Gauze Sponges – Woven, Non-Woven, Does it Matter?

Like many supplies in the health care industry, the possibilities, varieties, and selection feels almost endless.  With something as simple as gauze sponges, it can be difficult to imagine that not only are there many choices in brands, size, sterility, and filling, but also in type.  The two most popular types of gauze typically fall under the woven, or non-woven categories.

Initially, woven gauze was the only available option.  The weave is loose and open which allows for fluids to be absorbed into the fibers, or more typically, wicked into other absorbent materials.  Woven gauze sponges are usually made of a fine or coarse cotton mesh and should never be cut since this will produce loose fibers which if applied to an open wound can get lost in the wound and delay healing.  Its more abrasive texture can aid in removing dead tissue from the skin surface.

Non-woven gauze has become the more preferred type between the two.  Non-woven cotton gauze pads is made of fibers that are pressed together to resemble a weave.  This process gives the material a higher density level than woven gauze and therefore provides a more consistent level of fluid absorption.  Another great advantage is that even when cut, it will leave much less to no lint behind so fewer fibers are left caught in an open wound when used for surgical applications.  Most non-woven gauze sponges are made of polyester, rayon, or a blend, and are now more readily available in cotton.  The more absorbent nature of the non-woven variety, combined with the lack of lint, also makes them ideal for cleaning instruments or an operatory and they are much softer to the touch for use in cleaning, scrubbing, or securing sensitive areas.  Since non-woven has also become the more popular style of gauze sponges there are therefore many more options available for purchase, and as a result you’ll typically be more apt to find lower pricing when compared to woven gauze.

A great brand with some added benefits that recently scored a 96% clinical rating, are the UltraPure non-woven sponges. These are an eco-friendly product made entirely of pesticide-free cotton grown in the USA.  The manufacturing process is non-toxic and no bleach or chlorine is used which means it is not only safer for surgical applications, but there is no risk of chemical interactions when utilizing them with surface disinfectants for cleaning purposes.  They are lint free so no fibers are left behind on surgical instruments or soft tissue and they are biodegradable which is a nice benefit given how much gauze the average office goes through.  Clinicians who utilized them also noted that they don’t stick to each other when trying to pull them from the pack.

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In the end, regardless of which brand you opt for, you’re more likely to get the best results and a better variety of uses from a non-woven option.  Most advances in ease of use and safety also seem to be directed at that particular style, as opposed to woven, so the benefits to your practice and patients will only increase.

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