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How to Stop a Bleeding Cut

With the raising of 3 active sons, I've had my fair sure of both minor and major medical problems between them. How to stop bleeding cuts was one thing that I had to learn early on as it always seemed there were plenty of cuts to go around between the 3 of them!

Most of the times the cuts were minor and could be treated at home. Other times the cuts were deep and required anywhere from a few to several stitches at the local emergency room. How did I tell the difference? Basically part mothers instinct, evaluating how bad the cut was bleeding, how long it bled and how much blood was oozing out. It's not always clear right away if a cut is going to require stitches, so prompt evaluation of these things will help guide you to determine if a trip to the ER is necessary.

How to stop a cut from bleeding

I will freely admit that when my sons used to have bleeding cuts, I tended to freak out if there was a lot of blood. At that time I just didn't "do blood" very well and would usually yell for my husband if he was around. Now older and wiser (I think), I am much better about blood and try to let a sound head take over instead of overcoming to fear. Which brings me to pointer number #1 - although a lot of blood can be very frightening, really try your hardest not to freak out when you see someone bleeding. They are probably already freaked out enough for the both of you so try to stay levelheaded. If the cut appears to be a minor one, it can probably be stopped by applying some pressure. For any bleeding cut or wound, use the following steps:

  • Apply presure to the cut or wound. Pressure will help the blood start to clot. Use clean gauze if you have it. If not, terry cloth works well too. Resist the temptation to peek too much as this will slow down the clotting process.
  • Do not remove the gauze or cloth if some bleeds through. Removing the gauze can interrupt the clotting process and make it start bleeding all over again, Layer more gauze or cloth on top of the wound instead of removing it.
  • If bleeding is severe, call 911 immediately. Your gut instinct and a freely flowing wound will need emergency care ASAP. A wound that is deep but seems to be under control may be able to be handled with some stitches at the doctors office. If there is ANY DOUBT about the severity of the wound, 911 is the best call to make. You do not want to be speeding in a car to take someone to a hospital as you and the person may get hurt trying to do this on your own. Ambulances are equipped with the proper medical equipment and can treat someone in case they go into shock from loss of blood (I have been chewed out by both Drs. and nurses for trying to handle a medical emergency on my own by driving someone in a car that should have been in an ambulance. The temptation is great to just hop in the car but think twice before you do this)

How can you tell if you need stitches?

This is one of those things that can be hard to tell sometimes. I have applied both butterfly stitches and also had to take my sons in for multiple stitches at the hospital. Protocol for stitches are:

"A wound that is more than 1/4-inch (6 millimeters) deep or is gaping or jagged edged and has fat or muscle protruding usually requires stitches. Adhesive strips or butterfly tape may hold a minor cut together, but if you can't easily close the wound, see your doctor as soon as possible. Proper closure within a few hours reduces the risk of infection."

The key words here are "if you can't easily close the wound". This is when stitches will be needed to hold the skin together until the wound heals. Some people elect not to get stitches on minor wounds but healing will take longer and the scar will be much more visible. When my sons got older they elected not to get some wounds checked that probably should have been closed with stitches. Caution is the word here, open wounds can get infected and lead to much more serious consequences!

In one particular memorable moment of my life when I was living in the mountains, someone I knew used a needle and thread to close up a wound on someone that was visiting us. Not recommended, but in some cases you may have no choice until you can get medical help.

Home remedies to stop bleeding from a cut, scrape or paper cut

Home remedies and things you can do at home to try to stop a bleeding cut are:

  • Mix up some salt and warm water and apply it to the cut on a clean rag. This is supposed to stop the bleeding within a couple minutes and doesn't hurt (isn't salt amazing?)
  • Saturate a tea bag under some cold water, squeeze out the excess and apply it to the cut.
  • Apply flour or cornstarch directly onto the cut (this kind of acts like a "plug" if you will)
  • Apply cayenne pepper directly onto the cut.
  • Apply ice.
  • Elevate the limb that's bleeding. This usually at least slows down if not stops the bleeding.
  • Coffee grounds applied directly to a cut have also been known to stop a bleeding cut.

WARNING: No information on this website is intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The natural remedies here are submitted by numerous people from around the world, and it is impossible to verify every remedy.

Basic First Aid : How to Stop Mild Bleeding During First Aid


The Surgical Fort from Sialkot on February 07, 2020:

Nice sharing keep it up.

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on May 25, 2013:

@Naomi's Banner) Glad to be of help. Seeing blood can freak a lot of people out. Thanks for reading Naomi.

Naomi's Banner from United States on May 24, 2013:

Really informative Hub on first aid for bleeding. The most important thing getting past your own horror of it. Great ideas some I've never tried!

Scroll to Continue

Dorsi Diaz (author) from The San Francisco Bay Area on August 22, 2012:

@teacherjoe52) Great tip teacher! Another awesome home remedy to stop bleeding. Thank-you!

@WillStarr) Thanks Will for reminding me of styptic pencils - a great thing to have in a first aid kit too.

@toknowinfo) Thanks! I hope it does help someone - I appreciate the comment.

@akirchner) lol thanks!

@jpcmc) THANK-YOU for that! What a great way to remember vital info for bleeding. Thanks for stopping in and the great tip.

JP Carlos from Quezon CIty, Phlippines on August 22, 2012:

The Red Cross standard for mild and moderate bleeding is WAC - Wash, Antiseptic and Cover. For Severe bleeding the 4 cs must be remembered. Control bleeding (direct pressure), Cover wound (bulky bandage), Care for shock, Consult a doctor.

Applying direct pressure is very important regardless of severity. this will hel control the bleeding.

Audrey Kirchner from Washington on August 20, 2012:

Yikes...I fainted - okay - I'm back~ I hate the sight of blood--I actually almost passed out when I cut my poor dog's toenails too short and Will is right--that styptic pencil worked wonders but my dog never forgave me. Good points...I can't scroll back up or I might bonk my head on the computer again....neat change of picture~

toknowinfo on August 19, 2012:

This is a well done hub with practical and useful tips. It is important for everyone to know some basic first aid. You never know who this hub will help. Thanks for putting this info together.

WillStarr from Phoenix, Arizona on August 18, 2012:

Drugstores sell a 'styptic pencil' that stops bleeding fast in minor cuts.

teacherjoe52 on August 18, 2012:

Hi Dorsi.

Very informative.

The two best I have found is fresh aloe vera juice and honey.

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