Homemade saline solutions for a neti pot

Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images

A neti pot is a small container, typically ceramic, glass or metal, with a round spout shaped to fit the human nostril. People use neti pots to rinse their nasal cavities with salt water as a treatment for nasal congestion, colds and sinus problems.

Pharmacies sell over-the-counter saline preparations for neti pots, but the website of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic says you can make your own neti pot solution that’s just as effective as the ones you can buy at the drugstore.

Saline Solution

The Mayo Clinic’s recipe for a homemade saline solution for neti pots calls for dissolving 1/8 tsp of plain (non-iodised) table salt in 236ml. (1 cup) of distilled or purified bottled water. The salt solution should be lukewarm, not hot or cold. You can use tap water if you first boil it to drive out chemicals and impurities, then allow it to cool to room temperature.

Saline Solution Plus Baking Soda

Another homemade neti pot recipe, from the National Jewish Health website, calls for adding a half-teaspoon of non-iodised table salt plus 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to 236ml of purified water. The baking soda is supposed to ensure proper Ph balance and help the cleansing effect.

Bulk Quantity

You also can make neti pot solution by the quart, according to the Family Practice Notebook website. This spares you from having to make up solution for each treatment. Dissolve 2 or 3 tsp of non-iodised salt and 1 tsp baking soda in 1 qt. bottled water or boiled tap water. If you suffer from dry nose, you may add 1 tbsp corn syrup to the mixture. If the mixture is too strong, reduce salt by 1 tsp. Keep refrigerated. Pour out and warm 236ml. of solution for each treatment. Discard unused bulk solution after a week.

Neti Use

Using a neti pot is simple, says the Mayo Clinic website. Fill your neti pot with the lukewarm saline solution, tilt your head to one side over a sink and place the neti pot's spout in your upper nostril. While breathing through your mouth, slowly pour the solution into your nostril. It will flow through your nasal cavity and out the lower nostril. Then tilt your head in the other direction and repeat on the other side. If done correctly, there will be no discomfort. Repeat treatment as needed.