Make an Oral Rehydration Solution (homemade)

Edited by Ephraim, Lynn, Charmed, Nerissa Avisado and 12 others

Every mother is familiar with the need for oral rehydration. The task of rehydrating a baby or a young child is a lot like laundry and taxes - there are times when you just have to buckle down and do it. The need for rehydration usually comes when children get diarrhea, or they have a virus and are vomiting a lot. When the signs of dehydration are present, doctors will usually advise parents provide some oral rehydration therapy.

If you are a new parent, your mind can go wild when you hear the phrase, Oral Rehydration Therapy. Actually, this is a very simple but important process involving the use of a little sugar, a little salt, and water. The resulting solution is called Oral Rehydration Solution (ORS) and although the term sounds ominous, it really is quite easy to prepare.


There are plenty of common household recipes and drinks that can be used to address the problem of dehydration. The World Health Organization (WHO) even recommends the use of rice water (both salted and unsalted), salted or unsalted vegetable broth, weak tea, water from a young coconut, yogurt based drinks, and plain water. These home remedies are very helpful when the dehydration is not severe and are given early enough to prevent the dehydration from worsening.

When patients are suffering from moderate to severe dehydration, there are medically prepared oral rehydration solutions that typically contain potassium, sodium, glucose, and citrate. These prepared solutions are given together with, or instead of, intravenous preparations.

When patients are only mildly dehydrated, or parents and caregivers are merely taking precautions, a homemade solution can be prepared and administered orally. Experts have different recommendations for exactly what the proportions of homemade ORS should be, but 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of salt per liter of water seems to be commonly acceptable.

When should you rehydrate?

Children lose more fluid than usual when they have a fever, diarrhea, or they are vomiting. Sometimes, they also lose too much fluid after they've played too long or too strenuously, especially under the heat of the sun. There are certain signs that indicate a child is dehydrated.


  • Dehydrated children will have dry lips and a dry or sticky mouth.
  • If they are uncomfortable and they start crying, you will notice they won't produce as many tears as usual.
  • Their eyes will look sunken.
  • Very gently feel the edges surrounding the soft spot on top of a baby's head. Infants who are dehydrated will have a depressed or sunken fontanelle.
  • They will not urinate as much, and the diapers may reveal urine that is darker than usual.
  • Their skin will by dry and cool.
  • They may show signs of irritability or lethargy.

How can you prevent dehydration?

To prevent dehydration, make sure kids get plenty of fluids, especially when they have been physically active or when they are sick. As a rule, it is best that children take in more fluids than they lose, especially when they are unwell.


  • If a child refuses to drink because a sore throat is making this difficult, find out from your primary healthcare provider what pain reliever can provide some relief so the child can drink. Cold drinks and even fruit-based popsicles or slushies may help.
  • When children play during warm weather, get them to drink extra fluids before starting to play. While they are playing, make sure they drink water every 20-30 minutes.
  • Ideally, children (and adults for that matter), should drink water before they get thirsty, and should drink additional fluids, even after they feel their thirst has been satisfied.
  • Every time a child under the age of 2 months expels a watery stool, give him 70-110 ml (about ¼ to ½ cup) of ORS.
  • Children older than 24 months should be given 1/2 cup to 1 cup of ORS after each watery stool.
  • Always encourage children to drink as much water as possible.

Preparing Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS) from Prepared Packets

First Method


The easiest way to prepare a rehydration solution is to make use of prepared oral rehydration solution packets. This is what you need to do:

  1. 1
    Go to a nearby pharmacy and purchase ORS salt packets that will be used in the mixture You can also find these salts at a health store or supermarket
    The easiest way to get the perfect dosage is to purchase the salts in individual packets. They are usually about 4.1 grams each.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Pour the salts into a clean cup or container that is free from all dust and particles.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Pour 200 mL of water into the cup or container containing the oral salts
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    Stir up the contents and the ORS drink will be ready for the child to drink.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

When you prepare this, make sure that you are only adding water and not soup, energy drinks, fruit juices, or milk to the salts.

Preparing Homemade Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS)

Second Method


Sometimes it is not possible to get to the store to buy pre-packed ORS, and you have to be ready to make your own, although many prefer to always make their own solution. Homemade ORS is not at all difficult to prepare; with just some regular items from your cupboard, you can easily make a homemade ORS (Oral Rehydration Salt) solution to help a child who is dehydrated due to diarrhea or vomiting. Going through these steps completely and accurately will produce a mixture that will alleviate symptoms of dehydration.

  1. 1
    Place 6 teaspoons of sugar into a liter of water
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  2. 2
    Place 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the water.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  3. 3
    Wait for the particles of the two mixtures to completely dissolve into the water solution
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help
  4. 4
    The ORS drink solution is ready to be consumed by the child.
    Was this step helpful? Yes | No| I need help

Make sure you use the correct amounts when you make homemade ORS. Adding too much salt is harmful while putting in too much sugar can exacerbate diarrhea. Using more than a liter of clean water, however, is not going to be harmful; it will merely dilute the solution.

