Saline Solution for Sinus Rinses/Nasal Irrigation

Guide To Effective Sinus Rinses

This is a guide to help you learn about sinus rinses. It answers questions like:

• Why should I rinse my sinuses?
• What should I rinse them with?
• How is a sinus rinse done?
• What devices do people use to rinse their sinuses?

Find what you want to know in the Quick Links below, then click on that link to skip to that topic. 

But if you want to start from the beginning, start reading here. If you want to know what works best for me, click here

 

 

Quick Links . . .

Why Sinus Rinses Are Good for You
What You Should Rinse With
NEVER Use Tap Water
Recipe to Make Your Own Sinus Rinse
Rinse Solution Hints & Tips
Pre-Mixed Sinus Rinse Packets
Tools for Sinus Rinses
Neti Pots
Squeeze Bottles
Alkalol Nasal Wash
SinuPulse Elite System
Grossan Hydro Pulse System
NeilMed Singulator
WaterPik SinuSense
What Works for Me

 

Why Sinus Rinses Are Good For Sinus Health

My ENT doctor said that one of the purposes of the sinuses is to act as filters for the air that we breathe. Our sinuses collect airborne debris like pollens, dusts, germs, molds and other allergens to prevent them from entering our lungs.

But if pollens and other allergens are allowed to stay in the sinuses too long they become irritants and your body will react to them. Sneezing and coughing, stuffy or runny nose, itchy or watery eyes are signs that your body is trying to remove the irritants itself.

He recommended that I do regular sinus rinses to keep my sinuses clean and moist. Flushing those pollutants out regularly is the first step to avoiding the chronic sinus problems I was having.

Made sense to me. It’s just like washing your hands often to keep from catching a cold or the flu

Getting rid of the irritants that build up in our sinuses is an effective, homeopathic way to relieve chronic sinus symptoms that often lead to sinus infections. 

For many people regular sinus rinses replace the need to use all the antihistamines, allergy pills and nasal sprays.

 Don’t Stop with Sinus Rinses

A sinus rinse is a very effective way to keep your sinus membranes clean and healthy. But it’s only one of the three things my doctor wanted me to do to help cure my sinus problems.

He said that to get my sinuses working right I needed to do regular sinus rinses. I also needed to do two other things that he said were just as important.

  1. Drink more water to keep my body hydrated. Turns out if you aren’t well  hydrated your mucous membranes won’t do their job efficiently. Apparently dehydration is a major factor in many people’s sinus problems.
  2. Inhale steam 2-to-4 times a day. He said that inhaling steam regularly keeps sinuses, throat and lungs clean and moist and helps increase overall hydration.

 

Inhaling Steam – Now Everyone Can Benefit

I finally found a revolutionary handheld steam inhaler that is easy and convenient to use. Now you really can inhale steam 2-to-4 times a day.  Read my review here.

 

 

The Saline Solution for Sinus Rinses

The solution used for sinus rinses is basically salt water (saline) and baking soda. You can buy pre-mixed packets (find out more about what’s available here) or you can make your own saline solution.

If you’re new to sinus rinses and decide to mix your own saline solution, I suggest you begin with the most basic saline solution recipe (many people rinse with this exclusively). Use the basic solution to master the sinus rinsing process and get comfortable with it. This won’t take long.

Some people add other ingredients like essential oils (for example eucalyptus oil) to the saline solution. They do this to help loosen and remove the accumulated mucus.

It’s easy to experiment by adding other ingredients until you find the one that works best for you. But you need to be cautious and only add a drop at a time. If you make your saline solution too strong your sinus rinse will sting and be quite unpleasant.

 

Never Use Tap Water for Sinus Rinses

Sinus rinse water must be sterile/pure. And pure drinking water isn’t the same as pure water for a sinus rinse.

The reason for this is that tap water might contain a deadly amoeba that can kill you if it gets into your sinus passages. So be sure to follow this rule – NEVER use tap water to make a saline solution! If you must, boil it first.

Whether you create a homemade solution or use one of the premixed packets sold for sinus rinses, all the experts say NEVER use tap water. Use only pure water, that is:

      • distilled water
      • sterilized water
      • properly filtered water or
      • previously boiled water.

