opposite nostril
- Gently blow your nose to clear out remaining mucus
- Thoroughly clean the nasal rinse bottle after using with warm-hot soapy water (or place it in the dishwasher). Air drying is preferred
If you’d like to get an visual idea of how to use a nasal rinse, the following nasal rinse video will be helpful.