Questions and Answers

Homemade oral rehydration salts - Should I use iodized salt?

You could use iodized salt to make homemade oral rehydration salts, but it is recommended that you use a less processed salt such as sea salt. Also, you could purchase ready-made oral rehydration salt packages that you can use to make your own homemade mixture.

How to make ORS with salt and sugar solution with precautions?

When making a homemade oral rehydration solution, take into consideration precautionary measures to ensure the effectiveness of the solution and to safeguard the patient from possible infection or complications from ingesting the solution.

Here's how to make a homemade ORS with salt and sugar with precautions:

1. Prepare the materials:

- One teaspoon, glass, 6 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 liter of water.


- The teaspoon and the glass should be sterilized first.

- If you are using tap water, boil it first at least for 10 to 15 minutes then let it cool.

- Wash hands with soap and clean water to prevent contamination.

2. Mix all the ingredients.


- Use exactly the recommended amount of sugar, salt, and water to ensure the effectiveness of the solution.

- Mix the solution until the sugar and salt have completely dissolved in the water.

3. Pour the mixture into the glass.


- In pouring the mixture, the lid of the pitcher should not touch the glass to prevent contamination.

  • Special Precautions:

- ORS can only be given in severe dehydration if IV fluid is not readily available.

- Follow the recommended dosage of the ORS depending on the age and weight of the patient to prevent overdosing and underdosing.

How to make oral rehydration solution for babies?

Oral Rehydration Solution or ORESOL is a formula used to manage dehydration, replaced lost body fluids and electrolytes. The dosage for babies (4 to 11-month-old) is about 400 to 600 ml or 2 to 3 glasses of ORESOL. Here's how to make oral rehydration solution for babies:

  • Ingredients.

- 3 teaspoons of sugar

- 1/4 teaspoon salt

- Half liter water

  • Procedures

1. Put the 3 teaspoons sugar into the half-liter water.

2. Mix the 1/4 teaspoon salt.

3. Gently stir the mixture until the sugar and salt completely dissolve in the water.

4. Pour the solution into the baby's feeding bottle.

In giving the homemade ORESOL, continue breastfeeding the baby and alternatively give the solution within four hours. If the baby is not breastfed, alternatively give 100 to 200 ml water and ORESOL within four hours and monitor the baby for signs of rehydration or improvement. If dehydration still persists, immediately bring the baby to your nearest medical center or hospital for proper treatment.

Describe how oral rehydrating salt (ORS) can be prepared locally.

You can do this by mixing two teaspoons of salt into a glass of tap water. Stir it vigorously so that the salt has completely dissolved. This can be taken as often as required.

Also, you can buy oral rehydration tablets or powders at the drugstore and just mix it locally when you need it. This extends the shelf life.

What is the evidence a solution is saturated?

Add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to the sugar solution and stir the solution

The sugar and salt have dissolved when you cannot see the granules in the liquid anymore.

Can my 2 year old become dehydrated from vomiting?

It started yesterday, he has refused to eat or drink anything and has been vomiting incessantly. What can I do?

Make the oral re-hydration solution and freeze it in Popsicle form. You can use food color to dye the liquid in his favorite color. If you do not have a Popsicle tray, stick toothpicks or bamboo skewers in the ice once it starts to form in the ice cube tray.

Has the ORS formula changed for infants and children, are we now using 6 teaspoons of sugar and no more 8?

Developing clinical material for nurses.

Putting more than 8 level teaspoons of sugar into 1 liter of water may worsen the condition of the person. The generic formula is adding 6 - 8 level teaspoons. To be safer, put 6 teaspoons of sugar into water.

For 150 to 250 ml of water, what should be the proportion of salt and sugar?

For 150 to 250 ml of water, what should be the proportion of salt and sugar

For 150 ml of water, use the recipe above. For the 250 ml of water, add 3/4 teaspoon of salt to 8 teaspoons of sugar.

How can I make ORS in a community where there is no level teaspoon? And again where there is no 20ml cup?

In some contexts like south Sudan, 2/3 of the population live in the remote parts of the country where it's difficult to get a level teaspoon and 20L cup for local use in an emergency.

A standard cup is 8 ounces or 236 ml of water. These are the coffee mugs or small reusable mugs. In a place where you can't measure out the ingredients, encase your hand around the cup from the base. Pour water up to your thumb and then put 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 6 teaspoons of sugar. If you do not have measuring spoons any utensil spoon will do, just half the amount on the spoon for the salt.

What's the volume of a teaspoon in ml?

What's the volume of a teaspoon in ml

There are 4.9 ml of volume in one teaspoon.

How many cups in a liter? can I make this a cup at a time?

I think I am very dehydrated, I have been sick for 2 weeks and my urine is very dark, I am shaky, no energy, can't think very clear. I didn't see where it says you can just make a cup at a time, or how may

There are four cups of liquid to one liter.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Health & Wellness

Recent edits by: tarek, VisiHow, gogo

Share this Article:

Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 45,036 times.


Thank Our Volunteer Authors.

Would you like to give back to the community by fixing a spelling mistake? Yes | No