DIY Antiseptic Solution for Irrigating Wounds - ITS Tactical

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DIY Antiseptic Solution for Irrigating Wounds

By The ITS Crew

A Paramedic friend of ours recently brought a DIY antiseptic to our attention called Dakin’s Solution.

In a situation where you might not have a drug store nearby, or commerce has come to a halt during a natural disaster, Dakin’s Solution can easily be made with simple household ingredients.

Dakin’s contains sodium hypochlorite and was developed during WWI to treat infected wounds. While this may sound technical, the solution is nothing more than Baking Soda, Bleach and water.

The mixture makes a great irrigation solution and a cost effective way to kill germs and treat or prevent infection.

Instead of writing out the instructions for you here, we’d like to refer you to a .PDF instruction sheet that you can print out or save for a rainy day.

Dakin’s Solution Instructions from Ohio State University Medical Center

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  • This will come VERY handy in the field, as well as situations where power isn’t readily available. I’m considering prepping several jars of it for the packing, climbing and camping trips as well.

    The biggest issue that I’m going to have though is storage for travel. I’m currently thinking of reusing empty saline bottles, the kind for eye rinsing, etc.

    Anyone have any suggestions on this?

    • Cervantes

      I would try the soda bottle preforms. They can be sterilized. I would just pour the solution over the wound form the preform. You could also pour the solution from the preform into a sterile rubber glove with a hole in a finger and use that for irrigation.

    • sally

      I wouldn’t use the saline bottles…unless of course, you RELABEL them. Wouldn’t want anyone to squirt the stuff in their eye by accident.

  • H.J. Simpson

    Dunno guys, in my Wilderness EMT training we were taught that tapwater or saline are just as good as any other fluid for wound irrigation, at least for fresh wounds. Things change when you have an older, dirty, actively infected wound but resources like describe Dakin’s (and other chlorinated solutions) as inhibiting healing.

    Not a cut & dried topic, but with the hassles involved with Dakin’s I’d probably just use clean water.

    • John

      +1 NOLS Wilderness first aid covered the same thing. We were taught to irrigate with a syringe and water.

  • Tony

    Norm, if you are going to be storing antiseptic solution, why not just buy the stuff? You usually get a container free-of-charge as well. 😉

    I see the value of this sort of thing to be more during situations when store-bought gear just isn’t available.

  • fuspar

    doesn’t seem like prepping several jars might be practical, unless you live in Juarez I guess:

    “Throw away any unused portion 48 hours after opening. Unopened jars can be
    stored for one month after you have prepared them”

    You can always borrow a couple specimen containers next time you go to the doctor. They usually have a few in the bathroom and they are sterile.

  • code24


    Isn’t this more for unexpected events? I think if you are _planning_ on carrying it, wouldn’t you do better with stuff that is pre-packaged? That way it’s sealed, and you don’t have to worry so much about DIY storage.

  • @fuspar, @Tony:
    Well, the thing about purchasing sterile solution pre-packaged is that it’s being used in a ‘disposable’ situation. I’m not looking to make and store it for more than a day or two at a time, and in situations that it’d be more practical, I’d rather use what I have around the house to ‘use it up’ rather than purchasing additional materials.

    I’m looking at this from the point of view that I’ll be purchasing new bleach/baking soda, etc for replacement of current supplies anyhow, so why not use the older stuff so it’s not just sitting there going to waste.

    I do have some sterile solutions in with the G.O.O.D and emergency kits and would prefer not to have to pull from those stores till it’s necessary.

    Overall, I do agree that store bought is a better solution. But given that the materials aren’t currently being used, I’d rather see them go to possibly helping in a dire situation on the trail, in camp, etc, and then getting rid of it if not used, as opposed to just dumping it.

  • I think this is a great Idea for “In a Pinch” situations, as stated

    “In a situation where you might not have a drug store nearby, or commerce has come to a halt during a natural disaster”

    Good job as usual ITS. Thanks for all the good Info -Brandon-

  • John Q Taxpayer

    My 2 cents: Dakin’s may be great in a SHTF situation, but it is pretty potent stuff. I’m an ICU RN, so I see some nasty wounds, and see the stuff used once every few years (on FILTHY wounds, and I dunno if I’ve ever seen more than 1/2 strentgh). If you have alternatives available, start there. That being said, the recepie is definitely going into my bag o tricks (along with tourniquets for bleeding (definitely in the last options “compartment”).

    As fuspar pointed out, it has a limited shelf life. Also note that it is light sensitive (like hydrogen peroxide).

  • John Carpenter

    My wife had surgery eariler this year and had a wound that did not completely close. Her doctor told her about this and told her to clean the wound daily with it and cover the wound with 4x4s. The wound healed and closed up nicely. This stuff works!

  • JW

    would colloidal silver make an effective irrigation solution ? It is cheap to make and is reported to kill over 600 germs , viruses and pathogens.

  • cj

    This seems pretty good for a SHTF situation. Yes you could use tap water or normall saline.

    This would probs be good to store each iteam needed to make this then make it as and when you need to. As my house is some time away in good weather from a hospital like 15. But in bad weather its more like 1 hour to 1:30.

    So going to make a few bottles of this then keep iteams I need in the store.

  • jb

    the PDF is gone. wish you hosted a copy of it

  • Russ Nixon

    My Pop was in the medical corps during WW2 and clorine bleach (sodium hypochlorite solution) was one of his favorite substances. Water purification, Dakin’s solution and getting your undies whiter than white are some if its uses. Just be careful to mix it up correctly as it can damage tissue if it’s too concentrated.


  • Rob Wall

    This a great idea for a low cost/ limited resource treatment option. However, in a worst case scenario such as an amputation (let’s say a finger in this case) it should be noted that tap water should NOT be used in the irrigation of the wound, to better facilitate re-attachment once you/ your patient reaches a hospital. The short and sweet reasoning behind this is that tap water will alter the size of tissues, making it more difficult to re-attach the limb. An isotonic solution (sterile saline) should be utilized instead. If you’re interested in the physiology behind this, research isotonic, hypertonic, and hypotonic solutions’ effect on cells.


    This is great info. If you need it then at least you have that option, thanks for sharing.

  • tasha1

    have tried salt?

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