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How to Treat a Rug Burn

author image Adam Cloe
Adam Cloe has been published in various scientific journals, including the "Journal of Biochemistry." He is currently a pathology resident at the University of Chicago. Cloe holds a Bachelor of Arts in biochemistry from Boston University, a M.D. from the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in pathology from the University of Chicago.
How to Treat a Rug Burn
Rug burns most frequently occur on the knees or elbows. Photo Credit lzf/iStock/Getty Images

A rug burn is a common type of friction burn. The injury occurs when friction between your skin and a rough carpet surface rubs off the superficial skin layer. Unlike more serious types of friction burns -- such as road rash due to a car accident -- rug burns are almost always limited to the outermost layer of the skin. A rug burn can usually be treated safely at home, and typically heals in about a week without scarring.

Step 1

Wash your hands with soap and water. Thoroughly wet a clean washcloth with cool water. Wring slightly so it's not dripping water. Apply gentle soap to the washcloth.

Step 2

Place a bath towel under the injured area to catch any excess water. Gently clean the rug burn with the soapy washcloth to remove any dirt or fibers from the rug. This might hurt a bit as rug burns expose nerve endings in the skin. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean the wound, which is likely to be quite painful and might cause additional skin damage.

Step 3

Wet a second washcloth with cool water. Squeeze water from the dripping wet washcloth over the rug burn to rinse the soap from the wound. Repeat as necessary until the area is no longer soapy. Alternatively, if you can easily maneuver the injured area under a faucet, rinse away the soap under gently flowing cool water.

Step 4

Gently pat the area dry with the third washcloth. Allow the skin to thoroughly air dry.

Step 5

Cover the rug burn with a nonstick bandage to protect it from getting bumped or rubbed by clothing as it heals. Change the bandage daily or anytime it gets wet or dirty. Once the rug burn has a scab in place and is no longer oozing fluid, you can discontinue use of a bandage if desired. But be careful not to bump or otherwise reinjure the area.

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