I was just reading a post about making your own DIY sterile saline solution, but it didn’t call for canning the product, and they expressed concern over keeping it “clean enough” during storage (sterile).
If you employ a canning process, you should not need to worry about sterility. I do water canning every time I want to test a “new” pressure canner (I usually don’t buy new ones – just old ones).
I believe everyone should have some home-canned water on hand for cleaning out wounds, eyes, etc., but it should not be municipal or even water from a well, because you can not control what’s in it – fluoride, other people’s drugs, leeched contaminants, etc.
If you must use tap water, this is where I would bring it to a rolling boil for 5 minutes BEFORE trying to can it. (Allow to cool before canning.) Otherwise, I believe it is best to use the highest-quality bottled spring water you can buy.
You could use commercially prepared distilled water, which would be a very good idea for wound treatment, but using bottled spring water (read your labels carefully) will allow greater flexibility, should you need to drink it, rather than treat wounds or wash eyes out with it. Distilled water has had all minerals removed and is not “healthy” for human consumption in the long term; however, drinking it on a rare occasion will not hurt you – just, not a great long term habit.
You could just add sodium chloride (salt) tablets to your water; you can buy these online at amazon, among other places (100 tabs to a bottle).
Homemade Saline Solution Recipe
If you want to ensure that you’ll always have some saline solution around, without paying an arm and a leg for it, here is the best homemade way to do it:
Combine 1 pint water and 4 grams sodium chloride tablets (each tablet is 1 gram, so, 4 tablets per pint). For a quart, simply double to 8 tablets of 1 gram each. If using a granulated product (such as salt), use one teaspoon per pint, or two teaspoons per quart.
Do not use table salt; it probably contains added iodine, but it most surely will contain anti-caking agents, which you don’t want in your water for this purpose. It’s ok to use all natural salt, as long as it is iodine and caking agent free.
How To Sterilize Your Water
To sterilize your water, simply can it, using a pressure canner (NOT a pressure cooker). Wash and sterilize your jars – I prefer running them through the dishwasher – put your tablet or teaspoon of salt in the bottom of the jar using a canning jar funnel to keep rims clean; wipe rims with a clean paper towel dipped in hot water to remove any stray grains – a clean paper towel for each swipe, to avoid transfer; sterilize your caps for 30 seconds in boiling water and place them, sterilize your rings for 30 seconds in boiling water and place them, then process @ 10 lbs pressure: pints = 75 minutes; quarts = 90 minutes.
Basically, you’re processing your water as though it is “meat product”. This will dissolve the salt products and sterilize the water. This water can be stored for a very long time. How long? Depends on HOW it is stored, and WHERE. Keep out of direct sunlight and away from heat source, in a non-humid environment, and it should be good for years, but you can certainly drink it whenever needed.
Note: this is not a sports drink (replacing electrolytes, etc.) only because it needs a carb (sugar, usually) and as a bonus, potassium and magnesium, and maybe some L-Glutamine (all optional, but good); while making home made sports drink is easy, I’ll leave that for another day.