Homemade Saline Nasal Spray (plus usage tips)

The information provided in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

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.


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 (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 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 natural allergy remedy
  • To moisten sinus passages 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 Nasal 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 :).)  Note – please emulsify essential oils before using them on your body.
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.

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.


    Speak Your Mind


  1. Sorry for the double post, I wanting to add something about baking soda. It’s a preservative/PH buffering agent. I literally just made some Hydromorphone [Dilaudid] nasal spray and added 3 pinches of sea salt, 3 pinches of baking soda to adjust the PH with distilled water. You have to filter the binders from the tablets for better absorption. It’s very easy to do with some research. I’m not going into detail as I’m not a Dr. just lots of trial and error, haha. I hope this post helps anyone with pain issues that needs this class of meds. Kava kava and turmeric are great for pain also far as natural goes! Sorry for my rant, thanks.

  2. Hi, I used manuka honey for a nasty H pylori infection I had in my stomach. It’s good stuff, and tastes amazing! Only downside is it’s pretty pricey [around $30 The BEST nnatural antibiotic is MASTIC GUM500mg twice daily, preferrably from Chios island [Greece]. I’m Greek too btw and I SWEAR by those 2! Take care, love your site. Peace

  3. Would Himalayan salt work?

  4. mary robertson says:

    Thank you, I don’t want to buy the saline solution in the stores, cause I don’t know what is really in them. I like to make natural homemade thing.

  5. Chris Snyder says:

    Thanks for this. I came here looking for how much salt to add. I use 1 tsp sea salt in 4 oz water for a sinus flush and get no burn. Maybe regular table salt burns more.

  6. Chris Snyder says:

    I “winged” it after forgetting my doctor’s directions… 1 tsp sea salt in half cup water – doesn’t burn. I use an ear syringe, lie on bed with head hanging over with nasal openings straight up (holding a few paper towels) and fill sinuses with about 25 ml – some drains down throat. Hold it in for a minute or two, then hold paper towels over nose and get up, go to sink and let it drain. After a few minutes, I nose and can hear it in my ears, which I don’t think happened when I did this years ago. I modified the saline mix with 10 drops of 2% iodine tincture in 4 oz solution (not decolorized or the kind with ammonia or acetone in it), AND because of long term problems with mould, I let four 500,000 units of nystatin (topical antifungal) dissolve in solution. Got to stir/swirl it around just before pulling it into syringe. Now I don’t need the Dristan stuff and when I eat normal amounts of sugar or cut grass my sinuses don’t swell up (they did a bit yesterday after 12 pancakes/syrup, large orange juice, and a piece cake, but okay now). Makes it so I have more energy too. Had forgetten about this flush out method – MUCH better than the nasal spray. I also put some of this in an old nasal spray bottle. Rinsing sinuses twice a week does fine – maybe spray a couple times a day.

  7. would it still work if your blow your nose immediately after using the saline, or does that defeat the purpose.

    • I hold it in for 10 seconds to aid in cleaning my sinuses but any application should have some beneficial aspect. However I can’t make medical claims.

  8. All good info. Thanks….Just a tip .any benefit from .silver is negated when it is added to a salt solution. I read it in a couple of places.. I use the silver in a nasal spray separate from my homemade saline now.
    Also it seems that 1 tsp salt may be excessive according to all the other recipes I have seen..maybe it works better though…but I’m afraid it may burn more

    • Interesting. Thanks. I have never found my silver to be very helpful. Probably I need a different brand. Yes, it’s strong. It’s up to you how strong you want it.

    • Chris Snyder says:

      My sinuses don’t burn with 1 tsp sea salt in 4 ounces water but that might change if my sinuses get better (maybe gunk/scar tissue shielding mucus membrane). In the past, I felt a burn (probably 1 tsp / 8 oz water), but was using table salt.

  9. Another really great and informative post.

    I just recently began using a neti pot regularly this past winter after I kept battling colds (which I eventually found out were from chronic mold exposure.). The neti pot has been a blessing. I look forward to making your recipe. Thank you.

    I wanted to ask you if you’ve ever made your own essential oil infusted neti salt? We recently purchased some pre-made by a company called Baraka. They have great products, but I’ve been wondering if I can make my own infused neti salt to save money in the long run, as well as making different blends.

    All the best.

  10. Thanx, great!

    But what is the effect of adding baking soda? May I add a little menthol to the mix?

    • It makes the solution more tolerable. I would be very careful about adding anything so please study the effects of putting that in your nose and be very very cautious. You can talk about it w/ your physician as well.