How to Properly Disinfect a Wound

When you hurt yourself, you have to treat the cut to prevent possible infections and serious consequences.
How to Properly Disinfect a Wound
Mario Benedetti Arzuza

Written and verified by the doctor Mario Benedetti Arzuza.

Last update: 25 May, 2022

Living things’ skin acts as a barrier to keep viruses and other harmful agents out of the body. If you hurt yourself, bacteria can get into the wound and then multiply inside or around it, leading to serious infections that can spread to your whole body. That’s why it’s so important to know how to clean and properly disinfect a wound.

How to properly disinfect a wound

Wash your hands

  • Before touching the wound and starting to clean it, you need to wash your hands well with soap and water.
  • Boil water to sterilize the instruments that you need to treat the wound (tweezers, scissors, etc.).
  • Put on latex gloves to make sure the wound never comes into contact with your hands. That could lead to infection.
  • If the wound isn’t very deep, wash it with soap and water (use anti-bacterial soap). Or, if it’s deep, use another disinfectant solution (like hydrogen peroxide or chlorhexidine).
  • If you don’t have a disinfectant on hand, you can easily make one: boil water and add salt. You can use iodine and rubbing alcohol around the wound to clean it. Don’t pour either directly on the wound since you might damage the tissue and delay normal recovery.
  • If the affected area is too contaminated by bits and pieces of things, use tweezers to pick them out and then clean the area.
  • After completely cleaning the wound, apply an anti-inflammatory (or a disinfectant or an antiseptic) to dry out the area and help rebuild the damaged tissue. If not the wound will take longer to recover.
  • It’s much better for the healing process if the wound is in contact with fresh air, but sometimes they need to be protected to be able to close completely. For those wounds, use gauze or any other soft, hypoallergenic fabric to protect the area. Change the dressing every day to see how it’s doing and keep it clean.

So, it might seem like a lot of tips, but learning how to properly disinfect a wound is important. Plus, in the end, the main things to remember are: cleanliness and hygiene.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.