Saline Nasal Sprays and Nose Drops

Nonprescription saline nasal sprays and nose drops are used to keep nasal tissues moist, relieve nasal irritation, and help thick or dried mucus to drain.

Saline nose drops can be purchased without a prescription or can be made easily at home. To make your own nose drops:

  • Mix ½ tsp (2.5 g) salt and ½ tsp (2.5 g) baking soda in 1 cup (240 mL) of distilled water (too much salt dries out nasal membranes). If you use tap water, boil it first to sterilize it, and then let it cool until it is lukewarm.
  • Place the solution in a clean bottle with a dropper or a squeeze bottle (available at drugstores). You can also use a bulb syringe. Use as needed. Make a fresh solution every 3 days.

To use the nose drops:

  • Sit down, and tilt your head back slightly. Do not lie down. Put the tip of the dropper, bulb syringe, or squeeze bottle a little way into one nostril. Gently drip or squirt a few drops into the nostril. Repeat for your other nostril. Wipe the dropper with a clean cloth or tissue after each use.
  • If the bottle does not have a dropper, the solution can be snuffed from the palm of the hand, one nostril at a time.

Current as of: November 20, 2015

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology