After you inject, should you wipe the area with an alcohol swap?

Before my wife injects herself, she wipes the area with an alcohol swap. Then, she injects the insulin. After she injects, she wipes the area again with an alcohol swap. She has mentioned that the needle goes in painlessly and comes out painlessly but sometimes she feels pain after she wipes the area after the injection. Basically, is this wiping after the injection completely necessary? Any information is given is greatly appreciated.

no, wiping it after injecting is not necessary.
she might say it’s painful because the alcohol is stinging.

Never have wiped area after injection…Like Jade said…stinging after injection and using alcohol.

Also, Lantus insulin stings after injection on alot of people, maybe that could be it as well…It did me.

I don’t wipe with alcohol before or after. Like Jade said, using the alcohol afterwards stings because there is a small opening in her skin where the needle was injected.

I know that my nurse actually told me NOT to use alcohol when I poke my finger to get blood to test my blood sugar. The reason is that using alcohol too frequently can cause your skin to become dry, which makes it more likely to get infected.

If your wife notices that her skin is really dry, she might try only using the alcohol when she thinks her skin is dirty.

I would like to add, as what you know alcohol is meant for external use only, using water and soap is enough to clearing the area no need to use alcohol. Since also I believe it delays the stopping of the blood. No need to be that worry regarding cleaning the area, I used injection in the past and never call using anything to wipe the area after or before, just when taking a shower I make sure to clean that area and also to give it a nice amount of warm hot watter to help circulate the blood!

If she prefer cleaning the area before and after, I will suggest using alcohol free wipes, and for the after it will be good to wait for like 10 minutes until the area on the skin close back.

Hope this helps, best wishes

She may want to look into the alcohol wipes with pain killers in them. They are not that much more expensive if she would like to continue to wipe before and after.

I am a CNA/CMT/Insulin Certified…yes, wiping the area before injecting is necessary because it cleanses the area right before injection. It even says it on the package…“For preparation of injection.” If you do wipe after the injection, you would want to use another wipe, never use the same wipe. But, wiping afterwards is not a priority because you had once already wiped it clean before. You had stuck yourself with a sterile needle, so wiping afterwards isn’t necessary…only if you prefer. The only reason why it stings is because there’s a little itty bitty open area the alcohol is going in to cleanse it completely.

Another thing about alcohol is…yes, if used daily, and frequently, it can dry skin. So if anyone decides to even use alcohol to wipe before and after an injection, use lotion to moisten the area.

Never heard of alcohol wipes with pain killers in my life. Even in the nursing field…never heard of them.

Question: If it is an alcohol free wipe, would that just make it a wet wipe??? It wouldn’t make it an alcohol wipe if there wasn’t any alcohol in it…right??? Again…I’ve never heard of an alcohol free wipe even in the nursing field.

Great Post!!!

I never have used alcohol wipes either before or after injecting the insulin + I think I can rember being told that it wasn’t necessary - sometimes though I find some injections are a bit more stingy than others while injecting!

alchohol free wipe wouldn’t work.
because you are supposed to use the alcohol to clean the area

am i correct???
maybe not.
just putting my opinion out there.

I have a box of over-the-counter alcohol swabs sitting on my desk. They contain the pain “killer” Benzocaine. These are marketed under the Walgreen’s brand, but are available at other retail establishments. But I don’t think they actually make any difference in amount of pain felt. They may be helpful psychologically. I personally use them to swab off my really dirty computer keyboard.

Yes, proper procedure for any injection is sterilizing the site. But proper and real-life practical don’t always correspond. Many diabetes educators say there’s no reason to swab with alcohol or use soap and water on the injection site before injecting—unless you’re really dirty. There’s a slightly increased chance of infection if you don’t swab, but after 29 years of MDI (multiple daily injections), I’ve never had an infection or even prolonged redness at an injection site. I do swab now for my pump insertions, but that swab also contains an adhesive that helps hold on the set bandage.

Wiping with alcohol before or after doesn’t disinfect. In order to have any disinfectant properties an object has to be submerged in alcohol for quite a while. Every nurse & doctor knows this, but they swab patients anyway as protocol for patient peace of mind.

All that needs to be done is for her to wash her hands before & this has do with making sure there’s nothing that will effect the reading, not for disinfecting.

Never use lotion before injecting! This will effect the reading.

I agree–no alchohol before or after–just irritates the skin (IMHO) and serves no disinfectant purpose. I use alchohol wipes to get the IV300 goo of my CGMS sensors–does a pretty good job at that (I use baby oil to take the residue off my skin)

You misunderstood. I never said it disinfects, I said cleanses the injection site. And, I never said rub lotion before injection, I said rub lotion on dry skin if it occurs. Yes, I know this.

No extra work , No extra costs necessary …living with type 1 for 26 plus years …in other words millions of finger pokes /insulin injections ( a possible incorrect explanation…the number " million " , however it feels like that ??) …just keep the area clean . With finger pokes , just wash hands, then WIPE first drop ( interstitional fluid instead of blood sample ) . If one does not, the outcome may not be correct

I use an alcohol wipe to clean the top of the insulin vial before extraction. So, I have a wipe sitting there. After injecting, I lightly cover the injection site (no pressure) and have never experienced stinging. I mainly do it in case I get a little bleeding at the site.


Thanks for letting me know that Lantus can cause stinging. I had been wondering why I had expeirenced that on occasions.

The more so when Lantus is from the fridge.