Comparison of normal saline with tap water for wound irrigation

Ronald Moscati, James Mayrose, Lisa Fincher, Dietrich Jehle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compared irrigation with tap water versus saline for removing bacteria from simple skin lacerations. The study was conducted in an animal model with a randomized, nonblinded crossover design using 10 500-g laboratory rats. Two full-thickness skin lacerations were made on each animal and inoculated with standardized concentrations of Staphylococcus aureus broth. Tissue specimens were removed before and after irrigation with 250 cc of either normal saline from a sterile syringe or water from a faucet. Bacterial counts were determined for each specimen and compared before and after irrigation. There was a mean reduction in bacterial counts of 81.6% with saline and 65.3% with tap water (P = .34). One tap water specimen had markedly aberrant bacterial counts compared with others. Excluding this specimen, the mean reduction for tap water was 80.2%. In this model, reduction in bacterial contamination of simple lacerations was not different comparing tap water with normal saline as an irrigant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)379-381
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial infection
  • Irrigation
  • Normal saline
  • Tap water
  • Wounds and injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of normal saline with tap water for wound irrigation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this