What is Wound Wash?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Wound wash is a product that is used to clean out wounds safely so that dirt or debris is rinsed away from affected area. The liquid that makes up wound wash is sterile so that there is the best possible chance that bacteria will not enter the wound during the washing process. Wound wash is usually used to treat injuries that occurred in unsanitary or messy conditions. For example, if a boy fell on a dirt road and scraped his knee, there is a good chance that there would be dirt in the wound that would need to be washed away before it could be bandaged. This is the sort of situation when would wash would be of use.

Wound wash cleans cuts of dirt and debris.
Wound wash cleans cuts of dirt and debris.

It is important to have any serious or even moderately serious injuries treated by a medical professional. Wound wash can be a useful item to have in a first aid kit. Many varieties of wound wash come in a bottle or can with a spray nozzle. This allows the user to direct the flow of the wound wash onto specific areas of the skin that have been affected by an injury. A spray nozzle also offers a bit of force that helps to dislodge dirt and debris that may be embedded in the wound. In some cases, however, it will be necessary to use a tool such as tweezers to remove deeply embedded debris before using wound wash.

A wound wash can be used to wash an injured area between dressings.
A wound wash can be used to wash an injured area between dressings.

Most wound wash is made out of sterile saline. There are also some formulas that have anti-bacterial ingredients. This version of the product can be used if a wound occurs under unsanitary conditions. While it may make good sense to treat the wound with an antibiotic ointment after the wound has been thoroughly cleaned and prepped for dressing, using an antibiotic wound wash can offer an added benefit of spraying antibiotics into the wound.

Sterile tweezers should be used to remove embedded debris before using wound wash.
Sterile tweezers should be used to remove embedded debris before using wound wash.

Wound wash can also be used to wash an injured area between dressings. For this purpose, regular or antibacterial wash can be used. This is sometimes useful when dressing wounds on a person who has a difficult time getting in and out of the shower or bath tub and cannot easily wash the wound during daily bathing routines. If it seems as if the wound is becoming infected between dressings, be sure to have it treated by a medical professional. This is especially true if antibacterial wash and antibacterial topical ointment does not seem to be clearing up the infection.

A doctor will often use a wound wash to clean the injury before dressing it.
A doctor will often use a wound wash to clean the injury before dressing it.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

You might also Like

Readers Also Love

Discuss this Article

Post your comments
Login:
Forgot password?
Register: