Home Grown Disinfectants

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Keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe is something that comes inherently to humans. Whenever we, or someone we love, gets hurt the natural solution is to dig the first-aid kit out of the storage closet or out of the back of the medicine cabinet. But sometimes we find ourselves in situations where first-aid implements are simply not available. Whether due to the time of night (and the local pharmacy being closed for the night) or because the first-aid kit seems to have grown legs and walked off, it is entirely possible to be left without proper tools for cleaning cuts, nicks and abrasions.

However, there are a few ways to deal with these situations using naturally occurring  materials, or at least materials that can be commonly found around the house.

Firstly, small cuts and scrapes can get infected just as easily as bigger wounds, so it is important to keep the area clean. Avoid touching the surrounding area or the immediately affected area as much as you can, and try to wash your hands before you do. If the injury occurs on your hand, wash both of them and dab dry with a clean, soft towel.

 Disinfecting with Lemon Juice?

Diluting lemon juice or vinegar in clean water will create an effective disinfectant, as the acidity of the liquids will immediately kill off most germs and help seal the wound to some degree. Antibacterial soaps found in your bathroom will work as well to keep bacteria at bay, as well as keeping the wound and surrounding area clean. Alcohol-based substances also act as sterilizers, but try to avoid anything you are not sure about to decrease the risk of aggravating the injury. In instances where acids such as vinegar or lemon juice are used, try to dilute them first to alleviate the harshness of the reaction.

 Don’t over do it…

Any of these substances in excess may cause damage to tissue regeneration, so it is important that you use small amounts, and never risk overusing anything you’re not sure about. The whole point of using household substances is to keep the injury from getting worse until you can get your hands on proper medical supplies.

Also, never underestimate the power of clean, cold water and clean wrappings. Cleaning the affected area with water and keeping it closed and wrapped up to avoid picking up dirt and harmful bacteria.

Remember: these homemade, impromptu first-aid devices are not meant for serious illnesses or injuries. Minor scrapes and cuts can be dealt with well enough, but if the wound continues to show signs of infection or doesn’t heal, make sure to seek medical help immediately.

Healthshare South Africa is one of the most successful hospital and pharmaceutical management service providers in the country, and forms part of the larger Healthshare group, which provides quality services throughout the African continent.

To find out more about Healthshare SA’s portfolio and how to have Healthshare manage your hospital/pharmacy/training program, visit the Healthshare website,


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