Four Ways to Wash Your Sinuses

Other Options

3. Sinus Irrigation System

How does it work? Similar to the Water Pik devices that clean your teeth, sinus irrigation systems use jets of water to clean out the sinuses. You can fill the reservoir with homemade or pre-mixed saline solution. Once the device is ready, you insert the jet up your nose and the saline solution is pulsated into your sinuses and out your nose and mouth.

Pros: The force of the jets make it more suitable than gentler devices for people who have heavily congested or blocked sinuses.

Cons: Some people may find the sensation of the jets uncomfortable. Sinus irrigation systems are generally more expensive and less portable than other sinus wash devices.

4. Bulb Syringe

How does it work? Bulb syringes--the kind used for children's ears--work in much the same way as the sinus rinse kits. You draw the warm saline solution into the syringe and then insert the syringe into your nostril. When you squeeze the bulb, water is squirted up into your sinuses and out of your nose and mouth.

Pros: Bulb syringes are cheap, easy to use and available in most drugstores.

Cons: Most bulb syringes only hold between two and three ounces of water, so you may need a few more applications to fully clean your sinuses. It's possible to squeeze too hard with a bulb syringe, irritating your sinus or ear canal.

Reviewed by Marc J. Sicklick, M.D., FAAAAI, FACAAI

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