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The Best Handy Substitutes for Saline Solution

Saline solution is a valuable liquid with several uses in the medical field. It is most often used to clean wounds. But it can be used for several other things, like storing contact lenses or cleansing your sinuses. So what are the best substitutes for a saline solution?

If you have an emergency, it is a good idea to know what is around you that can be used to help. By knowing how to make the saline solution, you put yourself ahead of the game and can provide aid when needed. So read on and learn the best substitutes for saline solution.

Cartoon Image of a Bottle of Saline Solution

Substitutes for Saline Solution

Saline solution is a liquid often used to clean wounds or disinfect. For example, if someone faces an injury with an open wound, the wound must be flushed with saline solution to prevent bacteria and infection. There are ways to make a saline solution that trumps any substitutes you might find.

Making a Saline Solution

Making a saline solution is simple; you only need a few things from your pantry and some cleaning supplies. The critical thing to remember is that making the solution will require you not to touch the water after it has been prepared. Everything must be sanitized, or mold could form in your containers.

Some of the things you need to make a saline solution are:

  • Pot and Lid – The most effective way to make saline solution is by sterilizing water by boiling it. You can use the microwave in a pinch, but boiling is the safest way to ensure no bacteria survive. You need a good pot with a tight lid.
  • Container – You will also need an airtight container to store the solution overnight. An airtight container is recommended because if outside forces interact with the water, it could ruin its sterilization.
  • Salt – Non-iodized table salt is the active ingredient in a saline solution. Add this into the water, and it will help to clean wounds or sterilize jewelry like ear and nose rings. However, if you add too much, there could be pain when applied to wounds.
  • Water – The water should be distilled or out of the tap. If it has extra additives, there could be problems when sterilizing, and you will be forced to restart the process. In addition, the water must be returned to room temperature before adding anything.

If you plan on using the solution to clean your sinuses, a pinch of baking soda can be added to the contents above. The at-home solution isn’t the best for cleaning your contact lenses, but it will allow you to clean your wounds. A bonus is it can be used to let the kids make slime.

Boiling Water is the Next Step in the Process

Sterilizing the water needs to be brought up to a boil. You must ensure that once the water begins to boil and cool down, you don’t touch it unless you have sterilized gloves. Water is the critical element, and any pollution will render it useless. The water should boil for 15 minutes before being removed from the heat.

Combining the Contents is the Final Step

Salt falling onto a spoon

Once the water is cooled and you have moved it away from the heat, add the salt, a teaspoon for every two cups of water. Once the salt is added, stir until the granules are dissolved. As soon as the solution is clear of debris, you should transfer it to your airtight container and place it in the fridge.

Some things to remember when storing your saline solution are:

  • Rubber Gloves – You should not touch the water in any way. However, if you must touch the pot or bowl, a pair of rubber gloves is an easy way to keep the solution sterile. If the water isn’t pure, you must start the process over.
  • 24-Hours – Your saline solution will only be good for about 12 hours. The diluted salt will lose its scrubbing ability and revert to sterile water. If you make more, start with a new batch and discard the old solution.

Storing the saline solution can last much longer, up to a month, if you use distilled water over tap. This is because the chemicals used in tap water are difficult to remove, and distilled water is pH balanced to create an environment for sterilization.

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Other Substitutes for Saline Solution

If making a solution doesn’t do the trick, only a few things could work. If you are looking for something to substitute for a contact solution or a way to clean a wound, you might want to try the other choices.

Some of the other substitutes for saline solution are:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide – A solution that is great for cleaning out wounds and is passable for contacts is hydrogen peroxide. Peroxide is in pantries and drug cabinets around the country and is easier to find than create.
  • Distilled Water – Using distilled water is another excellent alternative to saline solution. The water is steamed during distillation which kills any chance of bacteria forming. If you use this as a contact solution, you must clean your case before replacing the lens, or you could have a nasty eye infection.

The list of passable substitutes for saline solution is short and sweet. If you have the ingredients, you are better off making your own than trying something that could lead to an infection in your eyes.


Substitutes for a saline solution only somewhat measure up to the real thing. However, you can make a saline solution with stuff you have around your kitchen that works to clean wounds and allows you to store your contact lenses. You make a saline solution by adding a teaspoon of non-iodized salt to every two cups of distilled water. 

Hydrogen peroxide and distilled water are two decent alternatives to saline solution. However, they must be rinsed after use as a contact solution substitute because they can lead to a toxic infection in the eyes.

For more, check out 5 Handy Substitutes for Contact Lens Solution.