Can salt cure cold sores?



Cold sores, also known as fever blisters, are a common viral infection that can be both uncomfortable and unsightly. Many people turn to natural remedies as a way to alleviate the symptoms and speed up the healing process. One such remedy that has gained popularity is salt. But can salt really cure cold sores? In this article, we will explore the potential benefits and risks of using salt as a natural remedy for cold sores and provide guidance on how to use it effectively.

Table of Contents

Benefits of Salt for Cold Sores

Salt has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for various ailments. When it comes to cold sores, salt offers several potential benefits:

  • Drying out the cold sore: Salt has drying properties that can help reduce the moisture content of the cold sore, making it less hospitable for the virus to thrive.
  • Relieving pain and itching: Salt can provide temporary relief from the pain and itching associated with cold sores. It acts as a natural antiseptic, helping to cleanse the affected area.
  • Speeding up the healing process: Salt may help accelerate the healing process of cold sores by promoting the growth of healthy skin cells and reducing inflammation.

While these benefits sound promising, it’s important to note that scientific research on the effectiveness of salt as a cold sore remedy is limited. Most of the evidence supporting its use is anecdotal.

How to Use Salt for Cold Sores

If you decide to try salt as a natural remedy for your cold sores, here are a few methods you can consider:

1. Saltwater Rinse

Mix half a teaspoon of salt with eight ounces of warm water. Gently swish the solution around your mouth, focusing on the areas affected by cold sores. Spit out the solution after a few minutes. Repeat this process several times a day to help cleanse the cold sores and reduce discomfort.

2. Salt Paste

Create a paste by mixing salt with a small amount of water. Apply the paste directly to the cold sores and leave it on for a few minutes before rinsing it off with warm water. You can repeat this process multiple times a day.

3. Salt Ice Cube

Freeze a mixture of salt and water in an ice cube tray. Once frozen, wrap the ice cube in a thin cloth and apply it to the cold sores for a few minutes. The cold temperature can help alleviate pain and reduce swelling.

Remember to wash your hands before and after applying salt to avoid introducing any additional bacteria to the affected area.

Potential Risks

While salt is generally considered safe for external use, it’s essential to be cautious when using it as a cold sore remedy. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Pain and irritation: Salt can cause a stinging sensation and irritation when applied to open cold sores. If you experience significant pain or discomfort, discontinue use and consult a healthcare professional.
  • Dryness: Excessive use of salt can lead to dryness, which may delay the healing process. It’s important to find a balance and not overapply salt to the affected area.

If you have any underlying health conditions or concerns, it’s best to consult a healthcare professional before using salt as a remedy for cold sores.


Q: Can salt cure cold sores overnight?

A: While salt may help alleviate symptoms and promote healing, it is unlikely to cure cold sores overnight. Cold sores usually take several days to heal completely.

Q: Are there any other natural remedies for cold sores?

A: Yes, there are several natural remedies that people have reported to be effective in treating cold sores, including tea tree oil, lemon balm, and aloe vera. It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these remedies may vary from person to person.


Using salt as a natural remedy for cold sores can offer potential benefits such as drying out the cold sore, relieving pain and itching, and speeding up the healing process. However, it’s important to remember that scientific evidence supporting the use of salt for cold sores is limited, and individual results may vary. If you decide to try salt as a remedy, be cautious and discontinue use if you experience any adverse reactions. It’s always a good idea to consult a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for cold sores, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s essential to listen to your body and find the remedies that work best for you.

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