What is the difference between an antiseptic and a disinfectant?
An antiseptic is used on living tissues and cells to destroy any types of infections which may be living on the tissue. Disinfectants are meant to destroy microorganisms which can infect nonliving objects. Common antiseptics include mouthwash, and yeast infection treatment creams.
antiseptic (anti-sep-tik) n. a chemical, such as chlorhexidine or cetrimide, that destroys or inhibits the growth of disease-causing bacteria and other microorganisms. Antiseptics are used externally to cleanse wounds and internally to treat infections of the intestine and bladder.
- Antiseptics are used for: Handwashing – chlorhexidine gluconate and povidone iodine solutions are often used in hand scrubs and hand rubs in hospital settings. Pre-operative skin disinfection – antiseptics applied to the operation site to reduce the resident skin flora.
- Disinfectants and antiseptics do the same thing – they kill bacteria very rapidly on contact. Disinfectants generally kill bacteria on non-living surfaces like floors and inanimate objects. Antiseptics are used to kill bacteria on the skins of humans and animals.
- Antiseptic surgery. Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia. that system of surgical practice which insists upon a systematic use of antiseptics in the performance of operations and the dressing of wounds.
One non-chemical disinfectant is UV light. Some antiseptics are: hydrogen peroxide, iodine, polyhexanide, and povidone-iodine, alcohol, boric acid, and benzalkonium chloride.
- Phenolic compounds used as antiseptics or disinfectants include pure phenol and substitution products with halogens and alkyl groups. They act to denature and coagulate proteins and are general protoplasmic poisons. Phenol (carbolic acid) is one of the oldest antiseptic agents.
- An antiseptic is used on living tissues and cells to destroy any types of infections which may be living on the tissue. Disinfectants are meant to destroy microorganisms which can infect nonliving objects. Common antiseptics include mouthwash, and yeast infection treatment creams.
- Disinfectants are chemical substances used to destroy viruses and microbes (germs), such as bacteria and fungi, as opposed to an antiseptic which can prevent the growth and reproduction of various microorganisms, but does not destroy them.
One of the main differences between antiseptics and antibiotics is how they work against bacteria and other microorganisms. Antiseptics just slow the growth of bacteria instead of actually killing it off. It has not been confirmed that bacteria have the same reaction with extended antiseptic use.
- Pain and inflammation of the throat area will also be reduced. Sea salt is a natural antiseptic and anti inflammatory that for thousands of years has been used in wound cleansing. It sounds painful, but it can aid in healing to get the area free of infection quicker.
- Antibiotics are a broader range of antimicrobial compounds which can act on fungi, bacteria, and other compounds. Although antibacterials come under antibiotics, antibacterials can kill only bacteria. Penicillin was the first discovered by Alexander Fleming antibiotic and antibacterial.
- Some antibiotics have a variety of side effects, such as causing sickness and dizziness, which might be made worse by drinking alcohol. It's best to avoid drinking alcohol while feeling unwell anyway, as the alcohol itself can make you feel worse. Both metronidazole and tinidazole can cause drowsiness.
Updated: 26th November 2019