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Physical characteristics of commercial and home-made nasal lavage solutions

  • N Lilic (a1), S Waldvogel-Thurlow (a2) and R G Douglas (a2)



Nasal saline lavage forms a cornerstone of chronic rhinosinusitis management. A number of saline lavage recipes and products are currently available but little is known of their relative physical characteristics.


To determine the osmolarity and pH of nasal lavage solutions, both commercial preparations and home-made recipes, and to determine the reproducibility of saline solution preparation.


Five home-made recipes and two commercial products were prepared in triplicate and analysed. Eight consecutive clinic patients prepared a commercial product and 11 prepared a home-made recipe, and the osmolarity and pH were measured.


The osmolarity of the solutions varied widely, from 140 to 788 mmol/l and the pH varied from 7.88 to 8.50. The commercial and home-made solutions had similar reproducibility when prepared by patients.


Some recipes were markedly hypo-osmolar and some were hyper-osmolar. All were slightly alkaline. The home-made recipes had similar physical characteristics and reproducibility to commercial preparations.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Dr Richard G Douglas, Department of Surgery, The University of Auckland, Grafton, Auckland 1023, New Zealand Fax: +64 9 377 9656 E-mail:


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The Journal of Laryngology & Otology
  • ISSN: 0022-2151
  • EISSN: 1748-5460
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-laryngology-and-otology
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