How to cure cold sores naturally with salt

Updated February 21, 2017

Cold sores are not simply a cosmetic embarrassment, they can be terribly painful. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus, and the onset usually happens when the immune system is weakened by a cold or fever. There are many over the counter medicines that treat the pain and swelling associated with cold sores, but the best one can be found right in your kitchen. These remedies will usually work within 3 days, but because you are using salt be prepared for the first application to be slightly painful with a bit of light stinging.

Pour a small amount of salt into a bowl.

Press down on the salt with the back of a spoon until you crush most of it into powder.

Dip a sterile cotton swab into the salt, then apply to the cold sore. Leave on for 10 minutes and repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times per day.

Squeeze a small amount of toothpaste into a bowl. Do not use gel toothpaste for this step, as it does not have the same drying effect that the "paste" does.

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to the toothpaste.

Mix the toothpaste and salt together, and apply the mixture directly to the cold sore. Leave on overnight and rinse off in the morning.

Cut a lime into wedges.

Pour some salt onto a plate, and dip the lime wedge into the salt.

Place the salted lime wedge on to the cold sore, and apply gentle pressure. Hold on to the sore for at least 3 to 5 minutes. Repeat twice a day.


Always make sure your hands are clean when applying any of the salt treatments to your cold sore to prevent adding any bacteria to the area. Place an ice cube on your cold sore prior to treatment to help numb the area and prevent stinging from the salt application.


Wash hands after applying cold sore treatments. If the salt causes extreme stinging or burning, rinse off immediately with cold water.

Things You'll Need

  • Table salt
  • Bowl
  • Spoon
  • Cotton swab
  • Fever blister
  • Toothpaste (not gel)
  • Lime
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About the Author

A certified nutritionist who majored in health, fitness and nutrition, Traci Vandermark has been writing articles in her specialty fields since 1998. Her articles have appeared both online and in print for publications such as Simple Abundance, "Catskill Country Magazine," "Birds and Blooms," "Cappers" and "Country Discoveries."