Donate |

Best treatment for cuts is not hydrogen peroxide

Last updated: September 2011

It's long been a fixture of American medicine cabinets, but hydrogen peroxide is not the treatment for cuts you might think it is. In fact, the properties in it that kill bacteria can actually damage healthy cell tissue. (The same is true of other disinfectants, such as alcohol and iodine.) That rarely causes serious harm, but it could slow healing time. Studies show that for most cuts and scrapes, rinsing thoroughly with water and cleaning the surrounding area with plain soap is at least as effective at preventing infection as hydrogen peroxide. And it's less irritating to the wounded tissue. Use lots of water, at a high enough pressure to flush out debris.

Hydrogen peroxide shouldn't be your first-line treatment for cuts, but it's not a bad idea to stash some in an emergency kit for when you don't have access to clean water. Keep some rubbing alcohol in the kit for disinfecting surfaces and various first-aid tools such as tweezers.

   

E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters!
Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Latest From Consumer Reports

SAVE AT THE SUPERMARKET
When to scrimp and when to splurge at the store Sometimes it pays to spend more on everyday products, but not always.
THERMOSTAT REVIEWS
5 ways a programmable thermostat can save moneyVideo The latest models we've tested have impressive energy-saving features.
Drugs
BEST BUY DRUGS
Special report: The dangers of painkillersVideo Every year, Percocet, Vicodin, and other opioids kill 17,000 Americans.
NEW CAR REVIEWS
Find a deal: Best new cars for under $25,000Video You don’t need to spend a fortune to get a good, reliable, safe vehicle.
ELECTRONICS NEWS
Hot stuff: Just how safe are lithium-ion batteries? Smart phones and other devices can overheat under certain circumstances.
POD COFFEEMAKER REVIEWS
4 must-have features on your next pod coffeemaker Video Some single-serve machines are more versatile than others.

Connect

and safety with
subscribers and fans

Follow us on:

Cars

Cars New Car Price Report
Find out what the dealers don't want you to know! Get dealer pricing information on a new car with the New Car Price Report.

Order Your Report

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more