Homemade Saline Nasal Spray (plus loads of tips)

Homemade Saline Wash - a great natural remedy for colds, allergies and all sinus problems.

From essential oils to natural ear infection remedies to Chinese herbs, I will try almost anything to avoid antibiotics and other medications when dealing with ear infections or other conditions.  I had way too antibiotics of them as a child and they wreaked havoc on my gut, leading to candida, adrenal fatigue, and other issues that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

So for things like sinus problems, I’ve opted for things like this saline spray to keep my family healthy.

I’m sure most of you have seen or heard of neti-pots, saline nose sprays, or those spray bottles that spray saline wash into your nostrils.

In my opinion, saline wash is a life-saver.  Really.

Today I am going to show you how you can easily make these sprays yourself to save a ton of money and hopefully save yourself from needing antibiotics.

I’ve been making saline wash for years.

Literally.

I remember in my 20’s (yikes! – That was a long time ago.), my grandmother buying me some premade nasal spray in a bottle and telling me how helpful it was.

I thought it seemed ridiculous, but then I was brought up in a home where I was given antibiotics for just about any little sniffle or bug.

Hence a lot of the health problems that I deal with today.

You can read more about how much I avoid antibiotics now in my post “Escape from the Pink Stuff – How We Avoided Antibiotics”.

I will go to great lengths to avoid that stuff.  Even though they’re free at our local pharmacy – that “free” comes with a heavy health price tag.

Anyway, as the years went on, I started using different forms of saline washes — and found that they work great!

In fact, am now a self-declared expert in making saline nose wash :-).

However, one of the things that bugs me is that you go into your local drug, grocery, or health food store, and buy one of those little neti-pots or saline spray containers, and they give you some little packets of pre-made saline mix to get you started.

Only to have you feel the need to come back and buy more of their little packets.

Well, if you’ve looked at those packets, really the only thing that is in them is….

you guessed it–salt and maybe baking soda.

Pretty simple, eh?

So I decided to figure out how much of each I needed to use in order to avoid the highway-robbery of buying those little packets (not to mention all the extra garbage they generate.  Sigh.)

How I Started Using Saline Spray

For years, I saw those saline spray bottles in the store.  My grandmother recommended that I try Ocean®, which she said helped her immensely.

I personally never saw benefits from that kind of thing after trying it once or twice, but that all changed years later.

I was working at a small insurance agency.  My boss was from Russia and we at times enjoyed talking about health issues.

At one point, I got quite sick with a cold and my nose, in typical fashion, got very stuffed up (I have very narrow nasal passages, so I get pretty miserable pretty quickly from colds and such).

Anyhow, one day at work we started talking about sinus issues and my boss bought up saline washes.  I told him that they never worked for me, and he proceeded to tell me how they used to do it in Russia.

This is what they would do….

Basic DIY Saline:

  • put some warm water in your hand
  • dump some salt in the water
  • breathe the mixture in
  • inhale further insuring that the saline mixture goes back to fill the sinus cavities
  • hold the saline for about 10 seconds
  • blow the saline out

I was intrigued, and tried it.

And it worked — amazingly well, though the salt stung sometimes.

I figured if I could apply that technique to a saline bottle, then I would have something very helpful, and more user-friendly than a hand full of salt water!

So —

I went to the store, bought a starter kit for a saline wash and was on my way.

And I have to say, this has made my narrow-sinus issues at least a little more bearable.

Why Make Your Own Saline Nose Wash

1.  It saves a TON of money.

2.  Reduce waste from those little packets of saline mix.

3.  You can control how much of everything you add easily.

Before we get to the recipe, here are some tips:

Tips for Saline Wash

– Use only purified water.  Here is really icky documentation of folks who got brain eating amoebas from using tap water.  Yuck!

– Use only pure salt like sea salt or my favorite, Real Salt.  Table salt has lots of other things like anti-caking agents, silicon dioxide and even sugar sometimes.  I don’t want those in my nose, thank you.

– For added sinus-cleansing action, after putting the saline solution into your nose, inhale a bit and hold some of it in your nose for about 10 seconds, and then blow out.  I found this technique on my saline bottle’s insert and it supposedly helps the saline solution get into all the nasal cavities.

What type of bottle or neti-pot to use?  I like this brand, but I think they are all good.  Personally, I don’t think that the neti-pots work as well since the spraying action seems to get the saline rinse in my sinuses better than the force of gravity.

– Some advise against continual use of saline washes.  I found this article interesting.  If you use yours year-round, it might not be a good idea.

Water Temperature –  I prefer my water a little warmer than just lukewarm as it seems to help the salt dissolve better, but please take care to not overheat the water.

