What Are the Common Causes of Clear Pus?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 23 January 2019
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In most cases, clear pus or fluid indicates that a wound is healing. It does not typically signal an infection, and it is usually much thinner than other forms of pus. In fact, clear pus often is not true pus at all. It may commonly be noticed as oozing from healing scrapes or cuts, pimples, and other minor injuries. As long as the fluid is clear, there is usually no cause for concern.

Pus is a fluid caused by infection, in most cases, when bacteria and white blood cells combine as the body tries to fight pathogens. It is usually pale yellow to greenish in color, and it sometimes has a foul odor. Clear pus may also appear, although this usually does not signal a true infection. Antibiotics are typically not required for wounds with clear fluid oozing from them. Most heal on their own within days without any treatment, although there are steps one can take to help ensure that an infection doesn't take hold.

Anyone who has wounds with clear pus should cover the area with a bandage to prevent dirt and other debris from entering. Using an antibacterial lotion or ointment is also a good idea, since it will help kill bacteria that may enter beneath any bandaging. Cleaning the wound daily with hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or a commercial cleaning agent will also help keep infection at bay. This will help the wound heal and prevent the injury from becoming more serious.


If at any time the pus changes to yellow or another darker color, a doctor should be notified since this signals an infection has taken root. Antibiotics should be given to ensure that the infection is cleared. The majority of cases will heal properly with treatment, especially with minor wounds. Other signs of infection can include pain, swelling, redness, heat, and fever. If any of these other signs are present, with or without pus, a doctor's visit is in order.

Clear pus is also common with pimples. Those with acne may notice a clear fluid oozing from pimples, especially if they are squeezed. This may mean that the acne is being caused by a bacterial infection of the pores, especially if yellow pus is also present. Most pimples will heal on their own within a week. They can heal faster if an over the counter topical acne cream is used.


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Post 3

When I got my ears pierced, I had clear pus in the piercing for several weeks afterward. It would dry up and become flaky but it never turned yellow and it didn't smell bad so I left it alone.

Post 2

Clear pus is actually beneficial, especially when it's inside a blister. It protects from infection and speeds up healing. It's not a good idea to pop a blister because it allows bacteria to get in.

Obviously, yellow or green pus is not good. But if the pus is just from a small pimple, it's not a big deal and it's easily treatable with antibiotic ointment. If there is a constant discharge of colored pus, that's a sign of a more serious infection and it's a good idea to have a doctor check it out. Oral antibiotics may be necessary and the doctor may have to drain the pus to treat it.

Post 1

They say not to pop a blister caused by friction. Apparently, we should leave it alone and allow the clear pus to be absorbed by the body. But why?

I have popped blisters before and nothing bad happened. What's the purpose of clear pus in a blister anyway?

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