Infected superficial wounds were traditionally controlled by topical antibiotics until the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Silver (Ag) is a kernel for alternative antibacterial agents to fight this resistance quandary. The present study demonstrates a method for immobilizing small-sized (~5 nm) silver nanoparticles on silica matrix to form a nanosilver–silica (Ag–SiO2) composite and shows the prolonged antibacterial effects of the composite in vitro. The composite exhibited a rapid initial Ag release after 24 h and a slower leaching after 48 and 72 h and was effective against both methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Escherichia coli (E. coli). Ultraviolet (UV)-irradiation was superior to filter-sterilization in retaining the antibacterial effects of the composite, through the higher remaining Ag concentration. A gauze, impregnated with the Ag–SiO2 composite, showed higher antibacterial effects against MRSA and E. coli than a commercial Ag-containing dressing, indicating a potential for the management and infection control of superficial wounds. Transmission and scanning transmission electron microscope analyses of the composite-treated MRSA revealed an interaction of the released silver ions with the bacterial cytoplasmic constituents, causing ultimately the loss of bacterial membranes. The present results indicate that the Ag–SiO2 composite, with prolonged antibacterial effects, is a promising candidate for wound dressing applications.