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Saline sinus rinses can bring relief to patients with chronic sinus or rhinitis problems without the use of medication. If you suffer from chronic or acute sinus infections, at-home sinus rinses can be administered at your discretion and may be helpful in thinning out excessive mucus. If you have allergic rhinitis, these rinses can bring relief by removing allergens from the nostrils and sinuses.

Although easy to use, the rinsing process may seem unusual at first and may take time to get used to. Several commercial sinus rinse devices are available without a prescription. They are convenient to use and can be found in most pharmacies. However, you can also make your own rinse at home with only two ingredients and at a fraction of the cost.

Saline Rinse Recipe


  1. Pickling or canning salt – containing no iodine, anti-caking agents or preservatives (these can be irritating to the nasal lining).
  2. Baking soda


In a clean container, mix three heaping teaspoons of iodine-free salt with 1 rounded teaspoon of baking soda and store in a small airtight container. Add 1 teaspoon of the mixture to 8 ounces (1 cup) of lukewarm distilled  (or boiled) water.

Use less dry ingredients to make a weaker solution if burning or stinging is experienced. For children, use a half-teaspoon of the mixture with 4 ounces of water.

Instructions for use

  1. Using a soft rubber ear bulb syringe, infant nasal bulb, or a commercial nasal saline rinse product from your drug store,, draw up saline mixture. Tilt your head downward over a sink (or in the shower) and rotate head to the left. Squeeze approximately 4 ounces of solution gently into the right (top) nostril. Breathe normally through your mouth. In a few seconds the solution should come out through your left nostril. Rotate your head to the right and repeat the process in the left nostril.
  2. Adjust your head position as needed so the solution does not go down the back of your throat or into your ears.
  3. Blow your nose very gently to prevent the solution from going into your ear and causing discomfort.
  4. After using the rinse, you may continue using your prescribed nasal medications as normal. You may notice that they work better.

Do not use sinus rinses if your nasal passageway is severely blocked. As with any medical product, be sure to speak to your doctor about using sinus rinses and stop using if you experience pain, nosebleeds or other problems.

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