How comfortable are you with sticking things up your nose?

If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, a neti pot may be just the thing you need for cleaning out your sinuses. This simple treatment can help ease congestion by thinning out mucus to improve your breathing.

“There are various ways to deliver saline to the nose. Nasal spray bottles deliver a fine mist and might be useful for moisturizing dry nasal passages. But irrigation devices are better at flushing the nose and clearing out mucus, allergens and bacteria.” —Eric Mann, PhD, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Start with the right supplies—you'll need a neti pot, sterilized salt or a pre-packaged solution, and clean, warm water. Health experts suggest using distilled water, or boiled and cooled tap water. Remember, this is going up into your sinuses, so you don't want to skimp on your supplies. Even filtered tap water can still contain microscopic organisms.

The technique for using a neti pot can take a while to get used to, that's for sure. Insert the spout in one nostril, bend over the sink, and slowly tip your head to let the water flow through to the other side. Don't forget to breathe through your mouth!

If you practice and do this correctly, you won't get the dreaded "water-up-your-nose" feeling.

neti pot

Courtesy of Healthgrades

If you're really stuffed up, a neti pot may not work for you the first time around. Try both nostrils and see if you can get any solution into your sinus cavity. If you can't, you may have to resort to a nasal saline spray to get a similar effect. When in doubt, check with your healthcare provider to see what option might be best for you.

For more information, check out the FDA's page on how to safely use neti pots.

Have you ever used a neti pot to clear out your sinuses? Do you have any tips or tricks for a first-timer? Share them with us in the comments!