The Common Cold Remedies Saline Nasal Spray

Runny and stuffy noses are common hallmarks of the everyday cold. Treating these sinus problems with saline nasal spray or nasal irrigation through the use of a neti pot can decrease your discomfort. Both of these cold remedies are available over the counter and can be easily used at home.

How to Use Saline Nasal Sprays

Saline nasal sprays are basically used to add moisture to your nasal passages. Dry nasal passages can increase your chances of getting an infection. Using a saline nasal spray gives your natural nasal cleaning processes an extra boost when you have a cold.

Saline nasal sprays are available over the counter and generally come in two forms: either a pump bottle or a pressurized canister. With either type, follow these steps to get the best results:

  1. Blow your nose before beginning.
  2. Shake the nasal spray before using.
  3. Put the nasal canister or nasal pump bottle into one nostril and use your finger to close the other nostril.
  4. Press down on the canister or pump and administer one or more sprays to your nostril.
  5. Repeat with the other side.
  6. Try to avoid blowing your nose or sneezing immediately after using your nasal spray.

Use your nasal spray regularly for the best results. Some people might experience slight stinging with saline nasal sprays, but most people are not bothered enough to stop using them.

Neti Pots

Neti pots are nasal irrigation systems that help your sinuses cleanse themselves. When you have a cold, it makes it much harder for your body to get rid of mucus. Nasal irrigation is most often used when people have a large amount of mucus or other sinus problems. However, neti pots have been in use for many years as a way for people to clean out their sinuses.

Some of the health issues that can be helped by using a neti pot include:

  • allergies
  • colds
  • flu
  • nasal dryness
  • sinus infections
  • sinus irritation
  • swollen nasal membranes.

A neti pot looks like a small watering can, with a hole at the top and a small spout on one end. Neti pots can usually be purchased at health food stores and also at drug stores.

Recipe for Nasal Irrigation Solution

Some people prefer to make nasal irrigation for their neti pots themselves. Here is a recipe to do so:


  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt, sea salt, pickling salt or other salt that does not contain iodine
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 cup warm distilled water


  1. Mix all ingredients and pour into the neti pot for use.

How to Use a Neti Pot

Using a neti pot is surprisingly simple. Some people think that they might feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed by the water, but they soon find that it is not an unpleasant sensation.

  1. Lower your head over a sink with your left nostril turned parallel to the sink.
  2. Place the neti pot in your right nostril, making sure that you get a tight fit to avoid spilling.
  3. Pour the water into your nose, making sure that you are breathing through your mouth in order to keep the water from going down the back of your throat.
  4. The water will drain from your left nostril.
  5. After the neti pot is empty, gently blow your nose and repeat the process on the other side.

Many people notice an immediate increase in their ability to breathe clearly, smell and even taste after the use of a neti pot.


American Academy of Family Physicians. (n.d.). Nasal Sprays: How To Use Them Correctly. Retrieved November 12, 2007, from the Web site:

Desy, Phylameana lila. (n.d.). Top 11 Common Cold and Flu Remedies. Retrieved November 12, 2007, from the Web site:

Harpo Productions, Inc. (n.d.). Ask Dr. Oz II. Retrieved November 12, 2007, from Web site:

Pynnonen, Melissa, M.D. (2006). Saline Nasal Sprays and Irrigation. Retrieved November 12, 2007, from the University of Michigan Health System Web site: