Wound Healing, Tap Water vs Salt Water

From skinned knees to surgical wounds. How do nurses and doctors promote wound healing?

A cut, or wound is quickly attended to by first cleansing it with soap and water, thoroughly rinsing it, then allowing it to dry.  What happens next? Research on utilizing tap water or salt water for further cleansing of surgical wounds was performed on patients who were followed over a period of six weeks. Researchers and patients documented their daily results.

Robert Gannon set out to explore how surgical wounds would heal.  “Griffiths et al (2001), (the same experts who assisted the Cochrane database review), carried out a double-blind randomized control trial of Tap Water versus 0.9% Saline Water (salt water) in 49 subjects.

  • Male and female participation was almost equal
  • Average age of 75 years old
  • Wounds studied were a mix of chronic and acute surgical wounds.
  • Explores the importance of warming cleansing solutions before use.

The results that were found have promoted changes within hospital and how wound healing is initiated. The surgical wounds were cleansed and then allowed to dry for a total of 40 minutes as researchers and patients documented the results over a period of 6 weeks.

Conclusion for cleansing with Tap Water

  • Soaking with Tap Water can be an inappropriate choice for regular wound irrigation as it may be detrimental to cells (Towler, 2001) causing cells to burst.  Duly demonstrated by adding water to a suspension of red blood cells causing them to lyse  (loosen or destroy) (Lawrence, 1997)
  • Cleanse wounds with room temperature water as a part of a normal hygiene routine using only a gauze. Do not soak wounds for long periods (Flanagan, 1997).
  • 34.7% of the patients had healed wounds in six weeks using  tap water.

Conclusion with the benefits of Cleansing with 0.9% Saline Water 

  • Room temperature saline water assisted in a faster healing process
  • Cleansing with saline water  (salt water) and with a gauze proved  most effective and quickest way to promote healing of a wound.
  • A total of 61.5% of those given saline healed after six weeks.

Cleansing with salt water made at home is an effective method to promote wound healing.

HOME REMEDY:  Combine 2 Ingredients into a clean glass.

  • 1/2 Tablespoon Fine Sea Salt  or table salt 
  • 1 cup room temperature water

Wash your hands with soap and water before applying.  Stir until salt dissolves. Apply to wound with sterile gauze or clean tea towel. Allow to air dry for 40 minutes before covering with gauze or band-aid. Repeat three times a day. 

RECOGNIZE THE LIMITS of the situation and if a Nurse Practitioner or Doctor should be contacted:

  •  If bleeding persists for 20 minutes.  Stitches may be needed.
  • Any infections that persist after 48 hours.
  • Fever.
  • Swelling is a sign of something more serious.


  • Use salt water as a mouth rinse when your tongue is white! This is a sign that influenza, a cold, or a yeast infection is present.
  • Salt water rinses for tooth ache or after removal of wisdom teeth.
  • Rinsing with 2 Tablespoons of white vinegar or apple cider vinegar will kill germs within the mouth. Rinses should be done three to four times a day.

By: Kimberly Crocker-Scardicchio


  • Gannon, R. (2007) Wound cleansing: sterile water or saline? Nursing Times; 103: 9, 44-46.  http://www.nursingtimes.net/nursing-practice/clinical-zones/wound-care/fact-file-wound-cleansing-sterile-water-or-saline/201829.article
  • Griffiths, R.D. et al (2001) Is tap water a safe alternative to normal saline for wound irrigation in the community. Journal of Wound Care; 10: 10, 407-411.
  • McGuinness, W. et al (2004) Influence of dressing changes on wound temperature. Journal of Wound Care; 13: 9, 383-385.
  • Lawrence, J.C. (1997) Wound irrigation. Journal of Wound Care; 6: 1, 23-26.Selim, P. et al (2001)
  • Evidence-based practice: tap water cleansing of leg ulcers in the community. Journal of Clinical Nursing; 10: 3, 372-379
  • Towler, J. (2001) Cleansing traumatic wounds with swabs, water or saline. Journal of Wound Care; 10: 6, 231-234.

Tuscan Home Remedy for Colds

Passed on from Tuscan natives to tourists and expats alike, this home remedy is tried and proven and will quickly heal those who are ailing from cold ailments, if  utilized multiple times throughout the day.  The idea behind the vapor treatments (done with vinegar and baking soda) is to disturb the present environment of the where the mucus is growing and a virus is thriving. Results after the first 2 treatments are immediately noticeable. This treatment is accepted by Doctor’s when addressing cold’s, however, should still be under advisement.  Often time’s when healing sinusitis and bronchitis, inhalation of vapor combined with eucalyptus drops may also be recommended.
6 cups Boiling water
1-2 Tea Bags
1/3 cup White or Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Baking soda
Have a large towel ready to create a tent as you cover your head over pan to capture and concentrate as many hot vapors as possible while inhaling.
1.  Boil 6 cups of water in medium to large size pan. Turn off stove and Remove pan placing it on to a hot pad on the  table.
2.  Add 1-2 Tea bags (Te`) to hot water in pan
3.   1/3 cup white or apple cider vinegar (Aceto or Aceto di Mela  to hot water)
4.   Cover head with a towel as to keep vapors inside tent,
5.  THEN slowly ADD 2  Tablespoons  Baking Soda (Biocarbinato)
6.   With mouth open inhale vapors that rise up. The first 10 seconds of inhaling the vapors are most important so don’t remove yourself from the bubbling reaction.
7  Utilizing the same pan of hot water, Repeat treatment 2 more times every 3 minutes by adding 1/4 cup vinegar and an additional 2 Tablespoons of Baking Soda. Your total first treatment will be for about 10 minutes.
Repeat 4-6 times throughout the day, may need to repeat for 2-3 days as needed.

1.  Squeeze as much of the juice of a lemon as possible into a glass.  Fill the rest of the glass with water.  Over 20 minutes time consume the lemon water. The vitamin C and antioxidants from the lemon will contribute to strengthening ones immune system.
2.Eat oranges and grapefruit to maximize vitamin C intake.
2.  To Suppress coughing consume 4-6 tablespoons of honey throughout the day.
3.  Drink hot Green, Black or White Tea throughout the day. 6-8 cups to keep body hydrated; additionally, the polyphenols from the tea will combat the virus that the body is fighting against.
4. Gargle with salt water. 1/2 glass of water, 1 Tablespoon salt, stir together . Gargle mouthful’s of water at a time towards back of throat. BE CAREFUL not to swallow water.

Kimberly Crocker