Sinus Rinsing Devices

August 13, 2023


I am a judgment broker that writes often. For some people, sinus rinsing is very important. Some people recovering from sinus surgery or having very deep sinus congestion, might rinse their sinuses up to ten times a day, however rinsing that often has certain risks, including nosebleeds and depleting your electrolytes.

Most people should limit themselves to no more than three sinus rinses a day, unless your doctor says you can/should do it more often. If you have deep upper nasal congestion, be patient, because it can take several days for the full benefit of daily sinus rinsing to be realized. If you have LPR, it it best to wait till you digested all your food because rinsing your nose will not help much if your stomach is still making mucus rise into your sinus area. With sinuses, it is best to rinse hours before you sleep, of course LPR patients should eat early in the day, long before rinsing their sinuses.

Water showers

Some people use unusual methods to clean their sinuses. I even heard of one guy that stands in a warm shower, and lets the water go up his nose until he gags and vomits. That does not sound fun or healthy to me, so I will never try that. Also, shower water is not clean enough; distilled, very well-filtered, or bottled pure water is mandatory to help prevent infections. However, a warm shower before and/or after a sinus rinsing session is good, because the warm moist water vapor helps loosen things up; and is a great place to drain, after a sinus rinsing session.

I have tried the four most popular basic and cheap types of sinus rinsing devices, discussed in this article. Although I have not tried those aerosol can type of sinus irrigation products, I am sure they work fine; although for daily use, they are probably too expensive for most people.

Some people use more than one type of device for their sinus rinsing sessions. Some people partially block one of their nostrils, while they gently sniff just a little of the water; to help the water reach deeper, and clean the upper parts on their sinuses better, to release more junk.

The closed NetiPot devices are teapot-looking water storage pots having a lid, so they can close and seal. These are passive devices, where gravity does all the work. They are cheap, and are usually made of plastic. Because they have a screw top that seals, you can use pure water with convenient prepackaged salt mixture packets. You simply microwave the water in the NetiPot for about 30 seconds, then test that it is warm, not hot. Then, add the salt mixture, close the device, and shake/swirl it a little, to mix the salt in. To use the device, you hold the spout up to one nostril, and with gravity just let water run down the other nostril. NetiPots are the gentlest type of nose rinse devices, so they are good when you have to rinse more than once, to loosen and remove a lot of blockage. If all the water keeps coming out of your mouth every day, instead of your other nostril after one week, your sinuses might be blocked so please see a competent ENT doctor.

The open NetiPot devices are similar to the closed NetiPot devices, except they look like a gravy ladle-boat. They cannot seal at the top, which means if you mix in a salt mixture, a spoon will be required; or the salt needs to be mixed in the water, before pouring the water into an open-style NetiPot.

The squeeze bottle types of nasal rinse devices are very cheap, and last about three months. NeilMed usually includes a few of their brand of salt packets, when you buy their brand of squeeze bottle. Squeeze bottles have the advantage of being “active”, meaning you control the water flow by how hard you squeeze the bottle. Easy does it, however sometimes a bit of extra power is handy to release more junk. Just like the closed NetiPot devices, they have a screw-top and can be sealed, to make mixing easy. You might have to press a squeeze bottle a bit harder against your nostrils, than with other cheap nasal rinsing devices. With a squeeze bottle, when the salt water is gone, you can use the bottle to gently squeeze shots of air into each nostril, to help you get rid of residual water and junk faster.

There are also many types and brands of powered nasal rinsing devices. The advantage of these powered units is they pulse the salt water to dislodge more gunk than even a squeeze bottle can. However so far; I have only tried the NeilMed SinuGator, which runs on batteries and is cheap. You hold a button down to both start it, and to keep it running. The eight-ounce reservoir of salt water runs out very quickly; so switch nostrils quickly with the SinuGator. I partially closed one nostril, and used it in my other nostril; and I sniffed gently while I pressed the power button for a few seconds, to clean my upper sinus parts better. I find using the SinuGator to loosen things up, followed up by a passive (and longer lasting) NetiPot rinse session, worked well. So far, I have not tested any other powered sinus irrigators. Some are expensive and professional, and I am sure they all work well.

To drain the sinus rinse water faster, or if your congestion is due to GERD, or if you have mucus in your lungs or throat, consider trying this method (having many benefits) to clear out all the liquids that can linger from a nose rinse:

First, plug your nostrils with your fingers,and then inhale fast through your nostrils, about 10 times and inhale through your mouth each time. Rotate your head around to let the 3D sinus cavities drain better. Then, exhale fast through your nostrils, one at a time, keeping one nostril plugged. Then use a Kleenex in each nostril to soak up the water, etc. in them. I did this several times to recover from nasal surgery faster.

Rinsing our sinuses can cause liquids to drain into our esophagus and/or our lungs, so if this happens I recommend gargling (with salt water, beer, or mouthwash) while sniffing, with your nose pinched shut; to get the fluids out. Sometimes, I even gargle with a beer (I do not drink it) with ph adjusting drops and xylitol added to help protect my teeth and rinse my mouth with fluoride mouthwash afterward.

Nothing clears mucus out of a throat, better than gargling beer. I find Mucinex and marijuauna also both really help to open up the tiny passages deep within the sinuses. And, gently stuffing a wet Kleenex into deep into each nostril helps you get out the mucus faster. Burping both the front and back of your chest, like you would a baby; helps to get the mucus out by coughing; or better yet, laughing the deep mucus out.

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