What is a Nasal Cup?

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  • Written By: J.S. Metzker Erdemir
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 18 January 2020
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A nasal cup or neti pot is a small container that is filled with a liquid and used for nasal lavage or irrigation. Nasal lavage is the process of cleaning out the inside of the nose with a liquid such as plain warm water, saline, or an herbal preparation made to soothe the nose and reduce congestion. Cleaning the nose is meant to clear out impurities like dust, pollen, pollution, and excess mucus.

Nasal cleansing is an ancient South and Southeast Asian practice associated with yoga and meditation. Yoga practitioners irrigate the nasal passages prior to meditation because of the type of controlled, steady breathing they need to do while meditating. Nasal cleansing clears the inside of the nose to facilitate breathing, and it moistens the sinuses and nasal passages to prevent irritation. Until recent years, nasal lavage was uncommon in the West.

Nasal irrigation is now becoming a popular drug-free and inexpensive home remedy for people who suffer from allergies, hay fever, and chronic sinus problems. It can also be used to relieve congestion from a cold or flu. A neti pot or nasal cup uses gravity to force a cleaning liquid into one nostril and out the other, removing mucus and debris as it goes. Neti pots are usually filled with water or saline, but herbal preparations containing congestion-relieving ingredients like menthol, mint, or camphor are also available.


A nasal cup is usually a cylindrical plastic container with a large opening in the top and a smaller, open neck at the bottom that is inserted into the nostril. Another hole on the side is covered with the finger to hold liquid in the cylinder until the user is ready. Neti pots are shaped like little teapots, and are usually made of stainless steel or ceramic. They are filled through a hole in the top, and the spout is inserted into the nose.

To use a nasal cup or neti pot for nasal irrigation, the container is filled with a liquid that is approximately the same temperature as the body. Standing over a sink, the user inserts the spout into one nostril and tilts his or her head to the side and slightly forward while breathing through the mouth. The water pours out of the spout and out the other nostril, though it may take some practice to get this right. When the nasal cup is empty, it is refilled and the process is repeated in the other nostril.



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