Sore Throat
Health Benefits

Use Salt Water and Gargle Away Your Sore Throat!

| Modified on Feb 26, 2024

You have been dealing with an itchy, rough sore throat for days now, and you simply cannot find any relief. What are you going to do? While relieving and healing a sore throat can be difficult, we have done our research to find you the best natural remedies. Gargling salt water is one of the fastest, easiest home remedies for your irritating sore throat.

What Treats the Common Cold?

We usually associate a sore throat with the common cold, so we look first to treat the cold as well as the scratchy throat. While a cold usually does have to "run its course," a number of supplements can be used to get better quicker and offer some relief in the meantime. Supplements like vitamin C, Echinacea, and herbal tea offer relief and also deliver important vitamins and minerals that help restore the immune system. When treating a cold or a sore throat of any type, we suggest avoiding over-the-counter medications as these typically do little to actually heal the body, but simply offer temporary relief.

Will Gargling Salt Water Actually Help?

When we investigated the salt water gargle as a treatment option, we discovered that it offers relief and also speeds healing. While some may consider a salt water gargle to be an old "folk remedy," salt water and many similar home cures are actually the most effective treatments..

How Does It Work?

A salt water gargle serves as a saline rinse for the throat and mouth. It rinses the bacteria from the throat, which helps speed healing. The salt also helps relieve inflammation in the throat, so it offers immediate relief.

How Do I Gargle?

To gargle with salt water, you first need to create the saline solution. Mix 3 teaspoons of sea salt (or regular salt) into 2 cups of warm water until it dissolves. Then, gargle with the mixture, spitting out and repeating several times. You can repeat this process as many as 2 to 3 times a day as needed.

If you are trying to treat a stubborn sore throat, you know it can be difficult to find something that works. A salt water gargle is one of the best options we've tried, and we hope it works for you too. Please let us know if you've tried the salt water gargle and how it worked for you.

Related Links:

10 Best Natural Remedies for Soothing a Sore Throat
8 Vitamin C Benefits (and Some Common Side Effects)
Sea Salt Health Benefits - Bladder Infections, Sore Throats, Sinuses
Weak Immune System Treatment and Boosters

40 User Reviews

5 star (26) 
4 star (3) 
1 star (11) 

Posted by Unknown User (Land Of The Free!, Idaho United States) on 11/23/2012

It did not work at all! It worked for like 10 minutes and afterwards I felt like crap.... It makes your throat dry and miserable. I highly don't recommend it.

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Littleleto (Tampa, Florida) on 08/05/2011

Oh my GOD!!!! I had a sore throat last night. ( just a small one! ) I looked at this site and saw things that help. I used listerine and gargled it. Then I got warm saltwater and swallowed it instead. It works better when you swallow it! It worked amaizingly its almost gone. Later in the morning im gonna take a warm shower. And thank you soooo much for the tips!!!!

Replied by Kenji
(Kofu, Yamanashi, Japan)

It is deeply unpleasant and not a total cure but it certainly works.

Replied by Ly
(Norwich, England)

I am in so much pain with my throat that I've been awake all night, I really could cry, I've just tried this remedie but I can't even seem to hold a gargle for more than a second, is there any other way I could get this to work. Thank you Ly x

Replied by Debbie
(Melbourne, Australia)

You could get a spray bottle and spray into the back of your throat. Add some cayenne pepper into warm liquid and spray that down the throat.

Replied by Paloomi
(Odek, Uganda)

It helped, but not 100%.

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Adam (Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada) on 06/24/2011

I just recovered from an overnight flu and I am only 13 and got a really sore throat. I read some of the remedies on this site and I saw a bunce of combinations of salt and vinegar, since I had no vinegar, I took half a cup of warm water put a good amount of salt in it and gargled about 3 times.

Before I tried this remidee whenever I swalowed I felt an enormous amount of pain in the back of my throat, and after gargling my throat still hurts a bit, but still hurts way less than before, I will keep doing this about once an hr and maybe get some vinegar, just one question, do I swallow the substances or spit them out after gargling?

Thank You

Replied by Lily
(Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

Hi Adam, you spit out the salt water. Whenever you gargle anything you are supposed to spit it out. Doctors often advise salt water gargling for tonsilitus. Good luck Lily.

Replied by Thuto
(Katlehong, Southafrica)

Should I really gargle with salt. There is no electricity where I am which means no warm water what must I really do?

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Maverick (Lafarge, Wisconson Usa) on 08/03/2010

Hey thanx Chuck going to the Wisconsin dells tomorrow and I think you might have saved me.

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Chuck (Uxbridge, Ontario, Canada) on 03/10/2010

Simple: im going to Europe for 10 days tomorrow and i came home today with a sore throat, major bummer. Anyways, i typed in "sore throat remedies" and was brought to the attention of this site. I scrolled down to the salt and water one, and am now on the road to recovery. All it took was 2 cups of water and 3 tspns. of salt. PRAISE SALT!

