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How to Clean a Wound & Place a Sterile Dressing

author image Ellen Douglas
Ellen Douglas has written on food, gardening, education and the arts since 1992. Douglas has worked as a staff reporter for the Lakeville Journal newspaper group. Previously, she served as a communication specialist in the nonprofit field. She received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Connecticut.
How to Clean a Wound & Place a Sterile Dressing
Some wounds may be cleaned and dressed at home. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Cleaning and dressing a wound can be a daunting task, whether you're tending to your own injury or that of another person. Abrasions, puncture wounds, cuts, burns and surgical incisions often call for cleaning and dressing the affected site. Many wounds may be treated at home. If unsure of how to properly carry out the procedure, check with your doctor.

Prepare to Dress the Wound

Step 1

Apply pressure to the injury if minor bleeding occurs. Wait until bleeding stops before cleaning and dressing the wound.

Step 2

Take pain medication. This step may be unnecessary for minor wounds, but for cuts in need of hard scrubbing, the medication may help.

Step 3

Wash your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water. Dry them with a clean cloth, then put on gloves.

Clean and Dress the Wound

Step 1

Wash the wound with antibacterial soap. Cleanse in the shower or over a sink. Use antibacterial soap and warm water.

Step 2

Scrub the wound with gauze dampened with the cleaning solution. A new wound may be filled with debris and dirt if it results from a fall or scrape. Older wounds often produce dead tissue, which should be removed.

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Step 3

Rinse the wound with cleaning solution. If you don't have prescription solution, use water.

Step 4

Apply medicated cream to the wound. Use gauze or a clean tongue depressor if your doctor has prescribed the cream. Spread the cream carefully over the wound, avoiding the surrounding skin.

Step 5

Apply surgical tape around the gauze. Do this if the gauze does not come with adhesive edges.

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