Is Sinus Rinse With Tap Water Safe?

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Sinus relief may be just a nasal irrigation away
Sinus relief may be just a nasal irrigation away (Image: Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Toni)

A sinus rinse--also called nasal irrigation or nasal lavage--cleanses the sinus with a saline solution. Store-bought packets are available, or you can make your own mixture that is just as safe and effective, according to the Mayo Clinic. Instead of distilled or purified water, tap water may be used, but with caution.

Benefits of Using Tap Water

Tap water is the most inexpensive water that can be used for a sinus rinse. It is always on hand and can be boiled ahead of time for convenience.

Drawbacks of Using Tap Water

Most tap water comes from county or city systems that treat the water for certain impurities before it reaches the public. But many impurities that are designated as safe for public consumption, such as chlorine, can irritate the nasal cavities. Tap water should be boiled first and then cooled to a comfortable, but still warm, temperature.

Benefits of Using Treated Water

Treated water, such as distilled or purified water, has been treated or boiled, which removes impurities from the water; it tends to be easier on the nose than tap water.

Drawbacks of Using Treated Water

Distilled or purified water is more expensive than tap water, although the price is usually minimal (around $1 per gallon). The water must be heated to a comfortable warmth, either in a microwave or on the stove.

Warning

While tap water probably won't cause drastic or long-lasting harm, caution should still be used. Some people use tap water with no problems, while others' sensitive noses require treated water.

Try using tap water for several sinus rinses and notice any negative changes in the nasal cavity. At the first sign of any discomfort, switch to distilled or purified water and see if the situation improves.

Recipe

Add 1/4 tsp. of non-iodized table salt and 1/8 tsp. of baking soda to 8 oz. of warm water (tap, distilled or purified). Stir the solution until dissolved. Test the solution to ensure a comfortable temperature; water that is too cold is uncomfortable and water that is too hot is dangerous.

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