How to Soak an Infected Wound

Updated March 21, 2017

Infected wounds can be trouble if not taken care of properly. Continuous inflammation can cause cellulitis, gangrene or even death. That's why it's important to know the signs of infection and learn how to effectively soak your wound. The right amount of water treatment reduces infection and promotes faster heating.

Use a clean sink or small water basin to soak the wounded area in warm water for 20 minutes three times a day. According to About Kids Health, a warm wet wash cloth can be used in place of the basin for the same amount of time each day.

Apply a warm saltwater solution to the infected wound to rid the area of any pus or loose tissue. The solution should contain two teaspoons of salt per quart of water. Ask your doctor about providing a syringe in case irrigation of the wound is needed before applying the solution.

Clean the injury with water and change bandage once a day until the wound heals. After the wound has closed, apply a heating pad or warm cloth to the reddened area for 20 minutes at least three times a day. Avoid soaking sutured wounds. Sutures can be lightly washed with soap and water, but wait until stitches are out before allowing any elongated moisture.

Pay attention to signs that your wound is not healing despite soaking. Family recommends seeking emergency treatment if the wound has dirt that will not come out; drains a thick, creamy greyish liquid; is surrounded by red streaks; or you begin running a fever of more than 37.8 degrees C. Also seek a physician's advice if the area around the wound goes numb.


Treatment of infected wounds should be used in combination with antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. All wounds heal differently depending on severity and body location. Consult your physician for a healing time estimate.


If your infected wound is deep and you have not had a tetanus shot in five years, consult your doctor before treating the injury on your own.

Things You'll Need

  • clean sink or small basin
  • wash cloth
  • water
  • spoon
  • salt
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About the Author

Alicia Gallegos is a journalist in northwestern Indiana. She previously wrote for the "American Medical News, "a Chicago-based health newspaper published by the American Medical Association. She began her career at the South Bend Tribune, where she covered public safety, courts, food safety, education and health care.