How to Sterilize Gauze

Medical gauze is most often used as a protective guard for wounds or cuts. Because gauze comes in direct contact with open wounds, it is of utmost importance that the gauze used is sterile 1. All gauze is guaranteed sterile until it is removed from its packaging, but keeping it sterile when the packaging has been removed or compromised will ensure it is free of potentially harmful pathogens. Ultraviolet lights and iodine are the most effective methods of ensuring the gauze you use is free of dirt, bacteria and viruses.

Clean the wound with soap and water -- or peroxide, if available -- prior to applying the gauze 1. Sterile gauze will not prevent infection, if the wound itself has been contaminated 1.

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Place the it in an ultraviolet chamber and leave it for an hour 1. This will kill any germs and contaminants on the surface of the gauze.

Float the gauze in a pot of boiling water, if you do not have access to an ultraviolet chamber. Allow the gauze to sit in the boiling water for 2 to 3 minutes. Remove it and place it on a surface that has been thoroughly cleaned with soap and water, to prevent re-contamination.

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Put iodine on the gauze, once the it has been sterilized using boiling water or ultraviolet light 1. Immediately place the gauze iodine-side down on the wound.