– I am not a doctor – so don’t use this instead of medical opinion, KO?

If you find yourself in a real pinch and don’t have a saline rinse container, you can mix this up in your hand the “Russian” way.  Just make sure your hand is clean :).

When to Use Saline Wash

  • When you have a cold
  • To clean out sinuses to support your body so are less likely to have a cold take root
  • As a purified wate
  • To moisten sinus passaged in dry weather
By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

Saline Wash

Cold, sniffles, or allergies got you down? Neti Pots and Saline Sprays are a great way to treat them, but buying those premade salt packets will break the bank. Make your own saline spray--save money--and feel better!

A personal note – and optional additions

Over the past few weeks I have been fighting an illness and I ended up making tons of my own saline nose drops (the stuff you put in neti-pots or saline spray containers, like the one pictured above) with all kinds of variations.

I thought it was allergies, but it turned out to be a doozy of a sinus infection.

Since I was pretty desperate, I added a bunch of different things to my saline bottle to aid in my healing.  Here are the possible additives for the nasal rinse that I read about and tried (I tried all except the honey)

apple cider vinegar (just a drop or two. Don’t make the mistake I did by adding about 1 Tbsp.  Ouch!)
colloidal silver (from a drop to more.)
grapefruit seed extract (GSE) – this is supposed to be a great anti-viral agent.  Just add a few drops.
essential oils (I tried eucalyptus, frankincense, and rosemary.  I am thinking melaleuca or peppermint would be great too.  Just a tip – even one little drop of oregano oil is waaaay too strong.  To read more about the Essential Oils I recommend, check out my Essential Oils series.  It gets pretty dicey :).)
xylitol – some say it aids in making the solution non-stinging.  It is also supposed to be helpful against candida and since a number of sinus infections are thought to be viral, this might be a help as well, as xylitol apparently has some anti-viral properties.  (Source)
Manuka honey – I didn’t try this but I have read it’s a natural antibiotic that has helped many.  In fact, check out this post on A Natural Remedy that Beat Antibiotics.

More DIY Personal Care Products:

Jojoba Face Wash
Homemade Foaming Soap
Best Eye Makeup Remover
DIY Decongestant (like Vicks Vapo-Rub)
Homemade Sugar Scrub

How about you?  Have you used saline sprays?

Of course, none of this is to be taken as medical advice and is for entertainment purposes only.  Please consult with your physician before trying any of the remedies here or making any changes to your supplements or diet.

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

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  1. I have difficulty using a pot it syringe and turning my head over a drink and getting the solution to go in one nostril and out the other. I tried something different this morning…. I got on my inversion machine and rotated head down and sprayed solution in my nostrils. I stayed in that position for a minute or so then returned upright. It seemed to work great. What do you think of this?

    • I can’t comment about it medically – but I love the spray bottle b/c you can get the water solution in better. I can’t imagine what you did is a problem since the spray bottle indicates you can inhale the solution into your cavities to help drain them, but I can’t be sure. Thanks!

  2. I spoke to a pharmacist who said that one cup of warm saline rinse is not enough. So, I use about 3 cups to 1 quart each time I rinse. When I have a sinus infection, I use it about 4 times per day. I notice that if I do not rinse every 4 hours,I will reduce the infection and then it will build back up again in between rinses. I have been able to clear away 4 or 5 sinus infections using this method.

  3. Nasal rinsing. If you get the balance of salt to water just right you can not feel it sting and it does not feel choking. A little bit too much or a little bit short stings. So approximately a flat teaspoon (5ml) per 240 ml water. Bicarbonate of Soda, optional extra, don’t know quite what it does. The squeeze bottle you show is good and the little sachets are good to get you started as the mix is just right.

    An american called Phil showed me how to use salt solution from an eye=dropper in Istanbul! He used to hold his head back and completely fill his nostrils and keep it there for a minute or so. I since developed that a little further.

    You know how to gargle in your throat? Well you can also gargle in your Pharynx… or is it phargal?
    If you do it right, you can hold your head back and still breathe while you do it…. sounds weird but you know you are cleared out when you can do this and it’s easier than you think. Take your time and only half-fill your nose with your head back, too much and it spills all over your face, too little and you can’t get the effect… experiment and good luck. (I mix with boiled and filtered water through a BRITA Maxta filter).
    As you say its a life saver.
    All my best, Merlin.

