How to stop a cut from bleeding: Advice for treating minor cuts and grazes

All the basic first aid you need to know to treat someone who has cut themselves and is bleeding

How to stop a minor cut from bleeding

If someone has cut themselves and it's only a minor injury, there are some simple first aid steps  (opens in new tab)you can take to stop the cut from bleeding and keep the wound clean.

Most small cuts and grazes will heal fine at home, but we have also covered some guidance in when you might need to seek extra help or even go to A&E.

How to stop a minor cut from bleeding

1. Stop the bleeding It's important to stop the bleeding before you try and dress the wound. Apply pressure to the cut with a dry piece of material such as a clean tea towel, and raise the affected body part into the air above their heart.

2. Clean the wound Once the bleeding has stopped, make sure the wound is clean before dressing it to stop it getting infected. You need to wash your hands with soap and make sure they are dried thoroughly. Then you can run drinking-quality water over the wound to wash it out, but try not to use antiseptic as it can damage the skin. Finally pat the area dry with a clean towel.

3. Dress the wound Depending on the depth of the cut you might want to apply a plaster or sterile padding and bandages. Use waterproof dressing to ensure the wound stays as clean and dry as possible and change as often as necessary. If there is an object in the wound, do not remove this and dress around it until you can seek medical help.

When to get medical help

If your child has hurt themselves to the extent that you can't stop stem the flow of blood from their injury, or you feel their cut surpasses being minor, it may be time to seek medical help.

Have a look at this checklist and if you're experiencing any of these problems call NHS 111 for advice or go straight to A&E.

  • You can't stop the bleeding
  • They are bleeding from an artery
  • They are complaining of not being able to feel a body part
  • There is an object in the wound
  • The cut is on their face and scarring needs to be minimised