Home-Prepared Saline Solution: Procedures and Uses

Preparing saline solution at home is very simple and does not require many ingredients. It can be used for a number of purposes and can help in many ways.

A salt solution can be easily prepared by you is referred to as a saline solution. It can be made using materials which are readily available. Such a solution can be used for lab work, as a disinfectant or a sterile rinse. A normal salt solution is one whose concentration is the same as the fluids in the body. While the salt in this solution washes away the contaminants, it also prevents the growth of bacteria too. It does not cause any significant tissue damage compared to pure water since its salt composition is the same as the rest of the body.     

How to Make Homemade Saline Solution

Normal Saline

This solution is not that hard to prepare. The following things will be needed:

  • One jar having a lid or a clean glass bottle
  • pot having a lid
  • table salt

Then follow the steps below:

  1. Put half tsp. of salt and one cup of water into the pot and cover the pot with the lid.
  2. Keeping the lid on, boil the mixture for around 15 minutes.
  3. Let the pot cool down to room temperature by setting it aside for a while.
  4. Pour out the normal saline carefully from the pot into the bottle or jar and cover it with a lid.

Tips and Precautions for Preparation and Storage

  • Only freshly prepared normal saline should be used as there is a chance that bacteria might grow in it, causing infections. 
  • For storing the normal saline, always make use of a bottle or glass jar that has been washed with hot soapy water in a dishwasher recently.
  • Refrain from drinking the homemade saline solution.
  • If the solution becomes dirty or cloudy, then it is better to discard it. 
  • 24 hours is the maximum duration for storing saline in a glass or bottle. Wash the container before discarding the solution that has not been used.
  • The preparation methods for saline solutions that are used for different situations are not the same and have their own separate recipes. 

Caution: Do Not Use for Contact Lenses

Even though normal saline has the proper salinity, it is not fit for contact lenses. There are agents and buffers present in commercial contact lens solutions which can maintain the sterility of the liquid and protect the eyes respectively. While it is okay to use homemade sterile saline for rinsing lenses sometimes, it is not a good option to use unless you have access to lab-grade chemicals and have knowledge about aseptic techniques. 

Saline Solution for Nasal Wash

Saline nose drops can be purchased from the pharmacy or you can prepare homemade saline solution on your own for nasal wash.

How to Make

  • Add 250 ml or 1 cup of distilled water into a container that has been thoroughly cleaned. It is better to boil the water first if you are using tap water so that it is sterilized and then put it aside until it becomes lukewarm. 
  • Add 2.5 grams or half tsp. of canning or pickling salt into the water.
  • Add 2.5 grams or half tsp. of baking soda.

3 days is the maximum duration for which this saline solution can be stored at room temperature.

How to Use

For using this saline solution as a nasal wash, you will have to:

  • Fill the saline solution into a squeeze bottle, a Neti Pot or a large medical syringe and then squeeze it gently after introducing its tip into your nostril.  
  • Try to direct the stream of the solution towards the back and not the top of your head.    
  • The saline wash must come out of the other nostril or the mouth after passing through the nose.
  • Unless your doctor has advised to not blow your nose, it is best to blow it gently after using the saline wash.
  • Do several repetitions throughout the day.
  • After every use, wash the bottle or syringe thoroughly.

Tips and Precautions

The following are some tips that you must keep in mind when using the nasal wash.

  • Since the nasal wash can help in the absorption of the nasal medicines by the sinuses, it is best to use them after you have done the saline wash. 
  • Although it is okay to warm the solution slightly, try not to overheat it.
  • You might feel a burning sensation in your nose when you start using the saline wash. You will get used to it after having done the wash a couple of times.
  • It is best to make use of purified water and pure salt for making the homemade saline solution since tap water might contain micro contaminants that don’t go away with boiling and table salt has many other ingredients present in it which are not suitable to be introduced into the nose.   

Saline Solution for Piercing

Having made the saline solution (as explained in part 1: normal saline) for body piercing aftercare, you must make use of the following tips for using it properly.  

  • Use soap and clean water to wash your hands thoroughly before touching the piercing or making use of the solution.  
  • Cleaning of the piercing must be done by dipping it directly into the saline solution. You can pour or spray the lukewarm solution directly on the piercing as well if it’s impossible to dip the piercing directly into the solution.  
  • Cotton swabs are another method that can be used for applying the solution for cleaning the area in and around the piercing. You will have to dip the cotton swabs in the solution and then use them to clean crusty matter and dirt present in the area around the piercing.
  • Use a clean tissue or soft towel for wiping off the fluid after you have cleaned the area. You do not have to rub or wipe harshly as patting gently or dabbing at the area is enough to dry the area. You can use the solution up to 3 times each day.    


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