There continues to be debate amongst Nurses regarding the ‘best way’ to clean a wound. Did you know a document has been released by Wounds Australia Application of aseptic technique in wound dressing procedure A consensus document which provides good guidelines for a variety of healthcare settings in Australia?

Here are some of the interesting points!

Stainless Steel Scissors – Scissors that have not touched the  wound, tissue, blood or body fluids and are going to be used to cut open but unused dressing products

Conduct a risk assessment of the patient, the wound, the environment and the procedural complexity when considering whether to reuse the scissors to cut more open-but-unused dressing products.

We need to promote asepsis by storing and labelling the scissors and ensuring they are kept for a specific patient and not used for others!


Prior to using the patient-specific dressing scissors:

1. Inspect the scissors for cleanliness and integrity
2. Wipe the scissors with an alcohol or detergent wipe from the back of the blades to avoid injury to the Nurse

After using the patient-specific dressing scissors:

1. Wash the scissors in warm, soapy, potable tap water or clean with an alcohol or detergent wipe
2. Store the scissors in the original packaging within a clean, resealable plastic bag labelled with the patient’s name,
identification number and date the scissors were first used

Wound Cleansing:

Potable  ( drinkable tap ) Water – this  can include the washing of the wound under the shower

1.Do NOT use potable tap water  when a surgical aseptic technique is required

2.Tap water declared not potable (unsuitable for drinking) is not to be used for wound cleansing or cleansing of scissors

3.Ensure the cloths/linen used for washing the wound are clean or disposable and used only on the wound

4. Keep cleansing the wound separate from the action of washing the intact peri-wound and surrounding skin

5 Run the potable tap water for 30 seconds prior to its use for wound cleansing or you can use water boiled for three minutes and left to cool

6.Avoid immersion or soaking of wounds in water

Cleansing a Wound in the Shower:

1.Cleaning the wound in the shower must be separated from washing the rest of the body.
2.It is not acceptable to clean a wound in a shared shower space (e.g. a multi-patient use shower in a residential facility or hospital)
3. It is not acceptable to clean a foot wound in a shower or bath


1′.water running over other body areas prior to reaching the wound and/or faecal or urinary incontinence increases the risk
of contamination
2.reduced cognitive function might impair the patient’s ability to follow instructions
3. shower cubicles are potential sources of significant bacteria and fungus’

Sterilised Solutions:

1.Use a sterilised solution where possible.

2.When the use of a sterilised solution is not possible or practical, potable tap water can be used as a wound cleansing solution when a risk assessment of the patient, the wound and the environment is assessed to be low risk.

Asepsis remains the aim when potable tap water is used for wound cleansing—avoid using it if there is any concern that the procedure will not meet this standard.

Download Information

Nurses interested in extending their knowledge in wound management see our Latest  Wound Management Program – you can pick and choose modules of interest to you! Click here>>

The Nursing CPD Institute provides great information and CPD  on an array of nursing topics including wound care in a range of easy learning ways including webinars and quizzes on the latest information that Nurses need to know – remember the Nursing CPD Institute created by Australian Nurses for Nurses!