Carboxymethyl cellulose/poly(ethylene glycol) (CMC/PEG) hydrogels crosslinked with citric acid (CA) are synthesized to evaluate the effect of CMC molecular weight (Mw), PEG and CA concentration on the optical property, swelling rate (SR), degradation rate (DR), and cytotoxicity and cell proliferation of hydrogels. For crosslinked CMC/PEG hydrogels, the FT-IR peak intensity associated with hydroxyl groups decreases due to PEG intercalation (esterification crosslinking) between CMC chains in a similar manner as the concentration of CA crosslinker increases. Crosslinked CMC (Mw = 90,000)/PEG hydrogels with 10 % CA dissolve regardless of PEG content. However, the SR of the CMC (Mw = 250,000)/PEG hydrogels decrease from 4923 % to 168 % with increasing PEG and CA concentrations from 0 to 20 % and from 0 to 25 %, respectively. As the Mw of CMC increases, the DR of the hydrogel is greatly improved. CMC (Mw = 250,000)/PEG10 hydrogels with 10 % CA exhibit the optimum properties of high absorbing capacity (3,200 %) with moderate DR (54 %), stiffness (1.39 ± 0.19 GPa), and cell viability (94.8 ± 1.3 %). CA-crosslinked CMC/PEG hydrogels are highly suitable for wound dressing or personal care applications due to their non-toxicity, good cell proliferation, SR, and mechanical properties.