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How to Make Saline Solution

Views: 10     Author: Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.     Publish Time: 2020-03-25      Origin: ThoughtCo

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How to Make Saline Solution

You can prepare the solution using common ingredients

By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.

Updated November 01, 2019

The term saline solution refers to a salt solution, which you can prepare yourself using readily available materials. The solution can be used as a disinfectant or sterile rinse or for lab work. This recipe is for a salt solution that is normal, meaning it is the same concentration as, or isotonic to, body fluids. The salt in a saline solution discourages bacterial growth while rinsing away contaminants. Because the salt composition is similar to that of the body, it causes less tissue damage than you would get from pure water.


Technically, a saline solution results whenever you mix any salt with wate. However, the easiest saline solution consists of sodium chloride (table salt) in water. For some purposes, it's fine to use a freshly mixed solution. In other cases, you'll want to sterilize the solution.

Keep the purpose in mind when you mix the solution. If, for example, you are simply rinsing your mouth with saline solution as a dental rinse, you can mix any amount of table salt with warm water and call it good. If, however, you are cleaning a wound or want to use the saline solution for your eyes, it's important to use pure ingredients and maintain sterile conditions.

Here are the ingredients:

  • SaltYou can use salt from the grocery store. It's best to use non-iodized salt, which doesn't have iodine added to it. Avoid using rock salt or sea salt, since the added chemicals may cause problems for some purposes.

  • WaterUse distilled water or reverse osmosis purified water instead of ordinary tap water.

Use 9 grams of salt per liter of water, or 1 teaspoon of salt per cup (8 fluid ounces) of water.


For a mouth rinse, simply dissolve the salt into very warm water. You might wish to add a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate).

For a sterile solution, dissolve the salt in boiling water. Keep the solution sterile by placing a lid on the container so that no microorganisms can get into the liquid or airspace as the solution cools.

You can pour the sterile solution into sterile containers. Sterilize containers either by boiling them or by treating them with a disinfecting solution, such as the type sold for home brewing or making wine. It's a good idea to label the container with the date and to discard it if the solution isn't used within a few days. This solution could be used for treating new piercings or for wound care.

It's important to avoid contaminating the liquid, so ideally make just as much solution as you need at a time, allow it to cool, and discard leftover liquid. The sterile solution will remain suitable for lab use for several days in a sealed container, but you should expect some degree of contamination once it is opened.

Contact Lens Solution

Although it's the proper salinity, this solution isn't suitable for contact lenses. Commercial contact lens solution contains buffers that help protect your eyes and agents to help keep the liquid sterile. Although homemade sterile saline could work to rinse lenses in a pinch, it isn't a viable option unless you are familiar with aseptic techniques and use lab-grade chemicals.





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