To care for minor wounds, doctors recommend washing hands or wearing disposable protective gloves to prevent infection; applying slight pressure using a clean cloth or sterile bandage if the wound continues to bleed; elevating the wound; and cleaning it with clean water, soap and a washcloth, according to Mayo Clinic. To avoid irritation, do not rub soap on the wound.
If the wound still contains dirt or debris, use alcohol to clean a pair of tweezers, and use the tool to get rid of any dirt on the wound, instructs Mayo Clinic. After cleaning the wound properly, smear a thin layer of antibiotic ointment or cream to keep the wound moist, aid the healing process and reduce risk of an infection. Discontinue use of the ointment or cream if it causes a rash.
Next, protect the wound by covering it with bandages, suggests Mayo Clinic. Minor scrapes or scratches may not need a cover. Change the bandage whenever it gets damp or dirty, preferably at least once daily. Leave the wound exposed to speed healing once it heals enough.
Go to a doctor if the wound has debris that is difficult to remove using tweezers, notes Mayo Clinic. Proper cleaning is essential to avoid infection and tetanus. Deep wounds often require stitches within a few hours to reduce the appearance of scars.