Homemade Saline Nasal Spray for Amazing Sinus Relief

Struggling with sinus issues? This Homemade Saline Nasal Spray is just what you need. Neti Pots and Saline Nasal Sprays are a great way to treat them, but buying those pre-made salt packets will break the bank.

Here's how to feel better fast and save money while you're doing it. Plus I've added in a recipe for a Homemade Xylitol Nasal Spray too--similar to Xlear.

Blue Neti Pot, Salt, and Saline Spray bottle with DIY Saline Wash

Sinus issues are the worst.

I have somewhat narrow sinus passages, so whenever I get any kind of sickness that involved my nose, I get plugged up badly.

Now, you can use nose sprays for things like that, but they often can create a rebound issue where you get MORE plugged up after stopping.

No thanks!

Many years ago, I heard about using saline for sinus relief.

Well, let me tell you, it works.

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, homemade saline solution in a nasal spray bottle 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 stay well.

Why I Started Using Saline

When I was younger, I saw saline spray bottles in the store.  My grandmother recommended that I try Ocean® Brand, 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....

"Russian" Basic DIY Saline Method

  • 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 pretty bad sometimes.

Anyhow, 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 saltwater!

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.

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

In fact, I am now kind of a self-declared expert in making homemade saline solution.

Why Make Your Own

One of the things that bug me is that when you go into your local drug, grocery, or health food store, and buy a neti-pot or saline spray wash, they give you little packets of pre-made saline mix to get you started.

However, then 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....

--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.)

The benefits of all of this?

1.  Save a TON of money.

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

3.  Control how much of everything you add easily.

Instructions for Use

- Use only purified water (see How to Make Your Tap Water Safe).  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 to be quite interesting.  Do keep in mind that it might not be a good idea to use this on a daily basis.

- 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 really clean :).

Bonus Tip

In addition to the above "added sinus-cleaning action", one of the best methods for getting this to really address your whole sinus area is to use the wash and then tilt your head back over the edge of your bed. The saline mix will go all the way back into your sinuses. Hold it there for 2 minutes, and then blow out.

I've used this method with amazing success for stubborn sinus issues.

When to Use

  • 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 natural allergy help
  • To moisten sinus passages in dry weather

Why Is Baking Soda Added to Saline?

Good question. There are two reasons for this.

Baking soda helps to open the sinus passages. Studies have shown that this mixture of concentrated saltwater and baking soda (bicarbonate) helps the nose work better and moves mucus out of the nose faster than saline solutions alone.

Also, baking soda acts as butter in the saline solution, so that it is less irritating.

Storage

You can store this mixture for up to 3 days, but not for longer.

Though salt is a natural preservative, water naturally grows bacteria easily. There are store bought saline sprays that can be stored longer but they are made from sterile solutions and I believe that they are in airtight containers so that's a different situation.

neti pot, saline nasal spray bottle, with saline packets, salt, and tissues for homemade saline nasal spray post

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 tablespoon.  Ouch!)
- colloidal silver(from a drop to more.)
- grapefruit seed extract (GSE) - this is supposed to be a great anti-viral agent.  Just add one drop if you try this since it's really really strong!
- xylitol - some say it aids in making the solution non-stinging.  It is also supposed to be helpful against bacteria and viruses. In fact, there are Xylitol Nose Sprays on the market now. (Source)
- Manuka honey - I didn't try this but I have read works great as a natural way to kill germs, etc.

More DIY Personal Care Products

If you like this formula for a saline wash, you'll love these DIY products too!

- Jojoba Face Wash - yes, you can wash your face with oil!
- Homemade Foaming Soap - saves TONS of money and works great!
- Best Eye Makeup Remover - I tested a bunch and this was the best one!
- DIY Decongestant (like Vicks Vapo-Rub) - skip the toxins and save money with this simple formula
- Homemade Sugar Scrub - super nourishing!

neti pot, saline nasal spray bottle, with saline packets, salt, and tissues for homemade saline nasal spray post

How to Make Homemade Saline Nasal Spray

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Ingredients

Homemade Saline Nasal Spray

  • 1 cup (8 ounce) water
  • 1 teaspoon natural salt (you can add more for more "punch" but it does sting. I use Real Salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon (pinch) baking soda

Homemade Xylitol Nasal Spray Version

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon xylitol
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 drop grapefruit seed extract optional

Instructions

  • Warm the water to a temperature that is as warm as you can tolerate (of course, this is a subjective term. The water should not be so hot as to damage your nasal passages. See notes below.)
  • Add salt and baking soda to your saline container (neti-pot or saline spray bottle).
  • Add water and mix / shake to combine.
  • Follow directions for using your saline wash container.
  • Make sure to rinse out your container after use and leave it open to air dry.
Tried this recipe?Mention @wholenewmom or tag #wholenewmom!

How about you? Have you used saline sprays before?

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253 Comments

    1. Hi there. I just added some more information about this to the post just above the recipe card. Good question and thanks for asking that!

  1. My concern with your recipe is that you do not state distilled water. Tap water used in sinus has been known to cause brain parasites access such as amoebas. Please change recipe.

    1. Hi there. I did state in the post that tap water should not be used and I mentioned using filtered water. Hope that helps!

  2. Thank you,
    I have seen so many products from surprisingly “healthy “ sources that had unhealthy ingredients in them for the situation, that a product’s ingredients aren’t proof for me of their appropriate usage.
    Thanks for talking with me. ?

    1. You are so welcome. I have had to remove numerous companies off of my blog for a variety of reasons. I would be interested in hearing from the companies about their thoughts about the oils in their products.

  3. I was using Tea Tree essential oil until my naturopath told me that she had patients permanently lose their sense of smell from doing that. No amount of essential oils are safe to put in your nasal passages.

    1. Oh my goodness--did they put it straight / neat? That is very interesting b/c there are commercial preparations on the market with properly diluted essential oils so I would think that dilution is the key here.

      What do you think?

      1. No, just a drop or two in the solution. She said the membranes were so permeable that it just wasn’t safe.

  4. I think its great that you have put together this article that will help so many people. I wish I'd found it sooner! I myself use a bought a nasal spray that contains saline and essential oils that you mention. It contains manuka, oil, tea tree oil, etc and it has cured my sinus infection where all of the medical nasal sprays couldn't.

  5. Thank you for cautioning about potential for serious infections using tap water. I am not aware of any water filtration system that claims to make water sterile (Pureffect says it "filters out bacteria" but this is to say nothing of amoebas or making the water sterile) and this still potentially puts you are risk for infection. Tap water should be boiled for 5 minutes and allowed to return to room temperature before being used for nasal irrigation or making saline sprays.

  6. This is great that we can make our own saline solution, but how long does it last after you make some? Is there an expiration date/shelf life to keep it in a glass bottle?

    1. You have to be careful letting anything w/ water or aloe stand, especially outside the fridge, since it will grow bacteria. I wouldn't keep it around--I make it up every time I need it.

  7. Something to think about...you should never mix salt and colloidal silver together as it causes the silver to come out of solution. Both make great nasal spray just not mixed.
    -From an ND

  8. I have a cold and was using brand name nasal spray, I have previously used it for too long and made congestion worse. I took pseudoephedrine allergy medication to get off of it before. This time I dumped the bottle and used saline (now with boiled water after reading this) in the sprayer. It works great! The commercial medication ones work slightly better but are habit forming and will damage your nose. I have read of people using them for 10 years! I wish I knew about saline a long time ago.