Reverse osmosis is a water purification process that reduces contaminants in water, making it an excellent choice for neti pot usage.
Do I have to use purified water with my neti pot? Can I use tap water? What is it about reverse osmosis water that makes it an excellent fit for neti pot users? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Reverse osmosis is a filtration process that removes up to 99% of contaminants. The water systems use a multistage method of pulling the water through a semipermeable membrane that filters out debris.
Osmosis is a passive process that occurs in liquids without any energy expenditure in an attempt to equalize concentrations on both sides of a membrane or partition. The membrane acts as a barrier.
An example of osmosis occurs when you place raisins in water. Placing raisins in water causes them to swell as more water moves inside the raisins producing a type of osmosis called endosmosis.
Another example to illustrate osmosis is the reaction of a snail or slug when they cross paths with salt. Salt is deadly for these crustaceans as it pulls moisture out of their bodies through the skin, causing them to wither.
This type of osmosis is called exosmosis, and it draws water out of the organism.
As a passive process, osmosis, both endosmosis and exosmosis, does not require energy. But reverse osmosis systems, like those used in removing contaminants from water, are a bit more complex and need an energy source.
Reverse osmosis machines use pressure to send tap water through several semi-permeable membranes to remove viruses, bacteria, and other common chemical contaminants that can cause substantial illness or injury when administered through a neti pot.
Neti pots debuted in the Western civilization in the early 1970s, but the history of nasal wash goes back more than 5,000 years. Ancient societies in India and South East Asia commonly used the process for treating upper respiratory ailments.
Early ancestors interested in irrigating their sinuses gathered water in their hands before inhaling during this period.
Neti pots have a reputation for providing relief for those suffering from nasal allergies and increasing the body’s ability to fight off the common cold. Other research points to an improved quality of life for people with chronic sinus infections who use neti pots.
Many people report a temporary reduction in seasonal allergies and sinus ailments symptoms when using a neti pot. However, frequent use can interfere with the body’s production of protective nasal mucus and cause issues with dry nasal passages and nosebleeds.
Safe neti pot use is vital to using this ancient treatment method to relieve your cold and sinus symptoms and to help flush out congested sinuses. The water source used in the neti pot has a significant impact on a positive outcome.
For the vast majority of the American population, tap water delivered to our homes from a municipal water system is perfectly safe for drinking, cooking, and bathing.
Depending on the location, tap water may even provide additional beneficial minerals not found in bottled water. Despite being safe for ingestion, using tap water in a neti pot can be dangerous.
Tap water may contain minute levels of protozoa, amoeba, and other infectious agents. The human digestive system is equipped to neutralize these threats before they make us sick.
Still, the delicate tissues in the sinuses and upper respiratory system do not have this protection, and they provide a warm, moist environment for these organisms to thrive.
In a rare case in late 2018, a woman in Seattle, Washington, died due to an infection caused by a brain-eating amoeba present in the tap water used in her neti pot. The amoeba made its way to her upper respiratory tract before entering her bloodstream and, eventually, her brain.
Suppose tap water is the only water source available for your neti pot. In that case, experts suggest bringing the water to a rolling boil for at least five minutes and allowing it to cool to room temperature before using it in a neti pot.
Distilled water is another option for filling a neti pot. Distilled water is purified by boiling until it turns into water vapor which collects in another container as water vapor.
Purifying water this way concentrates debris and other minerals and separates them from the purified water vapor.
Substituting distilled water for drinking water can cause an electrolyte imbalance and other health issues. The distillation process creates demineralized water which does not contain the electrolytes found in drinking water.
Distillation leaves behind impurities like sulfates, viruses, bacteria, and protozoa.
Springwater naturally occurs in areas with thick limestone where large quantities of water collect in underground springs. The bedrock acts as a highly effective natural filter as the water rises to the surface from these underground aquifers.
In addition to the natural filtration provided by the limestone, bottled spring water is filtered and tested to meet FDA standards.
However, unlike distilled or purified water, bottled spring water retains trace minerals and electrolytes. While bottled spring water is usually disinfected, making it safe to drink, the goal of the process is not to sterilize the water.
While using safe water with a neti pot is critical, it is also essential to properly care for the pot itself. You should thoroughly clean your neti pot with hot sterile water and antibacterial soap.
If you feel your neti pot has become contaminated, fill it with a weak bleach solution and allow it to sit for thirty minutes before rinsing with sterile water and air drying.