Saline lavage of the nasal cavity can be helpful in patients with rhinitis. Homemade solutions have been reported to perform as well as commercial preparations.

Theoretical benefits:

(1) removal of thickened nasal mucus by the flow of a saline solution, which may be beneficial if the air is dry or the patient dehydrated

(2) removal of allergens deposited in the mucus

(3) improvement in the function of ciliated cells


Osmolarity for recipes: hypo to hyper (140 to 788 mmol/L)

pH for recipes: alkaline (7.88 to 8.50)




Baking Soda


University of Iowa

1.5 level teaspoons


950 mL

American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, Immunology

3 heaped teaspoons

1 rounded teaspoon

1,000 mL


0.5 teaspoon


250 mL

Auckland City Hospital

0.5 teaspoon

0.5 teaspoon

480 mL

from Lilic et al



(1) water should be distilled or filtered

(2) sterility of the water used to make the solution: should be boiled first then cooled

(3) temperature of the water at preparation: the higher the temperature the easier the dissolution of the chemicals

(4) preparation and storage container: should at least be clean and rinsed with sterilized hot water; ideally should be sterilized

(5) temperature of the water at time of use: too hot and there could be thermal injury; too cold could be unpleasant and less effective; body temperature (37°C) may be ideal; above 45°C increases risk

(6) storage of prepared solution: should be refrigerated

(7) closure of storage container: should have a tight-fitting closure

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