Remember, water pure enough to drink is not the same as water pure enough for a sinus rinse. Boiling water is easy enough – just do it!  Why take the chance?

 

Make Your Own Saline Solution for Sinus Rinses

This basic sinus rinse recipe makes eight ounces of saline solution. Eight ounces is the amount most commonly used for nasal irrigation and it ‘s usually enough to effectively flush both nostrils.

It’s the amount that most pre-mixed packets make, and it’s the amount that many nasal irrigation devices are made to hold.

Recipe Ingredients

1 cup (8 oz.) distilled water
1 teaspoon salt (if you add a little more for more “cleaning power” it may sting)
1/8-to-1/4 teaspoon baking soda

Step-by-Step Directions

1. Warm the water so that it is warm but not hot (25-28 seconds in my microwave)
2. Add the salt and baking soda to your saline solution container.
3. Add the warm water and mix/shake/stir to combine.
4. Follow directions for using your sinus rinse container.
5. Make sure to rinse out your container after use and leave it open to air-dry.

Note: The container on some sinus rinse devices can be microwaved so you can mix the solution first and then warm it.

 

Saline Solution Hints, Tips and Observations

I’m not a doctor so the following are not medical recommendations. They are only observations from my personal experiences performing regular sinus rinses.

      • Always use only distilled water
      • Use pure kosher salt to prevent irritation. The salt must be additive-free in order to be labeled Kosher. Standard table salt may have additives like iodine, anti-caking agents, silicon dioxide and even sugar.
      • The neti-pot gravity flow doesn’t work as well for me. The force of a spraying action cleans my sinuses better. I use the NeilMed squeeze bottle because it’s simple to control the force and I prefer the taste (or non-taste) of the NeilMed packets.
      • After getting the saline solution into your nose, inhale a bit and hold some of it in your nose for a few seconds, and then blow out. For me, this technique helps loosen the mucous and I think I get a better cleaning action.
      • I sometimes add a teaspoon or two of Alkalol to the 8 oz sinus rinse solution. I think it helps with the cleaning and I like the fresh, clean feeling I have afterwards.
      • Some advise against continual use of saline washes. I found this article interesting. It might not be a good idea to do sinus rinses year-round.

 

Pre-Mixed Sinus Rinse Packets

NeilMed Pre-Mixed Saline Solution Packets for Nasal IrrigationMany companies sell pre-mixed packets and most are fairly inexpensive, but the ingredients are not identical. I use the NeilMed packets because I don’t like the taste of some of the other brands I have tried.

 

Cost Comparison of Sinus Rinse Pre-Mixed Packets

Nasal Sinus Rinse Packets Cost Comparison


So, if you plan to use the pre-mixed packets of sinus rinse solution, test a small quantity to make sure the taste is acceptable.

These companies offer inexpensive starter kits (all under $15) and they all include some pre-mixed packets:

NeilMed
NeilMed Pediatric Kit
DrNatural
NasoPure
SinuCleanse
Squip Nasaline
SquipNasaline Junior
Ayr
Xlear (with Xylitol)

When you decide on the one you like best, buy them in quantity to get the best price.

Click here see the best value I’ve found for the NeilMed packets. I prefer the taste of these and when you order the 2 pack you get 200 packets (about 13¢ each).

 

Alkalol Nasal Wash

Alkalol Nasal Wash Saline SolutionI stumbled across Alkalol after I’d been doing sinus rinses for a while. It’s not some new product, turns out it’s been around for over 100 years, since 1896. I liked that there are only natural ingredients like wintergreen, spearmint, and cinnamon in it, so I gave it a try.

Adding Alkalol to the saline solution really improves the cleaning that I get. I also like how fresh and clear my sinuses feel after using it.

I only add a little to the 8 oz. saline solution so the 16 oz. bottle lasts a long time.

 

 

Tools for Sinus Rinses

Lots of tools exist but they can be grouped into three basic types:

      • No Power – These all work by just pouring the water into one nostril and letting it flow out the other, or by forcing into one nostril from a squeeze bottle. The shapes vary and some are made from ceramic, others from plastic.
      • Plug into A/C – These are the most elaborate offering various attachments, features and adjustments. They are also the most expensive.
      • Battery Power – These are handheld and are powered by three AA batteries.

All of the devices come with a supply of pre-mixed packets to get you started.

