How to Make Smelling Salts

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Smelling salts are used to revive people who have fainted.
Smelling salts are used to revive people who have fainted. (Image: David De Lossy/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Smelling salts work their "magic" on the unconscious when the nose absorbs the odor through the mucous membranes making the swooner breathe faster. This faster breathing revives the patient and brings him back to consciousness. Old-fashioned salt concoctions used ammonia to revive a fainting patient. According to a fact sheet by the University of Maryland's Medical Center, eucalyptus oil is also a chief ingredient in this nose stimulant. You can make your own smelling salts using safe ingredients to keep on hand or in your first aid kit.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4 cup of course sea salt
  • 20 drops of eucalyptus oil
  • Glass bowl
  • 2 drops of food coloring
  • Metal spoon
  • Small tin with lid

Pour 1/4 cup of sea salt into the glass bowl. Drop in the food coloring and mix well with a metal spoon.

Add 20 drops of eucalyptus oil to the colored salt. Stir the oil into the salt with a metal spoon. If possible, avoid crushing the salt crystals.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the salt to absorb the oil. You can leave the salt in a dark cupboard for 20 minutes or up to a day.

Remove the plastic and with the metal spoon, place the salts in a small covered tin. Keep the tin closed unless using the smelling salts. Replace the salts when you are no longer knocked over by the scent when you open the tin.

Use the salts by pinching a small amount between your forefinger and thumb. Gently wave the salts under the nose of the person who is fainting or has fainted.

Tips & Warnings

  • Natural smelling salts may not revive someone who is unconscious due to serious medical problems. Call an ambulance if the person cannot be revived.
  • Do not eat smelling salts.
  • Keep them stored out of the reach of children.

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