  4. VERY important to use Distilled Water.

  5. country grams says:

    FYI, your information states “It is also supposed to kill candida and since a number of sinus infections are thought to be viral, this might be a help as well.” Perhaps I am mis-reading, but the implication is that candida is a virus. Candida is a fungus, that likes to live in dark, moist places. Too many antibiotics can cause candida in any part of the body that has that environment. I have had a fungal infection in my sinuses and I was very, very sick. Cleansing the nasal passages might be helpful to prevent airborne viruses.

    • Hi there. Sorry for the delay in responding. What I meant is that it might help either w/ candida or a virus. I fixed the post to better reflect that. Thanks for pointing that out!

  6. Well, my family suffered from sinus / nasal infections a lot , so I tried a lot of solutions on me and my 4 year old child … we did the salt/ baking soda first , and the recommended dosage is very benign at first , especially if you have severe infections and your nose is running so bad that you just beg for any relief …. We upped the concentration – so much salt (any kind – himalian . celtic , you name it we tried it) that it could not dissolve any more. ( and it helped to a degree) and the stinging sensation was good ! , many times a day – if the infection is severe you have to do it every 2 to 3 hours , or your nose started running again. Then we started adding stuff – colloidal silver – drops , hydrogen peroxide – it stings ! , mint and cammomile tea instead of distilled water , sage tea , other teas for cold (if it works internally it should work in your nose ,as well , right?) , also we added propolis (nonalcohol extract) . and finally when nothing else worked I tried on myself the alcohol nasal rinse (talking about severe sinus /nasal infection) and night -long inhalation in the form of soaked with wiskey-like alcohol (around 50% proof) cotton balls stuffed in your nose and ears … My point is – try to vary concentration and remedies and see which one works for you … We eliminated antibiotics of course , and this worked to a degree for me . But for my child we had to remove the tonsils , and the infections almost disappeared . The key is really to stop / eliminate sugar and grains , and we take these days a lot of vitamin C ( you have to fight the inflammation internally, as well as topically in your nose , otherwise you will have recurring incidents) Try buffered sodium ascorbate in mega doses – find on youtube Dr. Suzanne Humphries ) Good luck!

  7. You said something about the weight in prepared packets. I calculated box of 50 Niel-Med packs. Comes out to Approx. (.13 oz per pack). Not exact b/c I weighed whole box then just divided by 50.

  8. Andrew Garley says:

    I have been spending a vast fortune on sprays.
    I read this and had a go, early days.
    I used to eye wash, seems to be the same kinda stuff.
    It cleared my nose out, I can breath again, but its made it a bit dry.
    Going to try some almond oil.
    If I can make my own, happy days 🙂

  9. If you have a “sinus infection” caused by candida, you’re most likely on your death bed dying of AIDS and you need to be in the ICU. Also, if you have recurrent sinus infections, seek medical help to get to the cause of them. That is absolutely not normal. Nasal passages and sinuses are completely different things. Although clearing your nasal passages can help in the draining of infected sinuses, the standard of care for a sinus infection (viral or bacterial) includes antibiotics that are aimed at the bug causing the problem. Even if it’s viral, the chance of a bacterial co-infection (superinfection) is high. Untreated infections can cause serious complications including sepsis and death.

    • There is a place for antibiotics obviously but in my 30 as a nurse, they have been grossly overused with horrendous consequences that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg! Some of the essential oils mentioned in this post have been scientifically tested to kill bacteria better than antibiotics without the bacteria becoming resistant.! Like I said, there is a place for antibiotics but we really need to be more judicious!

  10. Hi there! my 3year old son had to be suctioned to get that foriegn material out of his nose. And the dr.said he has to use .65% sodium chloride nasal spray. How can i do that alternatively with home remedies?

  11. Is the recommendation preferably sea salt alone? Non-iodized table salt is to a temporary alternative only?

  12. Another thing one might add to their homeade nasal drops is iodine. It is anti bacterial and viral, and everyone needs it. 95% of people are deficient in it, as flouride, chloride and bromide being added to our foods, water and drugs. competes for iodine that our thyroid needs. Sort of off topic, but it is all is connected in the end. (Immunity ,adrenal function) . Please check out Dr. Brownstein ,you tube, iodine deficiency. You will understand the different forms of iodine, through his discussion of it. One need only add a few drops to your particular solution //. Emphasize, Also , thouroughly cleanse your nasal spray unit at least every week., so as to not put any contaminants up into your sinuses ////. The idea of giving your nasal mucosal lining a rest, stopping the drops/rinse, periodically, seems to make sense.//. All the best. M.

    • Hi there. So what is the iodine function in the drops? I do think Dr. B doesn’t focus enough on how iodine can be a big issue for those w/ Hashimoto’s. What do you think about that? thanks!

