Disinfect wounds: antiseptics, types and correct use

Hydrogen peroxide, Alcohol, Chorhexidine, there are different substances that are used to disinfect but we do not always use them well. Alcohol, for example, should not be applied to open wounds. In another Blogmedicina article, we talked about the research carried out in Birminghan hospitals with sugar to heal wounds. Then not all wounds should be treated the same , since there are a series of protocols to act depending on the type of wounds, is not the same a wound suffered by a fall, that a wound product of a burn , which is why we have created this blog, to learn how to Sanitize Wounds: Antiseptics, TIPS and its Correct Use

 Disinfect wounds: antiseptics, types and correct use

Not all wounds are the same

Many times we have to face different types of wounds, the most important at the time the wound has occurred, is to prevent infection. But when the infection has already occurred, the treatment of the wound will be different since the wound will go into the background, focusing all our efforts on controlling the infection and making it disappear. Depending on the type of wound, these can be:

Chronic Wound
  • Acute Wounds
  • Chronic Wounds

Although many times we treat wounds very lightly, without giving it practically importance, however, a bad treatment or healing of a wound can bring us many serious problems of Health. The risks are great because when breaking the skin, which is our protective barrier, we leave our organism exposed to microorganisms, germs can enter the wound, which could pose a risk of infection.


On the other hand, the wound may not be clean, meaning that there are substances foreign to the human body that have been introduced in it.The way to disinfect is through the use of disinfectants. One of the most powerful disinfectants we know is bleach. Disinfect wounds: antiseptics, types and correct use

  • Antisepsis : Antisepsis is the destruction of pathogenic microorganisms in living tissues, such as the skin. The way to make them disappear will be with the use of antiseptic products . Products such as Betadine, oxygenated water, mercromine, etc.

It is not strange that we talk about disinfectants and antiseptics, as if there was no difference between them, but now we know what terminology we should apply according to the type of surface where these microorganisms are.


The first thing to do if you have a slight wound is to wash it with water and neutral soap, you should only apply an antiseptic if it is a cut or wound something deeper.

Disinfect wounds: antiseptics, types and correct use

Antiseptics are substances that kill microbes but are not toxic on the skin, has different substances in common use, but we do not always use them correctly. An antiseptic will eliminate any type of germ that it finds, it is not selective.

Types of Antiseptics and Uses

  • Alcohol. It is a bactericide, it is mainly used as skin antiseptic , for example for blood draws or injections. The alcohol of 70 ° or 90 °, is the most used to disinfect. However, it should not be used on open wounds, such as in a cut or wound, because apart from irritating the area, it can form clots capable of protecting the surviving bacteria, without taking into account the pain or deep itching that it produces. in the tissues.

Alcohol is the product most used when it comes to curing the baby's umbilical cord , since it is an easy-to-find and inexpensive product. The type of alcohol that should be used to care for the cord is 70 °, since it is much softer for the baby's skin. The alcohol in this case previously applied in a gauze that will wrap the baby's cord, but very important is never apply alcohol directly on skin as sensitive as the of a baby.

  • Water oxygenated. The bactericidal properties of hydrogen peroxide do not seem to be very clear, if on the contrary, it is advisable to treat the wounds produced by abrasion, since it gets rid of the necrotic or very damaged tissue and contribute oxygen to the wounds. It also has the property of being a good deodorizer thanks to its oxidizing action. You can use oxygenated water, discarding that old belief of being an antiseptic that cleans us of germs, to use it as if it were normal water to clean wounds.
  • The iodized Pavidone . Pavidone iodine is another of the bactericidal products that we can use to heal a wound. It is very effective as an antiseptic and also as a disinfectant, using, for example, to disinfect material the surgical material. It acts against microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, spores, etc.The best known brands are Betadine or Isodine. You can find it at a better price in the supermarket than in the pharmacies. As a warning, the systematic or prolonged use of pavidone iodine, can produce renal and thyroid dysfunction , by absorbing iodine if used continuously.
Disinfect wounds: antiseptics, types and correct use
  • Chlorhexidine. Considered a broad spectrum bactericide, that is, it acts on a wide range of bacteria. It can be used directly on the open wound as it is neither abrasive nor irritating. Unlike other antiseptics, Chlorhexidine is not interfered with when there is organic matter in the wound, such as blood or skin. It is also recommended for umbilical cord care in neonates.
  • It has low or no toxicity for the skin but should not be used near eyes, mouth or ears. Useful for scrapes, small cuts, however it is not very effective against fungi or viruses. To be able to act efficiently, it is important to not mix it with soap or iodine. An example of this type of bactericide with Chlorhexidine is Cristalmine that we can buy at any pharmacy .
  • Products with Mercury - Mercurochrome . They are bacteriostatic low power, that is does not kill the bacteria but prevents their reproduction. In some cases the mercurial products can produce dermatitis or sensibility on the skin, in later applications. An example is Mercromina , already practically in disuse, not only because there are better products on the market, but also because of its intense red color, it is capable of masking infections making them invisible.
  • Sodium hypochlorite solutions There is no scientific basis to attribute an antibacterial function, but acts by removing dead or damaged tissue . Among the best known we find Dakin Solution, Clorina.

Recommendations for the proper use of antiseptics at home

There does not seem to be unanimity about the time we should use an antiseptic. As a general rule when it comes to an open wound, the use of antiseptic is advised during the first 24 or 48 hours. We will stop using it as soon as we see new scar tissue, since that then they will cease to be effective.

disinfect-wounds-recommendations-take care-wound

If try injuries caused by surgery, even though the wound is not open, you should clean the wound continuously with saline, to apply a local antiseptic, every time the dressing is done and the dressing is changed.


We should not use two antiseptics at the same time as they interact, they can hinder wound healing.Band-aids are only used if the wound rubs against clothes and other objects.

When should we use Antiseptics

To know when we must use an antiseptic, we must know very well the advantages and disadvantages, to ensure that its use is effective and not harmful. In the first place, and as we have already seen, l antiseptics are preventive treatments before the appearance of an infection.


Antiseptics do not they have a curative function , since their distribution is superficial in the wound, but if it is interesting to select the one that is active with the organic matter that may be in the wounds, such as skin or blood, since some antiseptics are deactivated as soon as they come into contact with organic matter. The Chlorhexidine at 0.05 is the most appropriate.

In the case of ulcers, it is not advised to use Pavidona Iodine, Solutions Sodium Hypochlorite or Acetic Acid , because they are products with a high toxicity and aggressiveness with new scar tissue.

Antiseptics and disinfectants: Differences

You may also be interested:

  • Flu symptoms A
  • Purple disease