Sodium bicarbonate, commonly referred to as baking soda, is commonly used to treat wounds at all stages of healing because of its disinfectant properties. Baking soda can help remove hardened scabs, prevent scars from forming and lower the risk of developing an infection at the site of a wound. Before treating any serious wound with baking soda, consult a physician.
Baking Soda Properties
When combined with water, an endothermic reaction turns baking soda into a mild antiseptic, according to the textbook "Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology." It is not toxic in small doses and unlikely to cause an allergic reaction because its only ingredients are sodium, hydrogen carbon and oxygen. It is highly effective at treating scalding when applied before the development of scabs and blisters.
Removing a Scab
When a wound is healing, repeated cleaning of the area can result in dry skin and a hard, itchy scab. Baking soda can help soften and remove the scab, but should only be used when the wound is no longer painful or seeping. "The Doctor's Book of Home Remedies" recommends mixing 2 to 3 tablespoons of baking soda with a half cup of water, then applying to the scab. Leave the paste on the wound for 15 minutes and then rinse thoroughly.
Cleaning a Scab
Baking soda has mild antiseptic and drying properties, and is effective at keeping a wound clean and preventing excessive oozing. It works best on scabs that are still soft and wounds that are still painful or itchy. Simply apply a paste of two to three tablespoons baking soda mixed with a half cup of water. The baking soda might fizz and bubble, and you might feel very mild burning. When the bubbling stops, rinse the baking soda from the wound.
After a scab has fallen off, keeping the wound clean and dry can enable further healing and reduce your chances of developing a scar, according to the "Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies." Soak a bandage in a solution containing 1 teaspoon of baking soda to one half cup of water and apply the bandage to the wound, removing the bandage daily and allowing the wound at least 12 hours of exposure to air without the bandage every day.
- Doctor's Book of Home Remedies; Editors of Prevention
- Mayo Clinic Book of Home Remedies; Mayo Clinic
- Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology; Gerald Audesirk, et al.