 

The Neti Pot (no power)

NeilMed Neti Pot for Sinus RinsesNasal irrigation using the Neti pot began in the practice of yoga and has been around for centuries. Many companies make neti pots. They are inexpensive and there are many to choose from. 

Gravity is the only thing causing the sinus rinse solution to flow in one nostril and out the other. A neti pot is usually packaged with a some quantity of pre-mixed sinus rinse  packets.

Click here to view the large variety of neti pots.

Squeeze Bottles (no power)

There are many brands of squeeze bottles for sinus rinses: NeilMed, SinuCleanse, WaterPik, SinuPulse, SinuSense and probably more. All perform the same function of forcing the sinus rinse into one nostril.

Squeeze Bottle for Sinus RinsesPersonally I prefer using the squeeze bottle over a neti pot. Making the water flow through faster seems to give me better results. And it’s very easy to slow down the flow if I want to. 

A squeeze bottle is an inexpensive way to get started with sinus rinses. You can get a squeeze bottle and some saline solution packets for around $10.00 on Amazon.Com. Click here to see all the squeeze bottles available. Many companies offer them so scroll down the page.

 

SinuPulse Elite Nasal Sinus Irrigation System (plug in)

SinuPulse Elite for Sinus RinsesA lot of people say the pulsating sinus rinse that this machine delivers works better for them.

 



Click here to read owner’s reviews of the SinuPulse Elite.

 

The Grossan Hydro Pulse (plug in)

Grossan HydroPulse Nasal Irrigation System for Sinus RinsesOther people say they prefer this machine’s pulsating sinus rinse and that it works better for them.

 

 

 

Click here to read reviews written by owners of the Grossan Hydro Pulse.

 

NeilMed Sinugator Cordless (battery power)

The NeilMed Sinulator Cordless for Sinus RinsesThis is a simple battery-driven device that provides a pulsating nasal irrigation.

I used one of these for a couple of weeks until it died. Water got into the battery compartment. Don’t know how you can keep this from happening.

Other reviewers of this device also say that the pulsating action is better for loosening and flushing the mucous out. Some also complain of the battery problem.

Click here for owner’s reviews of the NeilMed Sinugator.

 

The WaterPik SinuSense (battery power)

The WaterPik SinuSense for Sinus RinsesThis is another simple battery-driven device that provides a pulsating nasal irrigation. I tried one of these for a while also but had the same problem with water getting into the battery compartment. 

 

Many reviewers say that the pulsating action is better for loosening and flushing the mucus out. And many complain of the battery problem.

Click here for owner’s reviews of the WaterPik SinuSense.

 

 

The Bottom Line – What Works For Me

After being frustrated with failing devices, I’ve come to the conclusion that simpler is better. I haven’t tried using all of the above devices but I have been doing sinus rinses for over four years now.  

I’ve settled on the squeeze bottle.  It’s pretty darn simple and nothing much can go wrong. Of course, the simplest is the neti pot, but for me just letting the water run through my nose isn’t as effective.

Don’t Forget, Inhale Steam Regularly Too

Combining sinus rinses with steam inhalation has made all the difference for me. I’ve been doing both for over four years now and my chronic sinus problems have almost disappeared.

Read about my experiences with personal steam inhalers.

Want To Read Something Again? Use These Links

Go back to the Quick Links at the top of the review, or use the links below to go directly to what interests you.

Information Links
Why Sinus Rinses Are Good for Sinus Health
Inhaling Steam – Now Everyone Can Benefit
Sinus Rinses – Don’t Stop There
The Saline Solution for Sinus Rinses
Don’t Use Tap Water for Sinus Rinses
Sinus Rinse Recipe – How To Make Your Own Saline Solution
   
Sinus Rinsing Hints, Tips and Observations
Pre-Mixed Sinus Rinse Packets
     Cost Comparison of Sinus Rinse Pre-Mixed
     Alkalol Nasal Wash
Product Links
Tools for Sinus Rinses
     
Neti Pot
     
Squeeze Bottles
     
SinuPulse Elite
     
Grossan Hydro Pulse
     
NeilMed Sinugator
     
WaterPik SinuSense
The Bottom Line – What Works For Me
 
   
Don’t Forget, Inhale Steam Regularly Too


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