Medieval surgeons Hugh of Lucca, Theoderic of Servia, and his pupil Henri de Mondeville were opponents of Galen's opinion that pus was important to healing, which had led ancient and medieval surgeons to let pus remain in wounds. They advocated draining and cleaning the wound edges with wine, dressing the wound after suturing, if necessary and leaving the dressing on for ten days, soaking it in warm wine all the while, before changing it. Their theories were bitterly opposed by Galenist Guy de Chauliac and others trained in the classical tradition.
Chloroxylenol is an antiseptic and disinfectant which is used for skin disinfection and cleaning surgical instruments. It is also used within a number of household disinfectants and wound cleaners.
Hydrogen peroxide is used as a 6% (20 Vols) solution to clean and deodorize wounds and ulcers. More commonly, 3% solutions of hydrogen peroxide have been used in household first aid for scrapes, etc. However, the strong oxidization causes scar formation and increases healing time during fetal development.
Iodine is usually used in an alcohol solution (called tincture of iodine) or as Lugol's iodine solution as a pre- and postoperative antiseptic. Some studies  do not recommend disinfecting minor wounds with iodine because of concern that it may induce scar tissue formation and increase healing time. However, concentrations of 1% iodine or less have not been shown to increase healing time and are not otherwise distinguishable from treatment with saline. Novel iodine antiseptics containing povidone-iodine (an iodophor, complex of povidone, a water-soluble polymer, with triiodide anions I3−, containing about 10% of active iodine) are far better tolerated, do not negatively affect wound healing, and leave a deposit of active iodine, thereby creating the so-called "remnant", or persistent, effect. The great advantage of iodine antiseptics is their wide scope of antimicrobial activity, killing all principal pathogens and, given enough time, even spores, which are considered to be the most difficult form of microorganisms to be inactivated by disinfectants and antiseptics.
Polyhexanide (polyhexamethylene biguanide, PHMB) is an antimicrobial compound suitable for clinical use in critically colonized or infected acute and chronic wounds. The physicochemical action on the bacterial envelope prevents or impedes the development of resistant bacterial strains.
Dakin's solution is a sodium hypochlorite solution, originally also containing boric acid to lower pH. It is mostly used on live tissues for cleaning wounds of bacteria, fungi and viruses. Because of practicality of preparation and lower cost, it is largely used in Veterinary Medicine treatments. It is colourless and does not stain the animal's fur or affect its aesthetic or commercial value.
Super-oxidized solutions (SOS) contain hypochlorous acid (HClO) (<0.005%) and are stabilised at a neutral pH. SOS are rapidly acting (30s-5m), broad spectrum antiseptics that are clinically effective at non-cytotoxic concentrations that in contrast to many cytotoxic antiseptics, support wound healing There is now growing consensus that modern SOS are more effective for healing wounds faster
After continued exposure to antiseptics, bacteria may evolve to the point where they are no longer harmed by these compounds.
Bacteria can also develop a resistance to antiseptics, but the effect is generally less pronounced.
The mechanisms by which bacteria evolve may vary in response to different antiseptics. Low concentrations of an antiseptic may encourage growth of a bacterial strain that is resistant to the antiseptic, where a higher concentration of the antiseptic would simply kill the bacteria. In addition, use of an excessively high concentration of an antiseptic may cause tissue damage or slow the process of wound healing. Consequently, antiseptics are most effective when used at the correct concentration—a high enough concentration to kill harmful bacteria, fungi or viruses, but a low enough concentration to avoid damage to the tissue.
^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antiseptics". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 146. This source provides a summary of antiseptic techniques as understood at the time.
^Eberlein T, Assadian O (2010). "Clinical use of polihexanide on acute and chronic wounds for antisepsis and decontamination". Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 23 Suppl: 45–51. doi:10.1159/000318267. PMID20829662.
^Albina Mikhaylova; Bernd Liesenfeld; William Toreki; David Moore; Jillian Vella; Roy Carr; Gerald Olderman; Christopher Batich; Gregory Schultz (2009). "Bacterial Resistance Issues in Wound Care and Wound Dressings"(PDF). QuickMedTechnologies. Symposium on Advanced Wound Care and Wound Healing Society Meeting, Poster LB-051. Archived(PDF) from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2014.