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Gargling with Salt Water: Its Benefits and How to Reap Them

Gargling salt water does help a sore throat benefits of salt water gargle
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - rawpixel

What are the benefits of gargling with salt water and how exactly does it help a sore throat? We’ve got answers and household recipes right here in this guide.

Gargling with salt water isn’t just Grandma’s cherished household remedy. It does indeed help a sore throat by providing symptomatic relief as well as preventative benefits. Plus, this household remedy has absolutely no side effects. And it’s not just your Grandma who holds it dear — ENTs swear by it, too.

The benefits of gargling salt water are numerous: It helps combat cold and flu symptoms such as nasal congestion, clears your respiratory tract, and can even reduce the chances of developing related infections. These and some more benefits of gargling with salt water have been cited in numerous recent studies on the topic.

How Does Gargling With Salt Water Benefit a Sore Throat?

Salt water gargling benefits: does it help a sore throat
The benefits of gargling with salt water aren’t limited to symptom relief of a sore throat alone. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - João Silas)
  • Salt works as a water magnet: When you have a sore throat, salt water gargles help extract excess liquids from infected tissue in the throat area — in essence, you’re practically washing the virus out.
  • Gargling with salt water benefits a sore throat by removing mucus build-up in the nasal cavity and respiratory tract. This helps rid your body of potential allergens, bacteria, and fungal spores.
  • A randomized comparative study conducted in 2005 concluded that people that gargled salt water were able to prevent upper respiratory infections. In comparison to the control group, 40% fewer were affected by respiratory infections.
  • Further studies have also confirmed that gargling with salt water does help sore throats.
  • Another study found that it can help prevent feverish illnesses.

Gargling with salt water has other benefits, too. It helps treat the following illnesses and their symptoms:

  • cold symptoms such as a sore throat
  • inflammation in the areas of the mouth and/or throat
  • irritation in the mouth and/or throat regions due to allergens (hay fever, dust allergies, etc.)
  • inflammation and irritation of the upper respiratory passages and sinuses

Lastly, another huge benefit of gargling with salt water to get rid of a sore throat is that it is 100 percent natural, doesn’t need plastic packaging, and doesn’t contaminate the waterways after use.

Salt Water Gargle Recipe

Benefits of gargling salt water for a sore throat helps gargle
This salt water gargle for getting rid of your sore throat is ready in just minutes. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay - ulleo)

This salt water gargle recipe for a sore throat is as simple as can be and probably one of the cheapest home remedies out there: All you’ll need is clean tap water and table salt.

In order to profit from the benefits of gargling with salt water, mix the following ingredients in the ratios listed below:

  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 tbsp. of salt


  1. The water you use should mirror your body temperature. Warm it up briefly if needed.
  2. Mix in the salt until fully dissolved.

Gargling Salt Water: Step by Step

  1. Give the water a quick check to make sure it’s not too hot (check first with your wrist as not to scald yourself).
  2. Take a swig, lean your head back, and gargle the water in the back of your throat for around 30 seconds. Try your best to have the water reach all regions of your throat while trying not to swallow the water.
  3. Spit, rinse.

To benefit from gargling with salt water, repeat two to three times daily as needed. However, you can repeat this process up to once every two to three hours depending on the severity of your symptoms. Gargling salt water does indeed help with a sore throat and alleviate other cold and flu symptoms.

If your throat ache or congestion doesn’t let up slightly after a reasonable amount of time using this salt water gargling remedy, feel free to check out our guide on Natural Home Remedies for Colds for more cold and flu-fighting household hacks.

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This article was translated and adapted from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Salzwasser gurgeln: Ein Hausmittel gegen Halsschmerzen.

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