Nasal irrigation can be very helpful in the treatment of a wide variety of problems, such as sinusitis, rhinitis and allergies. It is also very safe when done correctly. Even fairly young children have been able to learn how to use these techniques to reduce the need for other medical or surgical therapy. Click here to download this handout as a PDF.

It is very important to use clean water when mixing up these solutions. Although nasal irrigation is safe, there have been reports of life threatening and even a few fatal infections from the use of contaminated water. You must only use either boiled water, distilled water, or filtered water that has been passed through a 0.2 micron or smaller filter. To sterilize water by boiling, it should reach a rolling boil for at least one minute, or for three minutes at an altitude more than a mile above sea level.

Most nasal irrigation devices come with packages that are meant to be mixed with clean water to make the irrigating solution. While these packages are convenient (especially for travel purposes), you can also make your own irrigation solution in bulk if you prefer. This solution may be used in any one of the many available nasal rinse systems, such as the NeilMed® sinus rinse irrigation kit.

The nasal irrigation devices and the packages can be ordered directly from NeilMed® by phone (877-477-8633) or online (www.neilmed.com). In some cases, following the mixing directions produces a fairly strong irrigation solution that can cause stinging or burning. If that is the case, it is OK to use less of the package contents with each bottle of solution, to make a more diluted irrigation liquid. After a while, it may be possible to go back to using the full strength solution (which works better for keeping the nose decongested).


Bulk Irrigation Solution

  • 1 quart glass jar
  • 1 quart of boiled water
  • 3 rounded teaspoons of kosher or canning salt (i.e. salt with no iodine or preservatives)
  • 1 rounded teaspoon baking soda

  1. Wash, rinse and fill the jar with boiled water
  2. Add salt and baking soda
  3. Store in refrigerator and mix fresh batch weekly
  4. Stir or shake before each use, warm to room temperature

If the mixture is too strong, try reducing the salt content, then slowly work up to full strength. If your nose is dry, add 1 tablespoon of corn syrup to the mix.