Vinegar in your nose: Yes/no?
October 6, 2012 3:55 PM   Subscribe

Is it safe to do a sinus rinse with vinegar?

I've read that you can add a little vinegar to your regular sinus rinse and it can help clear up sinusitis. I can't find many first-person accounts of this online, so I'm not sure if this is really a thing one should be doing.

Has anyone ever done this or does anyone just know that vinegar should never go in your nose?
posted by side effect to Health & Fitness (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've done a shot of apple cider vinegar, diluted, with salt and cayenne pepper, as a flu preventative. That will grow hair on your chest, for sure. I've also sucked up salt water in my nose.

I've done a shot of straight vinegar, but I don't recommend it. It's pretty hairy and breath sucking. I never would think to snort it. YMMV.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:10 PM on October 6, 2012

I wouldn't do it. But if I did do it, I'd dilute it enough that I could gargle with it/ drink it without it stinging my throat.
posted by windykites at 4:11 PM on October 6, 2012

Another no vote here. If you feel the need to experiment, try drinking a shot first, then imagine that snorting it will burn about a thousand times more (estimated, not scientifically calculated). Then decide if you want to do it. The other problem is that the vinegar is going to mess with the mucous membranes in your nose in a very bad way, so even if you tolerate the initial exposure, the next several hours will not be pleasant. The dilutions that have been mentioned other places are VERY dilute (teaspoons per cup). Again, the above test should be a good guide.

However, if you still go through with this, please report back as first hand experience would be interesting to hear (though I am by no means recommending it).
posted by defenestrated at 4:34 PM on October 6, 2012

Just a quick note: I'm looking for anecdotes about using it in a sinus rinse. I've taken shots of straight vinegar before so I know it can be very acidic. I'm just looking for any info in regard to using it in a salt water solution used with a neti pot or the like. Thanks!
posted by side effect at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2012

No. Sinuses are sensitive. So much so that just plain water can irritate them (which is why "neti" is always done with salt water).

Putting a strong acid up there is asking for trouble.
posted by Quisp Lover at 5:02 PM on October 6, 2012 [7 favorites]

IANYD. I would not recommend this. Ocean spray or neti pot using boiled water/saline water.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 5:48 PM on October 6, 2012

Yeah, no. Don't use vinegar. At best, it will be unpleasant. At worst, it will cause prolonged irritation to your sinuses, which may actually increase inflammation (and thus increase congestion).

Here's a trick I figured out: using contact solution for sinus rinses. It's sterile, buffered, and isotonic, so it won't irritate sinus tissues, and also contains gentle cleaning and disinfecting agents. In my experience it works much better than saline. It's also vastly more expensive, but when it comes to upper respiratory infections, I don't mess around anymore.
posted by dephlogisticated at 8:13 PM on October 6, 2012 [2 favorites]

Two things: Try looking at the quantitative amount of vinegar put into the neti pot water. Because there's a large difference between 0.1/1/10% vinegar concentration, and like everybody else here says, it will piss off your nostrils.

Secondly, ALWAYS boil your water or used bottled water for Neti Pot usage. Amoebas in water, are usually quite okay, but when introduced into the nostrils can be annoyingly fatal.
posted by kurosawa's pal at 8:14 PM on October 6, 2012 [3 favorites]

The packets of salt that come with NeilMed bottles, or neti pots, are very often about a 70/30 mixture of salt and baking soda. When putting together my own mix for sinus rinsing, I generally use up to a 50/50 ratio, salt to soda and that's very comfortable for me. Either way, those mixtures are fairly alkaline, so I'd imagine that using straight vinegar would be extremely painful.
posted by shinyblackdog at 11:38 PM on October 6, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sorry, make that any vinegar!
posted by shinyblackdog at 12:58 AM on October 7, 2012

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