Saline Nasal Washes for Sinusitis

Saline Nasal Washes for Sinusitis

Overview

Saltwater washes (saline lavage or irrigation) help keep the nasal passages open by washing out thick or dried mucus. They can also help improve the function of cilia that help clear the sinuses. This can help prevent the spread of infection to the other sinuses and reduce postnasal drip. It also can make the nose feel more comfortable by keeping the mucous membranes moist.

Do your saltwater (saline) wash before you use your other nasal medicines. The wash will help your sinuses absorb the medicine.

  1. Make your saltwater solution.
    1. Add 1 cup (237 mL) distilled water to a clean container.

      If you use tap water, boil it first to sterilize it. Let it cool until it's lukewarm.

    2. Add 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) salt to the water.
    3. Add 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) baking soda.
  2. Wash your sinuses.
    1. Warm the solution a little, if you want.

      But make sure it's not hot.

    2. Fill a large medical syringe, squeeze bottle, or nasal cleansing pot (such as a Neti Pot) with the saline solution.
    3. Insert the tip into your nostril, and squeeze gently.
      • Aim the stream of saline solution toward the back of your head, not toward the top.
      • The saline wash should go through the nose and out the mouth or the other side of the nose.
  3. Blow your nose gently after the saline wash unless your doctor has told you not to blow your nose.

The saline wash may cause a burning feeling in your nose the first few times you use it. Most people get used to the wash after a few times.

  • Repeat several times every day.
  • Clean the syringe or bottle after each use.
  • You can store homemade saline solution at room temperature for 3 days.

Credits

Current as of: December 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Patrice Burgess MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Donald R. Mintz MD - Otolaryngology

Disclaimer: The information contained in this website, and its associated websites, is provided as a benefit to the local community, and the Internet community in general; it does not constitute medical advice. We try to provide quality information, but we make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this website and its associated sites. As medical advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each patient and healthcare is constantly changing, nothing provided herein should be used as a substitute for the advice of a competent physician. Furthermore, in providing this service, Adventist HealthCare does not condone or support all of the content covered in this site. As an Adventist health care organization, Adventist HealthCare acts in accordance with the ethical and religious directives for Adventist health care services.

Find a Doctor

Find an Adventist HealthCare affiliated doctor by calling our FREE physician referral service at 800-642-0101 or by searching our online physician directory.

View Doctors

Set Your Location

Setting your location helps us to show you nearby providers and locations based on your healthcare needs.