Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario

Nursing Best Practice Guidelines

Local Wound Care - Wound Cleansing
Recommendation Level of Evidence
3.4a  Do not use skin cleansers or antiseptic agents (e.g., povidine iodine, iodophor, sodium hypochlorite solution, hydrogen peroxide, acetic acid) to clean ulcer wounds. III
3.4b  Use normal saline, Ringer´s lactate, sterile water or non-cytoxic wound cleansers for wound cleansing. IV
3.4c  Fluid used for cleansing should be warmed at least to room temperature. III
3.4d  Cleanse wounds at each dressing change. IV
3.4e  To reduce surface bacteria and tissue trauma, the wound should be gently irrigated with 100 to 150 milliliters of solution. IV
3.4f  Use enough irrigation pressure to enhance wound cleansing without causing trauma to the wound bed. Safe and effective ulcer irrigation pressures range from 4 to 15 psi. Pressure of 4 to 15 psi is achieved by using:
  • 35 milliliter syringe with a 19 gauge angiocath, or
  • single-use 100 milliliter saline squeeze bottle.

[back to top]