Saltwater is a solution of sodium chloride in water. It has a multitude of uses ranging from medicinal to industrial. However, not all saltwater is safe for use. Bacteria, viruses, and other contaminants can all be present in seawater, making it unsuitable for certain applications. That is why we need to make sterile salt water, which is clean and pure, devoid of any contaminants. In this article, we will explain how to make sterile salt water and what precautions to take.
What is sterile salt water?
Sterile saltwater is water that has been purified of any contaminants and sterilized to remove any bacteria, viruses, or other microorganisms that might be harmful. It is essentially pure sodium chloride and distilled water, with a salt concentration of 0.9%, similar to that found in the human body. Sterile salt water is used for wound irrigation, inhalation therapy, and other medical applications where there is a need for clean and safe water.
What are the applications of sterile salt water?
Sterile salt water has a vast range of applications, including:
- Wound irrigation
- Inhalation therapy
- Contact lens cleaning and storage
- Diagnostic testing in laboratories
- Medical device cleaning and sterilization
- IV solutions and medical injections
- Cleaning wounds after surgery
- Hydration therapy to treat dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
- Facial cleansing and skin preparation
What do you need to make sterile salt water?
To make sterile salt water, you will need the following:
- Distilled water: Water that has gone through a process of distillation, which removes all impurities and contaminants
- Salt: Ordinary table salt that contains sodium chloride
- A sterile container or bottle: A glass bottle that has been sterilized with boiling water or alcohol
- A sterile measuring cup or syringe: A container used to measure, mix, and transfer the sterile saline solution
How to make sterile salt water
Making sterile salt water is an easy process that can be done at home. Follow these steps:
- Boil water to sterilize the container you will use. Allow it to cool down to room temperature before using.
- Measure out the salt using a sterile measuring cup or syringe. The recommended ratio is 9 grams of salt to 1 liter or 1000ml of distilled water. Make sure you use the correct concentration, as too much or too little salt can be harmful.
- Add the salt to the distilled water and stir until it dissolves. You can use a sterile spoon to mix the solution or shake the bottle gently.
- Transfer the sterile saline solution to a sterile container or bottle using a sterile measuring cup or syringe. Label it with the date, contents, and concentration, and store it in a dark, cool place, away from direct sunlight.
How to sterilize your equipment
Sterilization of equipment is a crucial part of making sterile salt water. Any contamination can affect the purity and safety of the solution. These are the steps you should take:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap before handling the equipment.
- Boil the container you will use for the solution for at least 10 minutes or until it is completely clean. You can also use an autoclave, which is a machine that uses steam to sterilize equipment.
- Use a sterile measuring cup or syringe to measure and mix the ingredients.
- If using a filter, make sure it is sterile and has not been used before.
Precautions to take when making sterile salt water
Making sterile salt water requires careful attention to detail and adherence to best practices. These are some of the precautions to take when making sterile salt water:
- Use only distilled water that has been purified of all impurities and contaminants.
- Make sure you use the correct concentration of salt, as too much or too little can be harmful.
- Ensure that all equipment is sterile, including the container, measuring cup, and syringe. Sterilize them by boiling or autoclaving before use.
- Avoid touching the inside of the container or bottle with your fingers or other non-sterile objects.
- Label the container with the date, contents, and concentration of the saline solution.
- Store the container in a cool, dark place, away from direct sunlight.
- Dispose of any unused solution within 24 hours.
Sterile saltwater is a solution of pure sodium chloride and distilled water that has been sterilized to remove any bacteria or other microorganisms that might be harmful. It has a range of medical applications, including wound irrigation, inhalation therapy, medical device cleaning and sterilization, and IV solutions. To make sterile saltwater, use distilled water, ordinary table salt, and a sterile container or bottle. Be sure to sterilize all equipment before use, use the correct concentration of salt, avoid contamination, and store it in a cool, dark place.
- Can I use tap water to make sterile salt water?
- Can I use iodized salt to make sterile salt water?
- How long can I store sterile saline solution?
No, tap water may contain impurities and contaminants that can be harmful. You should use distilled water for the best results.
No, iodized salt is not recommended for use in sterile saltwater solutions because it may irritate tissues and harm cells.
You can store sterile saline solution for up to one month if kept in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. It is best to check the sterilization date before using the solution.
- NHS. (2019). Making saline solution for wound irrigation. NHS. https://www.nhs.uk/common-health-questions/accidents-first-aid-and-treatments/how-do-i-clean-a-wound/
- US Pharmacopeial Convention. (2013). USP compounding expert committee issues clarifying statement on the safe handling and compounding of sterile preparations. USP News. https://www.uspnf.com/about-uspnf/newsroom/usp-compounding-expert-committee-issues-clarifying-statement
- WebMD. (2021). What is sterile saline solution? WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-165189/sterile-saline/details