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 over the counter or can be made easily at home:

  • Mix 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) salt and 0.5 tsp (2.5 g) baking soda in 1 cup (237 mL) of body-temperature water (too much salt dries out nasal membranes).
  • Place the solution in a clean bottle with a dropper (available at drugstores). Use as necessary. Make a fresh solution every 3 days.
  • Insert drops while lying on a bed. The person should be on his or her back and hang the head over the side of the bed. This helps the drops get farther back. Try to avoid touching the dropper to the nose, to avoid reinfection.
  • If the bottle does not have a dropper, use a bulb syringe and gently squirt the solution into the nose, or snuff the solution from the palm of the hand, one nostril at a time.

Saline sprays can be used safely for as long as needed.

Last Updated: August 15, 2008

Author: Shannon Erstad, MBA/MPH

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Donald R. Mintz, MD - Otolaryngology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.