Saline solution is something we purchase regularly in our house. Not limited to eye and contact lens care, saline solution can also be used for wound irrigation and as a nasal rinse. We use it in a neti pot when we’re congested due to allergies or to treat sinus infections.
And though it consists of two very basic components – salt and water – it hadn’t even occurred to this DIY-er to make it at home. Until now.
I’m pretty unconventional and seek out opportunities to make products myself that companies would have us believe need to be purchased for our own good (safety, convenience, etc).
However, I approached saline solution with a bit of trepidation, mainly because of the importance of keeping things sterile (which, for some reason, scares me away).
Thankfully, making your own saline solution is a relatively simple procedure. Before you proceed, though, I recommend reading through these safety tips, as you need to be extra cautious if you intend to use this for your contacts.
Keeping your solution sterile, especially if you’re using it for contact lens storage, is essential for reducing the risk of serious eye infection that can result from getting harmful bacteria in your eyes.
A report issued by the FDA to eye care professionals recommended that contact solution DIY-ers keep their saline sterile by making new solution on a daily basis and sterilizing storage bottles in boiling water on a weekly basis.
Doing so reduces the risk of serious eye infections caused by improper use of homemade saline solution. (It also notes that eye infection can result from improper use of commercial solution as well.)
Wash your hands
Use containers with small openings
I used a regular mouth canning jar for my saline solution. However, I’d much prefer to use squirt bottles of some kind with a top. (Find some here.) This would make it easier to pour the solution (for whatever purposes) and make it faster for me to recap the solution.
Ready to move past the warnings? Ok…in a minute.
I realize that it’s important to add disclaimers so people proceed with caution, however, I also believe that you are a responsible adult who is able to use discernment in making decisions and employ common sense.
If you are willing to do so when using homemade saline solution, you will most likely be very pleased with the results. If you do use it on your contacts and notice any unusual pain, itching or eye discomfort, discontinue use immediately and make an appointment with your eye doctor to rule out infection.
Ok, let’s get started. Here’s what you’ll need:
Homemade Saline Solution
- 1 liter distilled water
- 9 grams Sodium Chloride tablets (I purchased these online and each tablet weighs one gram – very easy). Avoid table salt because of the added iodine and anti-caking ingredients.
*You can simply halve or quarter the recipe, you’ll just need something to cut the tablets and a scale that measures grams.
- Large stock pot for sterilizing
- Stirring spoon
- Quart-size glass jar with lid or a few small glass jars with lids
- 1-liter measuring container (we have a large one that holds 1 quart or 1 liter)
- Small sauce pan
Wash your hands.
Fill the large stock pot with enough water to cover the stirring spoon, storage jar/bottle(s), lid(s) and measuring container. Bring the water to a boil (I start with everything in the pot to reduce chances of burns) and let it boil for at least 5 minutes to sterilize your supplies. I hold the end of my tongs in the boiling water to sterilize them, too, as I will be using them to remove items from the pot.
Carefully pour out the water (avoiding burning yourself) or just use your tongs to remove everything and place items to dry on a clean towel.
After it’s cooled, Use your measuring container to measure out 1 liter of distilled water. Pour that water into your sauce pan and bring it to a boil.
Pour your sodium chloride tablets into the measuring container. Once the distilled water comes to a boil, pour it over the tablets. Stir with your spoon until it dissolves.
Carefully pour the solution into your storage jar and secure the lid. Store the bottle in a clean, dark, cool place to discourage bacterial growth.
Have you made your own saline solution? Do you have any tips to share?