A popular way to deal with allergies and congestion is sinus rinsing. Many people find that using a neti pot and warm salinated water is an effective way to cleanse their sinuses. However, if you are using Brita filtered water in your neti pot, you may be putting your health at risk. Recent studies have shown that the filters in these pitchers do not remove all of the pathogens from the water, which can lead to serious health complications.
You should not use Brita water for the neti pot because it is not sterile as recommended by the Center for Disease Control. Rinsing your sinuses with improperly treated water can introduce dangerous pathogens into your body, leading to serious health complications. Brita filters do not remove germs such as the ‘brain-eating amoeba’ Naegleria fowleri, which can cause death.
In this article, we discuss why Brita water is not suitable for use with a neti pot and what water you should actually use with your sinus rinsing system. We also look at additional treatment methods you can use to enhance your Brita filter to make it safe for use with neti pots.
Table of Contents
What Kind of Water Should You Use with a Neti Pot?
The Centers for Disease Control advises you to use sterile, warm salt water with your neti pot. By using a solution that mimics your body’s fluids, you can prevent shocking your sinuses and avoid introducing germs or dangerous microorganisms into your body.
When performing sinus rinsing with the neti pot, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) notes that distilled water is preferred for sinus rinsing. When this treated water source is unavailable, boiled water can be a second choice.
The CDC also states that you can filter water using a filter designed to remove germs from water. The filter should be NSF certified to remove or reduce cysts. Check the filter label for “NSF 53” or “NSF 58”. The product label should contain the words “cyst removal” or “cyst reduction”.
There is a reason why the CDC recommends distilled water as the best water for sinus rinsing. Distillation involves boiling water to produce steam, which is then condensed back into water. This process kills all bacteria, viruses, and cysts making it sterile.
While distilled water is the best water to use with your neti pot, it can be expensive to purchase. A gallon of distilled water can cost as much as $1.50. Despite the cost, distilled water is the CDC’s preferred source of water for sinus rinsing.
Warm water is a good idea for sinus rinsing because it reduces shock to your sinus. If you use cold water, you are suddenly lowering the temperature in your sinuses, which may trigger a shock in your body.
In fact, your body may overreact to the initial shock and make your symptoms even worse. Water that is close to your body temperature is best, as it will not be as jarring to your sinuses.
When you add some salt to your rinsing water, it helps to wash away allergens and other debris from your sinus. It may also help to clear mucus and moisten the mucous membrane in your sinus.
Plus, salt water is closer to the electrolyte level of our body fluid, which means it would not trigger any osmotic pressure issues in your sinus.
Learn more about what contaminants a Brita filter can remove in my article.
Can You Use Tap Water for you Neti Pot?
You should not use tap water for neti pots because tap water is not germ-free or chemical-free. You are at risk of introducing cysts to your sinus cavities, which may make your condition worse. Plus, tap water contains residual chlorine which may irritate your sinuses.
You should not use tap water for neti pot or sinus rinsing procedures. Tap water may have been disinfected at the treatment plant, but it is not sterile and should not be used for sinus rinsing.
Tap water may have been treated with chlorine before being sent to you. However, it may not be completely germ-free. This is because tap water may have been contaminated with germs and microorganisms at many points along its delivery to your faucet.
Because of this, when you use tap water with your neti pot to perform sinus rinsing, you run the risk of introducing germs, especially cysts, into your sinuses. The most dangerous is Naegleria fowleri. This amoeba is better known as the ‘brain-eating amoeba.’
When possible, look for sterile, distilled water. When not possible, at least boil and cool your tap water before using it with your neti pot.
Can You Use Brita Filtered Water for Neti Pot?
Brita water may not be used for neti pots on its own. Although Brita water filters remove chemicals and some solids, they do not remove germs. As a result, water treated only with a Brita water may not be sterile and is, therefore, not suitable for your neti pot or sinus rinsing.
Brita water filters help remove many nasties in your tap water. For example, chemicals such as chlorine make water taste or smell bad. It also helps to remove solids and some heavy metals in the water.
Although Brita water is better than tap water, it is not sterile and should not be used in neti pots.
While Brita water filters have many filtering capabilities, the filter is not fine enough to remove germs and microorganisms. Although Brita water may taste good and be absent of harmful metals and chemicals, it is not able to produce water that is free from germs.
As such, Brita-filtered water should not be used in place of sterile water for sinus rinsing. It is, however, better than using tap water. However, you can take actions and steps to help make Brita filtered water safer for neti pot for sinus rinsing.
How To Make Sure Brita Water Is Safer for Use in Neti Pot?
To ensure your Brita water is safer for use in a neti pot, consider boiling your Brita-filtered water for 1 minute. Then let the water cool down to room temperature. This ensures that all microorganism in the water is killed, making the water safer for sinus rinsing.
According to the CDC, the best water for sinus rinsing is distilled water. This is because it is pure water, free from any metals, chemicals, or microorganisms that may cause more trouble to your sinus.
However, if you cannot find distilled water, your best chance may be to use Brita-filtered water that has been boiled and allowed to cool.
The Brita filter removes metals and chemicals from water, making it cleaner than tap water. Remember – filtering your water with a Brita filter does not produce sterile water. You still need to kill all potential germs and pathogens before using it in any type of sinus rinse.
With water, you can boil it to ensure it becomes sterile since boiling kills the microorganisms inside. The CDC recommends that you bring water to a boil for a minute. If you are at an elevation of 6,500 feet or more, boil the water for three minutes.
Allow the water to cool before using it with your neti pot for sinus rinsing.
Can You Microwave Brita Water for Neti Pot?
You can boil Brita-filtered water using your microwave to make it sterile for use in a neti pot. However, this is not a conventional approach, and the water may take longer to boil. Plus, it may be energy-consuming as well.
The best way to ensure your Brita filtered water is safer for use when sinus rinsing is to boil it. The Brita water filter removes harmful metals and chemicals, but it is also important to ensure the remaining water is sterile. Boiling the water after filtering it in the Brita filter achieves this.
The most common way to boil something is by using direct heat, whether that’s from a kettle or boiling water in a pot.
Although it is unorthodox, you can also boil your Brita-filtered water in a microwave. This is because microwaves can heat up water to the point that it boils and becomes sterile.
However, boiling your Brita-filtered water with a microwave may not be the most practical solution due for some reasons:
- It May Take Longer to Boil Water with a Microwave: It may be more efficient to apply direct heat to the water to boil it. In many cases, boiling the same volume of water in the microwave may take longer than using a kettle.
- Keeping Water Boiled in a Microwave Is Harder: The CDC recommends that you keep the water boiling for at least a minute to ensure it is sterile. This should be much easier done in a kettle or a pot than inside a microwave.
- It Is Difficult to Confirm the Water Has Boiled: It can be tricky to tell if water is boiling inside a microwave, and it may be even more challenging to make the water boil for a full minute. The water may splash inside the microwave, creating a mess.
As such, only consider boiling your Brita-filtered water with a microwave oven when there are no other alternatives.
If you want to remove chlorine and other contaminants from your water before using it to rinse your sinues, you can filter it with your Brita filter and then boil it. This is the only way to ensure the water is sterile. Allow the water to cool before using it in your neti pot.