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patient education : 08022--Nasal Saline Rinses (Irrigations)

Information about how to safely perform a nasal or sinus rinse.

Handout File:

PDF document icon PE08022_eng_Nasal Rinse.pdf — PDF document, 42 KB (43794 bytes)
  1. document content:

    Nasal Saline Rinses (Irrigations)

    1. Please wash your hands before handling the bottle.
    2. Fill your NeilMed® rinse bottle with 8 oz of warm water. You can microwave cool water for 30 seconds for desired temperature.
    3. KEY: Pay attention to the water you use. Do not rinse your nose with water you do not drink. If you do not drink your tap water, use distilled water for your rinses.
    4. Add packet to rinse. If you prefer to make your own salt solution, the recipe should be: ¼ tsp of kosher or sea salt, ¼ tsp baking soda to 8 oz of water.
    5. Tighten the cap on the bottle securely. Place one finger over the tip of the cap and shake the bottle gently to dissolve the mixture.
    6. Standing in front of a sink, bend forward and tilt your head down. Keeping your mouth open without holding your breath, put the cap against your nasal passage. Squeeze the bottle gently until ½ (120 mL) of the bottle is used. Expect that solution will drain from the opposite nasal passage or from your mouth. Try not to swallow the salt solution.  Some people find it easier to do this while in the shower.
    7. Repeat for other nasal cavity (120 mL).
    8. Following your rinse, tilt your head to the side and forward. Blow your nose gently. Remember that your cheek sinuses are like bowls, so by tilting to the side and forward residual solution may flow out of that sinus. Repeat for other side. If any solution has reached the back of your throat, it is safe to spit this out.
    9. Rinse once or twice a day or as directed by your physician
    10. If you have been prescribed a nasal steroid, use it 30 minutes after your saline sinus rinse is completed.
    11. Replace your rinse bottle every 3 months and after each treated sinus infection.  New rinse bottles and boxes of additional salt packets are available over the counter in the sinus and allergy section at most local grocery stores and pharmacies.  Supplies can also be purchased online.

    Cleaning Directions

    1. Look at the bottle and tube regularly for any cracks or changes in color.
    2. If there are any visual signs of deterioration or permanent color changes, please clean thoroughly.
    3. If the color changes remain after cleaning, discard the items and purchase new ones.
    4. Our recommendation is to replace the bottle every three months. We strongly suggest that you follow all these steps after each use of the product: 

    1.  Rinse the cap, tube and bottle using running water. Fill the bottle      with previously boiled, distilled or drinkable water.

    Always Use

    • distilled,
    • micro-filtered (through 0.2 micron)
    • commercially bottled or
    • boiled & cooled down water at lukewarm or body temperature.

    Please do not use tap or faucet water when using NeilMed's® nasal wash devices unless it has been boiled and cooled down.

    1. Add a few drops of dishwashing liquid or baby shampoo.
    2. Attach the cap and tube to the bottle; hold your finger over the      opening in the cap and shake the bottle vigorously.
    3. Then squeeze the bottle hard to allow the soapy solution to clean      the interior of the tube and the cap and empty out the bottle completely.
    4. Using a bottle and nipple brush, scrub the bottle, cap and tube      thoroughly. (Available at general merchandise or baby supply stores.)
    5. Rinse the soap from the bottle, cap and tube thoroughly, and place      the items on a clean paper towel to dry

    If you would like more information please visit:

    The disinfection protocol is available at:

    UVA does not endorse this particular product or manufacturer.  If you use another sinus rinse product, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.


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