Scott Winfield
Written by Scott Winfield
Last Updated on

Reverse osmosis (RO) is a water purification process that removes contaminants from water, making it a safe choice for neti pot use.


In this article, we discuss the general safety of using neti pots, the best types of water to fill them with, how RO purifies water for neti pots, and how to clean your neti pot.

Are Neti Pots Safe?

Neti pot cleansing is an ancient method that has been commonly used for centuries to relieve nasal allergies and congestion.

Are Neti Pots Safe
Man Using a Neti Pot

Neti pots are known to alleviate common cold symptoms and improve the quality of life for people with chronic sinus infections.

In some cases, they can provide temporary relief from seasonal allergies and combat sinus ailment symptoms.

That said, frequent neti pot usage can interfere with the body’s production of protective nasal mucus and cause issues with dry nasal passages. So, while neti pots are generally safe, using them for a prolonged period of time isn’t recommended.

Safe Neti Pot Water

As you’d expect, the water source used in a neti pot significantly impacts the outcome. Generally, water purified by reverse osmosis, spring water, or distilled water is safest for neti pots. But what about tap water?

Using Distilled Water for a Neti Pot

For the vast majority of the American population, tap water delivered to our homes from municipal water sources is perfectly fine for cooking and bathing. However, using tap water in a neti pot can be dangerous, as it may contain minute levels of protozoa, amoeba, and other infectious contaminants.

The human digestive system is equipped to neutralize these contaminants, but you’ll expose yourself to illness if you keep running those contaminants past your sinuses on a regular basis. This is because the upper respiratory system provides a warm, moist environment for these organisms to thrive.

If tap water is the only water source available to fill your neti pot, we highly recommend boiling it and leaving it to cool before using it.

How RO Purifies Water For Neti Pots

Reverse osmosis is a highly effective method for removing contaminants from water. In fact, many RO systems can remove up to 99% of contaminants like chlorine and microorganisms from water. So, how does it work?

RO systems have a semi-permeable membrane with tiny pores that are large enough for water molecules to pass through, but too small to let contaminant particles pass through.

The system applies pressure to water to force it through the membrane, leaving behind contaminant particles. The remaining contaminated water is then flushed out of the system as wastewater, while the clean water, which is almost entirely free of contaminants, can be used to fill your neti pot.

Neti Pot Care

After every use, thoroughly clean your neti pot with hot sterile water and antibacterial soap. If you’ve left your pot in an unsanitary place or if it’s otherwise tarnished, fill it with a weak bleach solution and allow it to sit for thirty minutes before rinsing it with sterile water.

In Closing…

Reverse osmosis water is safe to use in neti pots as the RO process effectively removes most contaminants from water. This makes RO water a good alternative to boiled, distilled, or spring water for neti pots.

Just remember that it’s not a good idea to use a neti pot every day for long periods of time. We also wouldn’t recommend using unfiltered tap water for your neti pot as this could cause potential health issues.

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Scott Winfield
Scott Winfield
My name is Scott Winfield and researching and writing about water filters and other strategies to purify water has become my full time passion in recent years. I'm glad that you found our site and you can look forward to authoritative and well researched content here to help you get the best in water.
    1. Hi Hector, thanks for reading and for your question. Yes, you may boil untreated tap water for this use and that is recommended because of the potential health risk. (See FDA reference here). Yes, RO water is a good choice for nasal irrigation as the RO process is highly effective in removing organisms such as bacteria, protozoa, and viruses. (See CDC reference here) If you are treating your water with an RO system, there will not be a need to boil the water for use in your neti pot.

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