Make Or Buy Sinus Rinse?

August 12, 2023


I am a judgment broker that writes often. Many people (however not me, although I used to rinse my sinuses often during the recovery of my three sinus surgeries) are helped by rinsing their sinuses. Such rinses can help to prevent crusting and/or blockage within the sinus and nasal areas.

If one rinses occasionally, or once per day; NeilMed’s very convenient premixed single-use salt packets make a lot of sense. When you buy a box of 250, their salt packets cost about 9 cents each; and they include two free sinus rinse squeeze bottles. And, Costco just started carrying the 250 packs, at less than 8 cents each.

However, if one needs to rinse several or many times a day; they might soon think about making their own salt rinsing solution, to attempt to save money. Some people have used contact lens saline solution, because it is sterile and available at every drugstore; however that sure does not save any money.

For most, the water is more of a hassle, and more expensive to prepare, than the required salt mixture. If the water is not clean enough, there may be the risk of a serious infection. Nasal rinse water should be pure, either bottled or distilled, or very well filtered. If you use tap water, it must be boiled and cooled, soon before use.

I have a reverse osmosis water filter system that includes 0.2 micron sediment, carbon, and de-ionization filters. Because my drinking water has zero parts per million of dissolved solids, I think that is good enough; and then of course, I microwave the water.

If you sometimes add extra ingredients to your sinus salt rinsing solution, such as Manuka honey (up to a teaspoon, after your water is heated, because honey should not be overheated); it does not matter if you use prepackaged salt packets or make your own rinsing solution.

I was using Manuka honey, because so many say that it is helpful for their sinus health. While it is too early for me to share any kind of conclusive benefits from using Manuka honey; it seems to help, and does make rinsing slightly sweeter. However, it is very messy and sticky, so it is best to use it only on one rinsing device, and that device should be cleaned more often (and honey takes much longer to mix than salt). I wish Manuka honey came in a squeeze bottle, instead of a jar. If you are bold, you can use other things like hot pepper, oil of oregano, or grapefruit extract. Using those additives really boosts the mucus clearing ability of a sinus rinse session.

Some people make their own saline nasal rinsing solution, usually one batch at a time. Making your own nasal rinse solution means balancing water, salt, and baking soda. The baking soda makes rinsing more comfortable. With too little or too much of any ingredient, it might sting when you rinse. When the right combination is found, there should be no burning sensation at all. To make a single-use batch of your own nasal rinsing solution, use a recipe such as this:

In a clean container (possibly your rinsing device), start with a cup of pure water, then add salt and baking soda. How much to use of both, usually requires some experimentation. Start with a 1/2 a teaspoon of salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda. After some experimentation, you may end up using up to a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, depending on what feels right. Preferably, use a pure salt such as pickling, Kosher, or canning salt.

If you plan to make a large quantity of nasal rinsing solution, keep in mind that it degrades after about 4 days; and must be stored in the refrigerator. I am busy, and was willing to pay a little more for the speed, convenience, and uniformity, of NeilMed’s single-use salt packets.

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