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Christian (Toledo, Ohio) on 07/06/2009

Its 10:25 here in Ohio, and im home alone. having a sore throut kills but the salt water remedy works!!!

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Gianna (Discovery Bay, California) on 03/13/2009

I have been feeling sick for the past few days, buy as usual mom made me go to school for finals. I hadnt been getting much rest and the pain was getting worse, i needed help. i had to go to school, so i knew i needed an easy way to get relief. I tried gargling salt water, but didnt last too long as i had hoped. so the next morning i put salt in a warm water bottle and every time my throat would hurt i would go to the bathroom and gargle.suprisingly it worked!i made it through finals and eventually started feeling better and better:)

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Rosa (Chicago, Il) on 02/18/2009

warm salt water for relief of sore throat; I was looking for a desparate cure for a severe sore throat late at nignt w/o having to use meds and this remedy helped immediatly. I used 2cups warm water with 3tspns salt and gargaled with it, the results helped the swelling go down immediatly and helped me sleep asap. when I woke up I repeated the treatment and the results improved drasticly. It will take a few times to completely get rid of the sore throat.

Replied by Hisham
(Isa Town, Bahrai)

Woooh! The salt gurgle treatment is great. It has taken away most of the pain but i am goin to keep repeating the treatment until it has tottally gone.THANK U SALT!!!

Replied by Ladywisdom
(Miami, Fl)

I almost can swear by this old remedy: when a sore throat appears, gargle with warm water, salt and lemon/lime juice (acv will do too). It should be gone by the end of your gargle. For variety, add a tsp. of honey

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Chloe (Baltimore, MD) on 02/07/2009

Dear Friends,

Its about 8:15 here in Baltimore and a freezing cold morning. I was trying to get some more rest to hoping this was just temporary. Well, as it turns out, I actually have a severe sinus infection and the flu, I logged on to Google and typed 'Remedies for Sore Throats.' I clicked on the link to this website and scrolled through the options, where I decided to try this one. 1 word - YEA! I mixed about half a teaspoon of salt and warm water into a mug and gargled, it instantly soothed my throat and took pain and itchiness away. Let's get well together.

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Sara (Jacsonville, Florida USA) on 11/30/2008

the salt and water so works.......wrong! it hurt my throat even worst.

Replied by G
(Jacksonville, Fl)

Salt water garggle does not work. It provides slight relief for a few minutes. It is also unpleasant. I suggest ginger and honey tea instead.

Replied by Emma
(Glasgow, Scotland)

Yea gargling warm salt water made my throat a whole lot painfuller but what I found works, is if you fill up a glass of cold water and add a teaspoon of salt mix it and then drink it you get instant relief.. Hope this helps but yea salt is a life saver!

Replied by Ty

Umm, just for the people who are saying it hurt loads, It's MEANT to hurt, it's like if you rub alcohol on a wound to sterilise something it will hurt right? There's a Chinese saying, No Pain, No Gain.

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Moe Fizpatrick (Newbury, VT USA) on 10/02/2008

For my sore throat, i tried gurgling saltwater. I have been using this trick since i was a little kid. It's never failed me, just like may Dad used to say. It does kinda taste bad after, but it goes away really fast. Hope i helped!

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Kaila (Springdale, Arkansas) on 07/13/2008

Welll i try salt and vinigar with hot water to gurgle. It might taste odd but it helps alot. Use five teaspoons of salt and a half cup a vinigar. but it does not mater how much water you use! Hope it helps!

Replied by Samantha
(Edmonton, Canada)

yea thanks alot it really helped me i always used to gargle warm salty water but never tried putting vinegar in it!! thanks so much.

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by David (Dallas, Texas) on 05/27/2008

Sore Throat Remedy Feedback: YEA this works. The saline solution numbs the pharnyx, leaving you with no pain at all! This is byfar an extremly well remedy!

Replied by Alexis
(Essexville, Mi Usa)

YES!!!!!! This helps A LOT!! I've had a sore throat for 3 days now and this defiantly helps :D

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Carla (Cork, Ireland) on 05/12/2008

its a well know fact that the most basic remedies work the best and salt and water is no exception salt is know for its anti-septic properties, and, although it may not cause instant pain relief, it will remove the harmful bacteria causing the sore throat. just mix 2 teaspoons of salt with a mug of warm-hot water (the warm water willl help sterilse the surface of the throat) gargle 2-3 times a day and within a day or so your sore throat will dissapear! this is an ideal subsitute for anti-biotics and other harsh treatments. hope you feel better!!

Salt Water Gargle
Posted by Rin (Camas, WA) on 12/23/2007

My daughter has a bad case of mono. Her tonsils were so swollen they were touching her uvula and she couldn't swallow any pain meds. We were having her gargle with a salt rinse, with no real relief. We called my inlaws and they suggested rinsing with a tsp of bs in lukewarm water followed by the salt rinse every two hours. Amazing! My daughter's tonsils are a little less swollen and it took the pain away for her to sleep for a lot longer last night. I found your site this morning when I was researching bs rinses. The doctor's we saw never even suggested it.

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