First Aid Tips for DIY-Related Accidents

Someone wrapping a bandage around another person's arm.

While participating in DIY projects around your house certainly has many benefits, it can unfortunately be the cause of accidents. Working with hand tools, cutting implements, ladders, and chemicals around your home and yard can have dangerous consequences even if you’re using caution! With that said, here are some quick fixes to tide you over until you can attain professional help with any DIY-related injuries. Keep reading for actions and remedies that we hope you won’t need—but it’s always good to be prepared!

Note: While these first aid tips are helpful to follow when you’re waiting to reach a doctor, keep in mind that we are not medical professionals and we always recommend seeking a doctor’s care and following their advice in the event of an accident or injury. Take the appropriate safety precautions and always use caution when completing a DIY projects to avoid needing these tips in the first place!

How to Handle a Cut or Puncture

Trimming a hedge with shears.

Whether you’re using a saw during a woodworking project or shears to trim a hedge, getting a cut is always something to take seriously. When this occurs, you’ll want to first determine whether or not you should go to the emergency room (ER). Indications that you should head to the ER include the following:

  • A cut that is gaping open that doesn’t allow you to use gentle pressure to push the edges back together

  • A cut from a dirty or rusty object

  • Profuse bleeding that will not stop or slow

  • A cut as a result of a high-pressure impact

  • Any cut or injury on a cosmetically significant area, like the face

Once you determine whether or not to head to the ER (remember—better safe than sorry!), you’ll want to wrap the wound to slow bleeding as you head to the hospital. To do so, you should first ensure that you don’t remove any foreign objects from the cut, if any exist. This means not removing anything that may be stuck in the wound.

If possible, you should clean the wound before you leave your home. Do this by thoroughly irrigating it with tap water that is diluted by liquid antibacterial soap. Contrary to popular belief, hydrogen peroxide does not work well for wound cleaning because it could damage the tissue. However, if you don’t feel comfortable cleaning the wound, refrain from doing so.

Finally, to prepare the wound for your travel to the ER, you should elevate it and apply pressure to slow or stop the bleeding. Wrap the wound in a clean bandage to avoid a mess and to aid in applying pressure. It’s also a good idea to bring along a clean towel or rag to wrap around the wound if it bleeds through the bandage.

How to Handle an Eye Injury

A mean wearing safety goggles and working with a jigsaw.

Eye injuries can be anything from a minor mishap to something more serious. Regardless of the severity, these injuries are something you’ll want to treat with care! To prevent eye injury from occurring in the first place, always wear safety goggles or glasses.

For any eye injury, never rub or apply pressure to the area as this could cause further harm. Also, never apply any ointment or medication unless recommended by a doctor. Finally, do not try to remove anything stuck in your eye on your own.

If you suffer a blow to your eye area, start by gently applying a small cold compress to reduce pain and swelling, being careful not to apply pressure. In these instances, remember that even a slight blow can cause significant damage, so it’s important to seek a doctor’s care.

In the event of a cut or punctured eye, gently place a shield over the eye until you have reached a doctor. The bottom of a paper cup gently taped to the surrounding eye bone serves as a good makeshift shield. Do not rinse your eyes with water and avoid taking any types of aspirin or medications unless advised by a doctor. Once your eye is protected, seek medical attention.

If debris or a foreign object enters your eye, avoid rubbing it and lift the upper eyelid over the lashes of your lower lid. Then, blink several times, allowing tears to flush the eye and hopefully wash out the particle. If you find that the particle is still present, keep your eye closed as much as possible and visit the doctor’s office for further care.

How to Handle Chemical Injuries


Many chemicals present in household cleaning agents or in lawn and yard substances can have harmful effects if they come into contact with your skin. Chemical burns are not something you want to mess around with, so it’s important to seek a doctor’s care if you attain an injury from these substances. However, before you reach the doctor, you can perform some basic treatment.

Start by using a light stream of water to flood the affected area for approximately 20 minutes or until you reach a doctor. Additionally, check the bottle that the substance came from for any instructions relating to injuries with that specific product.

Don’t use ointments on the burn or attempt to neutralize it with acid or alkali as this could worsen the burn. If possible, cover the burn area with a dry and sterile gauze or a clean cloth until you arrive at the ER or a doctor’s office.