Updated October 2022
What are the differences between woven and non-woven gauze?
You may have heard of woven and non-woven gauze. What is the difference between the two, and where should you use each type of gauze?
Woven gauze is loosely woven, usually from cotton fibers. This allows for absorption or wicking of exudate and other fluids into or through the gauze. Woven gauze could have fine or coarse mesh with different thread counts. Standard woven gauze is usually 8-ply, meaning it has 8 layers of material. Premium gauze is 12-ply, which is noticeably thicker and more absorbent.
Coarse gauze are generally useful for debridement, since it's coarser texture is more "grippy." Fine gauze is usually applied as packing when treating wounds. Woven gauze, however, tends not to be the most absorbent and may leave lint in the wound, especially if cut (which is not a great idea).
Image: A close-up view of a woven gauze pad
Non-woven gauze is made from fibers that are pressed together to resemble a weave. This results in increased absorbency and better wicking. Non-woven gauze is usually made from synthetic fibers like rayon, polyester or a blend. This type of gauze is stronger, bulkier and softer than woven gauze, and produces less lint.
Standard non-woven gauze is usually 3-ply, meaning it has 3 layers of material. However, non-woven material layers are much thicker than woven material layers. Regarding absorbency, a 3-ply non-woven gauze could perform as well as, or better than an 8-ply woven gauze. Premium non-woven gauze is 4-ply, which is noticeably thicker and more absorbent, being equivalent to, or better than a 12-ply woven gauze.
Image: A close-up view of a non-woven gauze pad