Wound Cleansers

Keeping your wound clean and free of debris will help you avoid infection. If the wound is deep or in a sensitive area, you should see a medical professional for wound care and to provide home-care instructions.

Tips for Wound Irrigation and Wound Prep

If an injury is minor enough for you to clean at home, wash your hands or wear sterile gloves before you attempt to clean the wound. If there is debris inside the wound, you clean it out thoroughly.

You can remove most debris, such as dirt and sand, by flushing the wound with water or a saline wound cleanser to wash away unwanted particles and fluids. If you are bleeding or if you see pus coming out of the wound, wash that away as well. After you rinse, you can then use a disinfectant wound cleanser to remove microorganisms before applying a dressing.

If you change a dressing, you should assess the wound and cleanse it if you notice debris, pus, or blood around the area.

Types of Wound Cleansers

Manufacturers have created several different types of wound cleansers, and you can buy a variety to be prepared for any situation. If you have advice from your health care provider, you should follow their recommendation.

Saline Sprays: You can use saline wound sprays to irrigate the wound. The force of the spray can remove small debris such as sand or dirt, and fluids such as blood, from the wound. After you spray a few times, wipe down the wound with a clean cloth or cotton ball to remove the remainder of the fluid and debris.

Saline Bottled Solutions: Manufacturers design saline bottles to be used in large amounts when irrigating the wound. You should pour a large part of the solution over the wound to wash away debris and unwanted fluids. Note that if you are dealing with an eye injury or a chemical in your eye, you should use saline eye-wash or water to flush the area- you should also see an eye care provider as soon as possible.

Saline Wipes: Manufacturers designed saline wipes to deliver a consistent dose of saline without using too much. You can use saline wipes to clean minor wounds like small cuts, clean wounds around the eyes, and clean surgical wounds.

Antiseptic Bottled Solutions: You can use antiseptic bottled solutions to clean the wound of bacteria, dirt, and other contaminants. Put a bit of solution on a cotton ball and dab at the wound. An antiseptic solution may have Iodine, alcohol, an antibacterial, or an antimicrobial agent.

Antiseptic Sprays: Manufacturers make antiseptic sprays both with and without alcohol. Sprays without alcohol have some other antibacterial or antimicrobial agent. You can spray the antiseptic directly onto the wound and let it dry, or use a cotton ball to dab away excess liquid. You can use the spray to clean the wound after rinsing and before applying a dressing.

Antiseptic Wipes: You can use antiseptic wipes to clean a wound after irrigation. These come as:

  • Small alcohol Wipes
  • Large alcohol wipes
  • Iodine-rich wipes
  • Antiseptic wipes that do not have alcohol but have another sterilizing agent instead

  • If your wound is healing poorly or seems infected, even if you feel like you have cleaned and rinsed correctly, you should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible.