How to Get a Stuck Bandage Off

Updated April 17, 2017

Wounds are injuries to the skin that include cuts, scrapes, punctures and scratches. An important aspect of wound care is bandaging the wound in order to keep it free from outside contaminants, such as dirt and bacteria. You should change your bandages every few days to ensure they remain fresh. Many times adhesive bandages and gauze can become stuck in the wound, making removal difficult. Special care and attention should be used when changing a difficult to remove bandage.

Wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Hands come into contact with various bacteria throughout the day. The germs are easily transferred into open wounds and will result in a secondary infection. A secondary infection of a wound will prolong healing time.

Remove the portion of the bandage that you are able to easily pull away. Rolled gauze bandages have several layers; most will be easily removable. You may not be able to remove any portion of smaller adhesive bandages or patches. Small bandage scissors are useful for cutting away excess bandage, and will help separate the loose portion of the bandage.

Pour sterile saline over the bandage. This solution will help to loosen the pieces of the bandage that are stuck to the wound due to dried blood or scabs.

Grasp the bandage on each side. Lift the edges of the bandage slowly in the direction of hair growth. Pulling a bandage away too quickly may damage the underlying wound.

Remove the bandage and dispose of it in a proper trash receptacle.

Place a piece of gauze over the wound and apply firm pressure if the wound begins to bleed. Hold the gauze in place for several minutes or until you are certain the bleeding has stopped.

Clean the area with mild soap and water or an antiseptic solution, such as hydrogen peroxide. Apply another bandage to the wound if the wound has not fully healed or if the wound is seeping.


For sticky adhesive bandages, apply baby oil to a cotton ball and dab the edges until loose.


Wounds that will not stop bleeding should be immediately evaluated by a health care professional.

Things You'll Need

  • Cotton balls
  • Saline solution
  • Sterile gauze
  • Bandages
  • Bandage scissors
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About the Author

Amanda Goldfarb became a freelance writer in 2006. She has written many articles for "Oviedo TRI-Lights," "Cool Runnings" and several other health- and fitness-related blogs. She has also contributed to her town's tri-club newsletter. Goldfarb obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Central Florida and is currently pursuing a degree in emergency medical services.