  13. Thanks for the recipes. I asked my ENT about adding xylitol for the moisturizing properties. She was intrigued about that and said that about 40% of the pop are staf carriers and they use xylitol in rinses to control staf. So xylitol is something of a multi-purpose tool. That’s why you see it in gum, dry mouth products etc… It’s even in some face washes for problem skin though they don’t claim that the xylitol will kill, say, acne bacteria. Maybe it will be the next big marketing thing once the studies are in.

    My favorite nasal rinse discovery was the sinu-pulse. It is like a Waterpic and holds about a quart. The pressure is adjustable. It seems more gentle than the neilmed bottle (which we also like). Once the sinuses are somewhat full, the pulsing sensation feels like it’s agitating. It REALLY cleans stuff out, even the sticky yuck like scabs. It has an additional attachment to spray a fine mist as well – maybe aloe or xylitol – just for moisturizing. I haven’t tried them but there are throat attachment to spray/mist the back of your throat. It’s an investment at $75 but well worth it just this spring in fewer meds and Doctor co-pays.

    I add a small amount of alkolol to my rinse. It’s a bottled formula with lots of essential oils and such. A very small amount really helps break up mucus. I have no idea how people use it straight. I have also seen that some mixes include a powdered Aloe – I haven’t found that yet but I haven’t searched since the xylitol works so well. In addition to looking for birch xylitol that is as pure as possible, also check the type. I have some that is like white sugar and pours nicely but another type we have is like powdered sugar and dissolves more easily. For travel, the little packs and the neilmed bottle is great. You can get xylitol in packets too and still easily have it as an add in.

  14. Brian Esdale says:

    Thank you so much for this. I made the nasal solution today and undertook a nasal gargle. It was superb. Like you, I have made a solution and stored it in a dropper/tincture bottle. I shall use it daily for now. Peace and love. Xx

  15. I found this article helpful and gave the rinse a try but unfortunately it did not cure my sinus infection – it did however help with nasal congestion. I have since used a natural nasal spray containing cumin and it cured me after juts two weeks. I had the sinus infection for twenty years!!!

  16. Quickest and easiest!

    My wife is a doctor and I live on tbese nasal sparys!

    250ml boiled water once it has cooled to warm

    1.8 ml table salt into and stir

    If it is two full teaspoons so be it not a train smash

    Let it cool and poor into empty nasal spray bottle and repeat process if finished!

    That’s all it takes

    Kind regards

    Frequent nasal spray user ??

  17. Add a few drops menthol oil (not methanol, lol) people. All those over the counter remedies contain menthol or camphor for a reason: they work the best of anything that isn’t an official “drug”. Homemade saline will never work as well as Otrivin and the like, but adding menthol oil kicks it up a notch.

    Actually there is one natural thing that works as well as Otrivin at clearing your sinuses, only (a) it doesn’t work as well at keeping them cleared for several hours, good for maybe 1 or 2 hours only, and (b) you have to be careful with this: it’s capsaicin (pronounced “cap-say-shun”). It’s the “hot” in “hot peppers”. Ever eaten something really hot and had your nose clear out and actually run for awhile? Yeah… that, lol. Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in pepper spray, which is why I say you have to be careful. You get some oil of capsaicin and put a single drop in the recipe given by the author on this website and see how it goes… depending on its concentration, it could be not enough or too much, that’s why you have to start small and see what’s what.

    • Yikes – that could burn couldn’t it? The capsaicin?

      • Hi Adrienne. Yes, that’s why I said you have to be careful. It completely depends on the concentration. But that’s even true of the menthol oil. My previous bottle of menthol oil I had bought at a tobbaco shop, because that specific product was aimed at the burgeoning home market of turning ordinary cigarettes into menthol cigarettes (because they’ve been outlawing menthol cigarettes in some places, considering them “flavored” along with rum or cherry flavored or whatever). Anyway, that product was fairly week, relatively speaking, because I could dilute it with only two volumes of water and snort it like that (i.e. 10 drops of the menthol only required 20 drops of water), it didn’t burn more than just a bit. But my current bottle, which I bought from a pharmacy, if I did that it would burn a LOT and I have to dilute it a LOT more. So it depends, it’s trial and error. The capsaicin is just something I threw out there because it’s a thing that exists, but realistically I suspect the menthol oil (or “peppermint oil”, very similar, buy that if you don’t find “menthol oil”) will be sufficient for all but those that have the worst sinus problems. And for them, truth be told, I’d just suggest they give themselves a break and go with the Otrivin, realistically.

      • Make that “weak”, not “week”. And I’m only mildly retarded, I assure you. 😉