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.
Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
If your skin is infected, see your dermatologist, and ask about the best way to wash your skin. He or she might suggest using an antibacterial soap. If the affected area is small, you may be able to soak the infected skin in warm water and wash it separately. Pat the skin dry using soft, disposable paper towel. Throw out the paper towel to avoid contamination.

Continue Learning about Skin Cleansing

What should I do when there is no water available to wash my hands?
Univ. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family MedicineUniv. of Nev. School of Medicine, Family Medicine
Clean running water and soap are preferred since not all bacteria and viruses can be killed by a...
More Answers
What is the most common gluten-free skin cleanser?
Discovery HealthDiscovery Health
Soap is the most common gluten-free skin cleanser, which makes sense, considering that soap is, by f...
More Answers
How often should I exfoliate?
Dr. Ellen Marmur, MDDr. Ellen Marmur, MD
Exfoliating too often is yet another example of overdoing a good thing. Like everything else, modera...
More Answers
What Are the Health Benefits of Baths?
What Are the Health Benefits of Baths?

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.