Salt water gargling is primarily used for the relief of a sore throat caused by a cold. It also removes dental plaque and eases mouth sores, according to Healing Oceans Family Wellness Center.
According to the Healing Oceans Family Wellness Center, there are two factors for why a salt water gargle provides sore throat relief. The effectiveness of a salt water gargle comes from the combination of washing away mucus that conceals irritating germs and then flushing and killing the germs themselves once they're exposed. The gargle provides both instantaneous relief and accelerates the healing of the condition itself.
The recipe provided by Healing Oceans Family Wellness Center suggests adding between 1/2 and 3/4 teaspoon salt to a cup of water. More salt is more effective for cleansing the throat, but it may taste overpowering to some. Use chlorine-free water to avoid irritation from the chlorine. Tap water is not recommended unless it comes from a well or is run through a filter. If filtration is unavailable, leaving the water to stand for 24 hours prior to use lets the chlorine evaporate.
Gargling for 30 seconds to a minute is optimal. Those using this method should use small amounts of the water until the entire cup is used or no mucus is present in the water when spit out, according to Healing Oceans Family Wellness Center.