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How to Make a Saline Solution

August 5, 2018 Health

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A saline solution can work wonders for a number of conditions, like sore throats, cuts, or skin infections. And the best part is it can be done in minutes with a quick raid of two ingredients from your kitchen. Keep reading to learn how to get your proportions right to create a solution that is natural and effective.


Method 1 In the Microwave

  1. Image titled Make a Saline Solution Step 1 Purchase either regular table salt or sea salt. Do not buy fancy, scented, coloured or flavoured salts; the salt needs to be as pure as possible. Make sure it’s iodine-free and lacks preservatives — if it’s anything but salt it could irritate your skin/nasal lining / whatever you’re using it for.
  2. Put a 1/2 teaspoon (2.5g) of salt into a cup. You want to mimic the concentration of salt or tears by creating a normal (the actual term) solution that’s 0.9% saline. 1/2 tsp is about right for fine table salt, but not for coarse sea salt, where the volume needed to obtain 2.5 g can be up to twice that of fine salt.[1] For kids, stay on the less-salty side; for adults, a bit saltier is okay. But just a bit!
    • If you like, some recipes say to add 1/2 a teaspoon or so of baking soda.[2] However, a normal solution doesn’t need it.
    • This is for 8 ounces of water. If you’re using more water, use more salt.
  3. Add 8 ounces (1 cup) of hot water and stir well. Zap it in the microwave for a minute or so, set it in your kettle, or otherwise somehow get it to a point where it’s hot but not boiling. You will need to run the microwave significantly longer than 1 minute to ensure sterility. Using a covered pyrex bowl works more quickly, but the top may become displaced by buildup of steam if heating is prolonged. Grab a spoon and help it dissolve.
    • Make sure it’s stirred well! If it’s cloudy or dirty, throw it out.
    • If you want to be extra careful, use distilled water (or water that has actually reached a boil). This makes sure everything is sterile and hygienic.[3]
  4. Depending on your situation either cleanse, submerge or gargle the saline solution. But make sure not to swallow it! For the record, it’s not intended for open wounds, either.
    • For piercings, do not submerge in water. Cleanse the area only, as the saline solution can leave the surrounding areas quite dry. Speak to a licensed professional for the best way to care for your new piercing.
    • For nail infections or other skin related infections (not open wounds) submerge the appendage in the saline 4 times a day. This method can take days to weeks to work, see a medical professional before it spreads, and if you see a red line traveling up your appendage go to the ER.
    • For a sore throat gargle morning and night, do not ingest the solution, though doing so by mistake will not harm you. If the sore throat persists after 2 days see a doctor.

Method 2 On the Stove

  1. Place 1 cup of water and 1/2 teaspoon of salt into a pan. That’s 8 ounces of water and about 2.5 grams of salt. Make sure the salt is iodide-free and lacks preservatives, coloring, scent, or any other fancy stuff that’s unnecessary.
    • 1/2 a teaspoon doesn’t seem like much, does it? For adults, it’s safe to add a bit more, but just a bit. You want to have a solution that’s similar to your own tears — that’s 0.9% saline.
  2. Bring to a boil for 15 minutes. Place the lid on from the start. If you do not use a lid, too much of the water will boil away and the solution will be too salty. Set the timer and walk away. If you need to prep something else at this juncture (like a neti pot or jar), do so now.
  3. Use your solution. The most common use for saline solution is to clear the sinuses, help a sore throat or to rinse contact lenses. Just make sure it’s safe and appropriate for whatever means you want to use it for.
    • If you’re gargling it, wait for it to cool down a tad so it doesn’t burn your throat — it should be very warm — not searingly hot. Same goes for using it in your nasal passageway or on your skin; you don’t want to exacerbate your problem!
  4. Pour the rest into a sterile jar, bottle, or cup. If you have extras that is. Make sure your container is sterile to ensure the solution stays effective. You can be sure it is by boiling it, too.

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Saline solution refers to a salt solution, which you can prepare yourself using readily available materials. The solution can be used as a disinfectant or sterile rinse. This recipe is for a salt solu


  • Throw out within 24 hours. If you do keep it (or some of it), place a lid on it and store it in an air-tight container for up to 24 hours. Any longer than that and it should be thrown out. After all, it’s just salt and water — you can make more again in a pinch. It’s very important the solution be fresh to be safe and effective.


  • If you are unsure if you have an infection see a doctor.
  • Do not boil the water; it should be hot enough that you can stand but not boiling. Boiling does not make it more effective.
  • If symptoms persist visit a doctor as soon as possible.

Things You’ll Need

Method One: In the Microwave

  • Pure table salt or sea salt
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Mug
  • Water
  • Spoon

Method Two: On the Stove

  • Pure table salt or sea salt
  • Water
  • Pot with lid
  • Spoon
  • Container (with lid, if keeping)

Original Article

How to Make a Saline Solution
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