How to: Healing Sinus Infections With Salt Water

A sinus rinse using salt water will help you clear up a sinus infection and help you breathe better. The salt in the rinse creates an alkalizing environment that kills bacteria, according to the Pediatric Oncology Resource Center. Additionally, salt dehydrates mucus, which is a breeding ground for airborne pathogens. Chronic sinus infections can benefit from salt water rinses but also require a course of antibiotics. Whether you have an acute sinus infection that lasts for a few days or weeks, or you have a chronic condition -- which can last years -- you should talk to your doctor before using salt water for treating the condition.

Step 1

Combine 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and 1 cup of warm distilled water in a nasal douche, also known as a neti pot. Alternatively, you may use sea salt to prepare the salt-water solution. Carla Wilson, executive director of the Quan Yin Healing Arts Center in San Francisco, recommends tasting the solution before use, making sure the solution is half as salty as the sea.

Step 2

Stand over the bathroom sink. The sinus rinse may create a mess, so stand over the sink or tub and have a towel handy.

Step 3

Hold one nostril with your thumb and snort the salt water into the open nostril. Immediately remove your finger as you snort so the salt water can shoot into the nostril and discharge through either nostril. Water may also come out through your mouth.

Step 4

Combine a pinch of baking soda in a warm salt-water solution as an alternative to using plain salt water. Baking soda helps neutralize the salty taste of the rinse and it helps prevent recurrent infections. In fact, Dr. Bruce Jafek, M.D., professor and chairman of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, suggests using a pinch of baking soda in a sinus rinse for daily nasal cleansing. This practice prevents bacterial and fungal buildup and prevents sinus infections.

Things You'll Need

  • Neti pot

  • Sinus douche

  • Salt

  • Water

  • Towel


If you have recurrent sinus infections, talk to your health care provider.

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