Cleaning Wounds – The first step to support an optimal wound healing

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Cleaning wounds and grazes thoroughly is vital to reduce the risk of infection. Proper wound care can prevent scarring and promote optimal wound healing.

If you've suffered a cut, before applying a plaster make sure you carefully clean your wound first. In this article, learn how to clean a wound and how to disinfect a cut using Elastoplast products.

How to clean a wound

It's important to learn how to clean a cut or graze in case you or your child require treatment. Wounds should be cleaned and bandaged as soon as possible. For minor wounds, you should be able to do this yourself.

  1. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly.
    Wear disposable gloves if possible - clean, covered hands prevent infections. If you're treating someone else, ensure they're sitting or laying down.
  2. If bleeding, apply gentle pressure.
    Carefully press on the wound with a clean cloth or sterile gauze. Small cuts or scrapes may not require pressure.
  3. Rinse the wound under running tap water.
    This loosens the skin and removes initial layers of debris.
  4. Clean the wound with Elastoplast Wound Spray.
    Spray the entire wound area from a distance of about 10cm to remove dirt and visible particles.
  5. Gently pat dry the wound and surrounding skin area using a clean towel or cloth.
    Avoid using anything fluffy like a cotton ball or swab, as strands of material can get stuck inside the wound.
  6. Apply a plaster or sterile dressing to prevent bacteria from entering the wound.
    If blood soaks through, leave it in place, apply pressure and add another dressing.

Don't try to remove anything embedded in the wound. Learn more in 'When to see a doctor about a wound' below.

Packshot of Elastoplast Wound Spray
Use Elastoplast Wound Spray as part of the Wound Care Routine
Wound cleansing is the use of fluids to remove surface bacteria and contaminants from the surface of a wound and its surrounding skin. Use the Elastoplast Wound Spray to cleanse wounds fast without pain. The solution is colourless, odourless and will prevent wound infections. It is also suitable for children and sensitive skin.

When changing your plaster or wound dressing, you should only clean the cut again if there are signs of infection, the wound contains debris, or it's visibly contaminated with faecal material. When a wound is infected, wound cleansing should take place at each dressing change. Learn how to treat an infected cut.

Why is wound care important?

Cleaning wounds can prevent infections and other complications
When the skin is injured the protective skin barrier is damaged, meaning dirt and bacteria can enter the body. This can cause a wound infection, which results in further skin damage and a delayed healing process. If not treated rapidly, the infection may spread to deeper tissue and lead to an even more serious health condition. This is why the first step to optimal wound care is to ensure the wound is clean and cleansed.

Which wounds should be cleansed?

Irrespective of their size, wounds will heal better if they are first cleansed from dirt, bacteria and visible particles - so don’t underestimate a small wound. Cleansing is essential for many types of acute wounds, such as cuts, abrasions, burns and open blisters.

Regular cleansing is also recommended for the treatment of chronic and post-operative wounds as per doctor’s instruction. A chronic wound is defined by the International Wound Infection Institute as “a wound that has a slow progression through the healing phases, or shows delayed, interrupted or stalled healing due to intrinsic and extrinsic factors that impact on the individual and their wound”.

How to disinfect a cut with Elastoplast Wound Spray

Elastoplast Wound Spray is easy to use

Household disinfectants should not be used on damaged skin. Since ‘disinfection’ refers to the destruction of microorganisms on the surface of non-living objects, the term is misleading in the context of wound care because these products may not only kill bacteria but also harm living skin cells. Wound cleansing solutions should reduce the number of microorganisms without harming human tissue.

Wound cleansing using the Elastoplast Wound Spray
In contrast, the Elastoplast Wound Spray can be used to disinfect a cut or wound. It’s intended for antiseptic wound cleansing, which is the physical removal of dirt and harmful bacteria from the damaged skin. The formula of the Elastoplast Wound Spray is particularly skin-friendly and protects most living skin cells, which are essential for the skin’s regeneration. 

Polihexanide (PHMB) is a modern substance which is used in hospitals around the world and widely recommended for the cleansing and decontamination of wounds. It is effective against a broad spectrum of germs and bacteria and at the same time it’s well tolerated by skin and tissue.

Why you shouldn’t use alcohol to clean wounds

Using rubbing alcohol to clean wounds is a common practice which some of us know from our childhood or from watching films. However, alcohol is not a good choice for treating an injury because it burns when applied to wounds, making it especially unsuitable for children and sensitive skin.

Also, alcohol not only destroys bacteria but also living skin cells. Experts recommend using products that are free of alcohol, like the Elastoplast Wound Spray.

When to see a doctor about a wound

While the advice above should help clean your wound as part of an optimal healing process, you should seek medical advice if your wound:

  • will not stop bleeding
  • has an object inserted in it
  • is very deep or large
  • has not showed any signs of healing after one month
  • is too painful for you to be able to clean it
  • was caused by a bite (either animal or human) 
  • is located near to a major blood vessel or joint
  • shows signs of infection (has pus coming out or is red and swollen)
Always see a doctor if the wound is deep, bleeds heavily or shows signs of infection like reddening, swelling or warmth.

Please note that, although these were compiled with great care, the tips and advice given on this website by no means substitute medical advice and treatment. If you have or suspect a health problem, consult a doctor and follow medical advice regardless of what you have learned on this website.

Always read carefully and follow the instructions for use or the leaflets of our products. For further information about our products, please contact us via email at