Nasal Wash/Rinse

A saltwater rinse for the inside of your nose will shrink swollen membranes, improve airflow and open sinus passages. Studies show that a mixture of concentrated salt water and baking soda (bicarbonate) helps the nose work better and move mucus out faster.

Buy a nasal wash kit or premixed solution at pharmacies and allergy supply stores or make your own. (See recipe below.) You will also need a bulb syringe, a large medical syringe (30cc) or a device with a sinus irrigator tip. Some people use a neti pot, which is like a teapot with a long spout. All these are available at pharmacies.

Fill your rinsing device with the saline solution.

Stand over the sink or in the shower and squirt the mixture into your left nostril, aiming the stream toward the back of your head, not the top. (Don’t inhale!) Tilt your head forward, touching your chin to your chest to allow excess solution to drain out of your nose. If it drains into your mouth instead, simply spit it out. Ideally, the solution squirted into the left nostril will swirl around the back of your nose and come out the right side. Relax – it really won’t make you choke!

Repeat the process with the right nostril. Continue alternating nostrils several times until you run out of solution.

If you notice a mild burning sensation in your nose, reduce the amount of salt.

For children: You can put the solution into a small spray container, like a saline spray bottle. Squirt it several times into each side of the nose. The child should not lie down; it’s easier and more comfortable to do when sitting or standing. 

Nasal Wash Recipe

  • 1 cup distilled water

  • 1 teaspoon “pickling/canning” salt or Kosher salt (avoid using table salt, which has unwanted additives, such as iodine); use ¼ teaspoon for children.

  • 1 pinch baking soda (pure sodium bicarbonate)

Carefully clean and rinse a glass jar, then fill with 1 cup distilled water. Stir in salt and baking soda. Store at room temperature up to one week.