What is a Sinus Nasal Wash?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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A sinus nasal wash is a liquid that is used in the process of nasal irrigation. Nasal washes can be helpful in a number of situations, including allergies, asthma, or a stuffy nose due to a cold or flu. It is possible to prepare a home remedy nasal wash, as well as obtain over the counter and prescription washes.

In general, there are several basic benefits to using a sinus nasal wash when something has triggered a stuffy nose. First, the wash will help to clear mucus that may be partially blocking the nasal passages. At the same time, the sinus nasal wash may reduce swelling in the nasal passages that occurred due to the presence of some irritant.

When allergies are the root cause of the discomfort, a good quality sinus nasal wash will help to remove the allergens from the nasal passages. This effectively removes the contaminants and allows the tender tissues in the nose to return to normal. The wash will also help clear the passages of any bacteria or viruses that may be present, thus decreasing the potential for infection and further complications.


Making a sinus nasal wash at home is very simple. All that is required is regular table salt and some warm water. There are a number of differences in the recommendations for the amount of salt to use. Some folk remedies call for using a very small amount in a glass of water at first, only increasing the salt content if no relief is achieved.

Some recipes for a home sinus nasal wash include the use of a pinch of baking soda along with the salt. Generally, non-iodized salt is recommended, since iodized salt can sometimes irritate the nasal passages rather than bringing relief. Use a half glass of the solution at first; if the congestion lingers, follow with the second half. Never save unused portions for later use; make a fresh batch of this home remedy just before every use.

For people who prefer to go with an over the counter product, there are a number of nasal drops and washes found in most pharmacies, as well as the drug section in most supermarkets. The mode of administration may vary; some products are equipped with droppers, making it possible to incrementally administer the drops into each nostril. Others call for flooding the nasal passages in order to achieve some amount of relief.

In some cases, it may be necessary to use a prescription-strength sinus nasal wash. Your doctor can assess your condition and determine if this is the right option. Keep in mind that the physician may recommend using an over the counter product or a saline solution made at home before writing the prescription. This is because the prescription medication may include steroids or other ingredients that would not be right for you.



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