Ear, Nose and Throat – Nasal Douching

Patient Experience

  • Reference Number: HEY-1359-2023
  • Departments: Day Surgery (DSC) (CHH), ENT
  • Last Updated: 1 May 2023


This advice sheet has been produced to give you general information following your nasal surgery. It is not intended to replace the discussion between you and your doctor. If after reading it you require further explanation, please discuss this with the relevant person who has been caring for you.

What is nasal douching?

The term ‘douching’ means showering and this is undertaken in the nose for cleaning purposes. 

Why do I need to undertake nasal douching?

Some operations in the nose leave the surface inside raw, like a graze. Unlike a graze on the knee for example, you do not get a dry scab in the nose with healing underneath. Instead the scab in the nose becomes very soggy due to the mucous that the nose produces. Over time the mucous may become dry and, if several layers become dry a crust will form. Under very thick crusts bacteria may collect and this can cause infection, which will interfere with healing.

In order to keep your sinuses clean and healthy after surgery, it would be helpful to you to douche your nose. To start with, this should be undertaken at least three times a day for the first two weeks after discharge. This can then be reduced by gradually cutting down on the number of times you douche each day until your nose feels clear and you are not washing out mucous or many crusts at the time of douching.

What can I expect?

It is usual for your nose to feel blocked “for the first two or three weeks following surgery until the lining has settled down. Your nose may also run a lot for the first few days with blood-stained mucous. It is also normal to feel some pressure under your nose and forehead and you may need to take some pain relief for the first few days. However if you are getting clear fluid running down your nose, or if your headaches are worsening, then you should contact the ward where you were discharged from.

How do I undertake a nasal douching?

Please read this information leaflet.  Share the information it contains with your partner and family (if you wish) so that they can be of help and support. There may be information they need to know, especially if they are taking care of you following this examination.

To douche the nose first make up the following mixture;

  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
  • Add to 1 pint (500ml) of boiled water, allow the mixture to cool

Pour some of the solution into a clean container and draw up the solution with a syringe which will be provided by the ward prior to discharge. Avoid contaminating the main solution with the syringe by only inserting the tip of the syringe into the solution. Gently dispense the solution into the nostril using the syringe whilst sniffing the solution through the nose into the throat and spit out. If you lean over the sink or a bowl this will collect the solution that comes out of the nose.

Do not worry if you swallow some of the solution as it will not cause you any harm. It is best to continue until no more debris is washed out of the nose.  You should then repeat this process with the other nostril. Some people find the solution stings a little at first but this eventually settles after a few days.

If you have been advised to take nose drops please take them after you have finished douching and have had a few moments to let your nose settle.


Should you require any further advice on the issues contained in this advice sheet please contact the ENT Ward at Castle Hill Hospital, Telephone: (01482) 875875 and ask for Ward 16 CHH

This leaflet was produced by the Day Surgery Department, Castle Hill Hospital, Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and will be reviewed in May 2026

General Advice and Consent

Most of your questions should have been answered by this leaflet, but remember that this is only a starting point for discussion with the healthcare team.

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Before any doctor, nurse or therapist examines or treats your child, they must seek your consent or permission. In order to make a decision, you need to have information from health professionals about the treatment or investigation which is being offered to your child. You should always ask them more questions if you do not understand or if you want more information.

The information you receive should be about your child’s condition, the alternatives available for your child, and whether it carries risks as well as the benefits. What is important is that your consent is genuine or valid. That means:

  • you must be able to give your consent
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