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How to make smelling salts

Updated February 21, 2017

Smelling salts work their "magic" on the unconscious when the nose absorbs the odour through the mucous membranes making the swooner breathe faster. This faster breathing revives the patient and brings him back to consciousness. Old-fashioned salt concoctions used ammonia to revive a fainting patient. According to a fact sheet by the University of Maryland's Medical Center, eucalyptus oil is also a chief ingredient in this nose stimulant. You can make your own smelling salts using safe ingredients to keep on hand or in your first aid kit.

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  1. Pour 1/4 cup of sea salt into the glass bowl.

  2. Drop in the food colouring and mix well with a metal spoon.

  3. Add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to the coloured salt.

  4. Stir the oil into the salt with a metal spoon. If possible, avoid crushing the salt crystals.

  5. Cover the bowl with cling film and allow the salt to absorb the oil.

  6. You can leave the salt in a dark cupboard for 20 minutes or up to a day.

  7. Remove the plastic and with the metal spoon, place the salts in a small covered tin.

  8. Keep the tin closed unless using the smelling salts. Replace the salts when you are no longer knocked over by the scent when you open the tin.

  9. Use the salts by pinching a small amount between your forefinger and thumb. Gently wave the salts under the nose of the person who is fainting or has fainted.

  10. Tip

    Natural smelling salts may not revive someone who is unconscious due to serious medical problems. Call an ambulance if the person cannot be revived.


    Do not eat smelling salts. Keep them stored out of the reach of children.

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Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup of course sea salt
  • 20 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Glass bowl
  • 2 drops of food colouring
  • Metal spoon
  • Small tin with lid

About the Author

Monica Patrick

As a former senior sales director with Mary Kay and the co-owner of a renovation company, Monica Patrick has firsthand knowledge of small business operations. Besides start ups, she has extensive skills in recruiting, selling, leadership, makeup artistry and skin care.

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