What kind of soap should I use to wash infected skin?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

For mild infections of the skin, it’s best to use a mild soap with the fewest ingredients. Antibacterial soaps do little to treat infected skin. It’s better to use a fragrance-free glycerin-based soap, or tea tree soap, which has natural antibiotic properties. However, if you have a more severe infection, you may be instructed to use a chemical antiseptic like chlorhexidine to clean the infected area. Don’t wash a wound with anything you wouldn’t put in your eye.


Also, just as important as what soap you use to wash the infected area, is how you wash the infected area. Rub that soap around the infected area for the length of time it takes you to sing “Happy Birthday” twice, then rinse off and dry with a clean towel.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.