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How to Remove Gauze That Sticks to Wounds

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How to Remove Gauze That Sticks to Wounds
Work slowly and cautiously when removing gauze that's stuck to a wound. Photo Credit Csaba Deli/iStock/Getty Images

Caring for a cut, scrape or another type of wound usually involves changing the bandage regularly to keep the area clean and protected while it heals. Wounds often bleed and ooze fluid, so it's not unusual for gauze to stick to healing skin. This makes it a bit challenging and potentially painful to change the bandage or dressing. But with a little patience and a few common household items, you can usually remove the adhered gauze relatively painlessly without reopening the wound.

Step 1

Wash your hands with soap and water before beginning a bandage or wound dressing change. Having clean hands reduces the chance of contaminating the area with bacteria or dirt.

Step 2

Fill a large bowl with warm tap water similar in temperature to bathwater.

Step 3

With clean scissors, cut the adhesive strips from the gauze portion of the bandage and discard them.

Step 4

Place a bath towel underneath the bandaged area to absorb water that might otherwise drip onto the floor during the removal process.

Step 5

Immerse a clean washcloth in the warm water. Lightly wring the cloth such that it's still dripping wet.

Step 6

Hold the water-soaked washcloth over the bandage and squeeze so that warm water flows out and saturates the gauze. If necessary, wet the washcloth again and squeeze more warm water onto the gauze to completely saturate it.

Step 7

Dip the washcloth in the warm water again. Gently wring. Place the dripping-wet, warm washcloth over the saturated gauze. Leave in place for 10 minutes.

Step 8

Remove the washcloth from atop the gauze. Lift the edge of the gauze and gently begin peeling it away from the wound. If you encounter slight resistance, use a cotton-tipped swab dipped in the warm water to help separate the gauze from the wound.

If the gauze is still firmly adhered the wound, stop. Re-wet the washcloth with warm water and place it over the gauze for another 10 minutes. Repeat the process described to remove the gauze.

Step 9

After the gauze has been removed, gently pat the area with a clean, dry washcloth or allow it to air dry.

Step 10

Place a clean bandage or dressing on the wound, if needed.

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