How to Use Iodoform Gauze

Iodoform gauze is a small strip of sterile gauze used to pack wounds to prevent closure on the outside when drainage from the inside is needed. Common uses for iodoform gauze are staph infections of the skin or surgical incisions, both of which must drain fluid material out of the body.

Using Iodoform Gauze

Have an assistant hold the bottle of iodoform gauze and remove the lid. Wear sterile gloves, and pull the end of the iodoform strip out of the bottle using sterile forceps. Take extreme care not to touch any non-sterile surfaces 2.

Allow your assistant to put the cap on the bottle with the iodoform strip sticking out once a sufficient amount of iodoform has been removed. Cut the gauze 2 or 3 cm from the cap with sterile scissors. The entire strip you are holding is sterile and ready to be packed into the wound. Estimate and record the amount of gauze used 2.

Use a sterile, cotton-tipped applicator to push the gauze into the wound. The gauze should be packed by folding back and forth in the wound. Use enough gauze to pack the entire wound, but leave about 3 cm sticking out of the wound to tape into place 1.

Remove the used gauze when the wound is ready to be cleaned and repacked. This is usually once a day, but the timing depends on the doctor's orders. The gauze should be easy to remove, and it should be disposed of properly once it is removed. Repack the wound using an iodoform strip 1 to 3 cm shorter than the initial piece.

Touch only the non-sterile part that was outside the bottle with the non-sterile hand. When using the iodoform for the second time, the tab sticking out of the bottle can be pulled with a non-sterile hand. After the gauze is pulled out, the end that is cut will be sterile and can be used to pack the wound 1. Simply cut the gauze at least 2 inches from the non-sterile part that you're holding 2.


Many yards of iodoform gauze come in a bottle. The length you require must be cut from the bulk using sterile procedures.


Make sure the wound is clean before packing or repacking with iodoform gauze. Ensure that the iodoform gauze remains sterile during the procedure.