How to Make Isotonic Saline Solution

By Wendy Weissner

Making an isotonic saline solution is a precise, but simple, science. The prefix "iso" refers to something that is equal and means that the concentration of saline -- or the amount of salt -- is roughly equal to the salt concentration in body fluids. This amount is about 0.9 percent or 9g per 1000ml of fluid. It is about 1/4 tsp. of salt per 8 oz. of water. Using more salt makes a hypertonic solution, and using less salt makes a hypotonic solution.

Isotonic saline requires only two ingredients.
Choose a salt that is right for your needs.

Decide how much isotonic saline solution you want to make. The solution generally lasts for months in a refrigerator. It is easy to make, however, and, depending on your intended use, you may want to make a fresh batch prior to each use. Making fresh solution allows you to have room temperature or warmer solutions rather than refrigerated solutions.

Measure carefully. Imbalances in measurements can alter your saline concentration.

Measure the amounts of water and salt needed for the solution. For each 8 oz. of tap water or filtered water, use 1/4 tsp. of salt. Use kosher, macrobiotic or table salt (NaCl).

Warm water helps to dissolve the salt.

Heat the desired amount of water on a stove or in a microwave-safe container in a microwave oven until it is warm but not boiling.

Mixing thoroughly distributes the salt evenly.

Transfer the water to a glass or mixing bowl, and stir in the salt. Mix the combination with a spoon until the salt dissolves fully.

You can store unused solution for a long time in a refrigerator.

Store any unused portion of the solution in a glass storage jar in a refrigerator. You may want to mark the date on its container and check for "floaters" before using the solution. Generally, an isotonic solution stays fresh in a refrigerator for a number of months. If the solution becomes contaminated, though, you will see particles floating in the solution. If you see floating particles, discard the solution, and make a fresh batch.