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).
Here’s the thing: If you employ a canning process, you should not need to worry about sterility.
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).
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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). Here’s how:
- 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 you are canning a 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.). If you wanted to create that, you would need to add a carb (sugar, usually) and as a bonus, potassium and magnesium, and maybe some L-Glutamine powder. While making a home made sports drink is easy, I’ll leave that for another day.
Wow HerbalGerbil, good ideas. Another reason for having sterile water on hand would be for washing out your eyes if you get something in them. An eye can become infected within hours with a very minor injury. In a SHTF situation better to have an ounce of prevention than a pound of cure. Good article and keep up the good work
Thank you, Suni. You are always so encouraging! You are a blessing, indeed!
Printed this article out for “document” files. We store the Sterile Saline Solution that’s used for contact lens wearers, but knowing how to can your own will be excellent for our knowledge base. Thanks!
Interesting, HerbalGerbil, that you advise against using table salt. When kids were little, a Doc told me how to make homemade saline nasal wash using table salt and tap water, and I used it a lot. Dont recall exact ratio, tho, but it was boiled and put in a sterile bottle. TY for sharing!
The only problem with table salt really is the anti-caking agent – that can be a lot of things and you may not want that in your open wounds, or for washing out eyes. The iodized part is not so much an issue; the body needs iodine and many people today have a deficiency because we have moved away from the iodized salts, necessary because most people also don’t eat the right kind of diet to allow for the right levels of minerals for their bodies.
But table salt WILL work, if that’s all you have.
Doctors have told us a lot of things over the years, some of which was useful, much of which was not. And didn’t tell us lots of things because they could not and still keep their license to practice medicine. But few doctors do what they advise their patients to do.
Thank you so much for the info. I was looking for a way to make wound wash. I had to treat a large head wound and realized that the bottles of wash we had on hand were just not big enough to get the job done. Having a few qts around to use with a 60 cc syringe was what I needed. Thank you again for taking the time to put the info out there. Bright Blessings, Cina (Prepping in the Wild West)
You are most welcome, Cina; YOU are why we’re here! As we like to say, “KEEP STACKIN’ IT HIGH!”
Cina, I would also suggest a few Israeli compression bandages, especially at least one with built-in blood clot agent for such wounds. I use an ebay seller out of Israel who is entirely dependable: http://www.israelibandages.com Use coupon code 10pcoff to get 10% off your first order. This code is good until Sept. 30; no minimum order. (I believe anyone can use this code until Sept. 30).
Actually, I think this WILL serve as a post on long-term storage DIY rehydration; I think I like servantheart’s idea:
AgriLabs Vitamins and Electrolytes “Plus” (includes B12 and K!!!); Contains salt, potassium, magnesium, and dextrose (sugar)!! Everything you need for safe and correct rehydration. Also contains 12 important vitamins, including B12 and “K” (hard to find). 4 oz pack (112 grams) ran about $2 at Tractor Supply. Can not beat the price! One pouch makes 128 gallons of “drinking water” for livestock. “For Animal Use Only”. Covered that already. 4 oz. equals one-half cup, or 24 level teaspoons (48 teaspoons in 1 cup – US Measure – 39.97 in UK – 50 metric). If 24 tsps. produces 128 gallons, then 0.1875 teaspoons to a gallon; I’m calling it 0.2 teaspoons and being done with it, per gallon.
2/10s (0.2) of a teaspoon is equal to 1 ml; 1 ml is equal to 1/4 (one fourth) of a teaspoon, so mix 1/4 tsp. to a gallon of water for rehydration to be uber-safe.
Just keep this around, protect it from heat, moisture, light for best storage, and mix it with your home-canned saline solution for a rehydration “beverage” or treatment, or even an IV, if needed. I’d probably mix it a bit stronger for an adult, strength of which to be determined by age and weight, but I do understand the need for the cautious approach.
This strikes me as sensible, cost-effective approach to meet 2 needs: saline solution always ready, and a quick and affordable rehydration solution. You would be getting two salts, however, so, keep that in mind for people who are salt sensitive, for any reason.