Cleaning a wound quickly and effectively can help prevent infection and reduce your risk of complications, so you should know how to clean wounds properly in order to keep yourself and your family healthy.
Cleaning your wound is essential to its health and well-being, but it’s not always easy to get the job done. If you are caring for someone else who has been wounded, you might feel even more pressure to make sure that you do the best job possible, but figuring out how to clean a wound can be tricky if you’ve never done it before.
This guide on how to clean a wound will walk you through the requirements and procedures necessary to keep your wound healthy and free of infections and complications.
Stages of cleaning a wound
Cleaning a wound is relatively easy, especially if your first-aid kit is kept up to date. It’s best not to make things more complicated than they have to be when cleaning wounds. In fact, if you remember three simple stages when cleaning any wound, then everything should run smoothly.
Fill your sink with warm water and swirl in one teaspoon of antiseptic soap. Submerge your cotton ball or pad in water for about 30 seconds, then squeeze out excess liquid so that it’s damp but not dripping wet. Press (don’t rub!) on the wound until clean—it should come off fairly easily at first. Apply antibiotic ointment to it.
Make sure that all tools used are sterilized or new. Wash your hands with antibacterial soap before starting to cleanse your wound. If you have taken any drugs for pain relief then skip over these steps as they can compromise their effectiveness.
A list of what’s required for each stage can be found below. The only other thing that might come in handy during cleaning a wound is an antiseptic wash or spray, which will kill off any germs that could cause infection. If it’s available, feel free to use it as part of your cleaning routine; but even without it, you should still clean out all dirt and debris from a wound before closing it up with bandages or stitches
What you will need when Cleaning a wound
1) Clean, non-fluffy cotton ball or pad;
2) Antibacterial soap
3) Hydrogen peroxide
4) Clean water
5) Clean Towels
6) Antibiotic Ointment
7) First Aid Kit
Clean the Area Around The Wound
Before cleaning any wound, it’s important to clean off any dirt or debris that has made its way onto your body. Cleaning up wounds is about removing bacteria from your body, so take care in thoroughly rinsing off any foreign substances from around your wound before you start cleaning it. When dealing with deep wounds, there may be dirt trapped within them that makes cleaning difficult—wear gloves when handling these kinds of injuries.
Cleaning a wound, especially one on your hand or another part of your body that is not easily reachable, can be tricky. If at all possible, have someone help you with cleaning out an area around the injury; it’s generally easier to clean large wounds from the outside in. If no one is available for assistance, however, use something flexible (such as a toilet paper roll) that can extend to reach inside larger cuts.
Clean a wound with soap and water
When cleaning your wound, make sure that it is washed with soap and water, but try not to scrub it. This can irritate your wound further or cause additional damage. You may also clean it with antibacterial soap if available.
Soap is not just for cleaning your body. It can also be used to clean wounds. Before you start cleaning, make sure that any foreign objects or dirt are removed from inside the wound by flushing it with water. Any dirty or sharp instruments that caused an open wound should also be cleaned with soap and water before being disposed of in a suitable container such as a sharps container. This will help prevent infection and cross-contamination of other wounds.
Remove foreign bodies, e.g. splinters
The first step in cleaning any wound is removing any foreign bodies present. Foreign bodies may not be visible on first inspection, so use your fingertips or tweezers to sift through the debris. The sensation of pain when using these will tell you if there’s something stuck. A splinter can be left in if it hasn’t penetrated deep into your skin—if it has, removes it.
Foreign bodies that are embedded in your skin can irritate it, especially if they happen to be sharp, or even toxic. You must remove any foreign bodies from your wound that isn’t going to come out on their own. To remove these foreign bodies, carefully wash them off with soap and water before cleaning them out of your skin with tweezers or needle-nosed pliers. Once all of them have been removed, continue cleaning your wound.
Prevent Infection By Applying an Antiseptic
Before you clean your wound, it’s important to know whether or not there is any risk of infection. Any cut that might come into contact with the fecal matter should be treated as contaminated—meaning you’ll want to get it cleaned quickly. Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning any wounds. Sterilize any implements, like tweezers or needles, that will be used on the wound.
Once there’s no longer any blood seeping from your wound, it’s time to clean it. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends washing with soap and water or applying an antiseptic immediately after cleaning a wound. Many healthcare providers also recommend applying an antibiotic ointment after cleaning—either petroleum jelly or Neosporin is fine, but watch out for anything containing aspirin or salicylic acid since they may irritate already-sensitive wounds.