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Normal Saline Solution

Thursday, 01 May 2014 22:47 Written by  Gary Griffin

Saline solution has many medical uses, and can be used as a sterile rinse and disinfectant. Saline solution can be purchased commercially, which is the recommended method if you are conducting IV therapy and wound management. However, you can make your own saline solution for basic first aid procedures, using common household items.

Normal Saline Solution

Uses for Homemade Saline Solution

  • Wound irrigation
  • Cleaning skin abrasions
  • Dental rinse 
  • Nasal irrigation

Normal saline solution requires two components, salt and water. Additionally, you will need items to boil water and to store your saline solution. 

  • Salt – It is best to use un-iodized table salt. Iodized table salt, the most common form, contains iodine which may cause issues. Avoid sea salt or rock salt, due to the chemicals added to them.
  • Water – It is best to use filtered or distilled water. If tap water is all that is available, ensure it is boiled.
  • Container – Once your saline solution is made, store it in a container for future use. A glass container is best; however a cleaned soda bottle will suffice. 

Any mixture of salt and water is technically considered a saline solution. However, some mixtures need to be more specific. For instance, if conducting wound cleaning and irrigation, you want to ensure you have the proper salinity and the solution is sterile. If you are using the solution for mouthwash, you can skip the sterilization process, and you can add extra salt and/or baking soda. 


Sterile Saline Solution

Sterile saline solution can be used for wound cleaning and irrigation. While sterile saline can be stored for a short period of time, it is best to make the amount needed for a given task. The following recipe makes one cup of solution; if you need more make a larger batch. 


1.Add one teaspoon of table salt to one cup of water (8 fluid ounces). Stir the mixture.

2.Boil the solution for four minutes, ensuring the salt is dissolved. 

3.Cover the pot and let the sterile saline cool.

4.Use immediately or store in a container. Stored sterile saline should be used in a few days, or if the container is opened. 


Sterilizing Containers


1.Add water to a large pot (enough to cover the container), and bring to a boil.

2.Once water has reached a rolling boiling, add the container to the water, including the lid.

3.Boil for 5-10 minutes.

4.Remove from water.

5.Add sterile saline to the container.

6.Close container and allow the container and solution to cool.

7.Using tape and a pen, write the date solution was made.


Mouth Rinse

A mouth rinse can be made using one cup of warm water, one teaspoon of table salt, and one teaspoon of baking soda. Boiling the solution is not necessary, since it does not require sterilization.


Nasal Irrigation

For nasal irrigation, combine one cup of warm water, ½ to teaspoon of salt, and a pinch of baking soda. This mixture should be added to a sinus rinse bottle or be drawn using a nasal bulb syringe. 

Last modified on Thursday, 01 May 2014 22:56
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