Antiseptic Spray: Everything About First Aid Sprays

Antiseptic spray finds its use in every hospital, clinic, beauty parlor, vet clinic, and more. Most of all, they’re useful in each and every home, because scrapes and cuts can happen to us all. More recently, in the difficult times of the global pandemic, antiseptic sprays are now more useful than ever and are being bought out by droves of people.

What does “antiseptic” really mean? Antiseptic sprays are antimicrobial substances that reduce the possibility of sepsis, infection, or putrefaction. These sprays are usually applied to living tissue and skin.

Some of the most common antiseptics include ethanol, isopropanol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, and more. These are things you most likely have in your home, but of course, there are professional antiseptic sprays that do the job better for a variety of reasons.

A lot has changed since the introduction of antiseptics hundreds of years ago. Other than having a variety of uses, these substances are now manufactured in ways that are much less unpleasant to use. We all know the sting of old-school antiseptic on a wound. These days, most of them find ways around that unpleasant issue.

Now more than ever, it’s important that you know all about antiseptic sprays and keep one in your home at all times. To make it easier for you, we will talk about them at length below. 

Read on to learn about the various uses of antiseptic sprays, possible replacements, and which ones are worth keeping at home.

What is an antiseptic substance?

Before we talk about sprays in particular, let’s take a closer look at what an antiseptic substance really is. 

Antiseptics are often used in various medical settings to lower the risk of the onset of infection. They slow down or even stop the growth of microorganisms. You’re most likely aware of the fact that antiseptics are used by surgeons prior to performing a medical procedure. This protects patients from infections.

Some forms of antiseptics are referred to as “germicides”. These substances are capable of destroying bactericidal microbes. There are also antiseptics that do not destroy bacteria, but they are bacteriostatic and they inhibit their growth.

Antiseptic sprays and other forms of antiseptics should not be confused with disinfectants, which are used to destroy microorganisms on surfaces and all types of items. Same as you would not treat a wound with a disinfectant, an antiseptic is not used to disinfect surfaces. However, some people still try to use them for such purposes out of lack of better options.

There are also certain preparations that can be used both as an antiseptic and as a disinfectant. This depends on their formula. These special kinds of antiseptics, including antiseptic sprays, both eliminate microorganisms and deactivate the viruses or bacteria that can be found on surfaces.

Depending on the type of antiseptic, you may find great success with disinfecting surfaces. 70% alcohol, as an example, is sufficient to kill bacteria and viruses when applied to a surface. However, a typical antiseptic spray may not suffice for this — this entirely depends on the brand and type.

Speaking of types, other than varying by substance, antiseptics also vary by the form in which they are sold. Other than antiseptic sprays, you may also find specialty soaps, hand rub solutions, scrub solutions, liquid solutions, and more.

What are antiseptic sprays used for?

Antiseptic sprays have a lot of different uses both in the household and in many different professional fields, most commonly medicine. There are many different kinds of antiseptics and each may have their own set of uses. This largely depends on the type of antiseptic: as an example, ethanol is not recommended for use on wounds. It’s instead used as a way to disinfect intact skin prior to medical procedures.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at some of the main uses for antiseptic sprays and other antiseptic substances.

Disinfecting cuts and wounds

This is one of the main things that antiseptic sprays are best for. Pouring straight-up alcohol onto a wound is effective in terms of cleaning it, but it is also very painful. This is an especially bad idea for children, who often cry when treated with this method of disinfection.

Some antiseptic sprays contain lidocaine or other numbing chemicals that remove the painful sensation of disinfection. In fact, some of them are so gentle that they can be used in the most sensitive areas of the body without adverse effects.

Antiseptic sprays make for a quick and easy alternative to other methods of disinfection, so they are widely used all over the world.

Hand washing

This may apply more to soaps and hand rubs than sprays, but sprays can be used for this purpose too. Medical professionals are forced to often wash their hands with some form of antiseptic. This helps make sure that all the possible bacteria and viruses are washed away or deactivated prior to and after coming in contact with a patient.

A good example of this would be hand sanitizers, which are also a form of antiseptics. These gel-based antiseptic solutions provide a portable way to keep your hands clean. Especially in current times, having clean hands is crucial in preventing all kinds of infections from entering your body.

Disinfecting mucous membranes

Due to their relatively gentle but effective nature, antiseptic sprays are used in the disinfection of more than just wounds. They can be used for disinfecting mucous membranes.

The sprays are often used in dentistry, urology, andrology, and gynecology. While a lot of these uses mostly apply to medical professionals, you too can use an antiseptic spray to treat, as an example, gum inflammation. However, before you do, make sure that you check whether that particular brand is safe to use on mucous membranes.

Skin infections

Skin infections, such as boils, are at a high risk of becoming even more inflamed. If a skin problem turns into an open wound, the wound needs to be thoroughly cleaned regularly to stop the spread of infection. Antiseptic sprays make for a good solution to the problem of cleaning these wounds safely and fully.

While the above are the main uses of antiseptics, there are countless more. To give you a general overview of the type of things you can use an antiseptic for, we’ve compiled a list of uses for your family.

  • cuts
  • wounds
  • open wounds
  • bruises
  • burns
  • gum inflammations/cuts (not all antiseptics)
  • boils
  • hand washing
  • disinfection

However, as mentioned previously, there are many other uses for antiseptic. Some of the most common medical uses are:

  • prior and post-surgery
  • tending to stitches
  • bladder irrigation
  • dental surgeries
  • prior to ultrasounds and other diagnostic tests
  • hand-washing in medical settings

With such a wide variety of uses, you will be able to find a whole selection of antiseptic sprays not just in most homes, but in every single field of healthcare. It doesn’t end there, however.

Most businesses use some form of antiseptic as part of their sanitary regulations. Even if a particular business has nothing to do with medicine directly, it may still find uses for an antiseptic spray, especially one that works on both bacteria and viruses as well as on surfaces and on skin tissue.

Types of antiseptic

The type of antiseptic that is used during surgery differs from the one you can pick up as an OTC in a drug store. Let’s talk about the different types of antiseptic.

  • Antibacterial dye: Most commonly used to treat all types of wounds and burns. 
  • Peroxide: Used on open wounds, in mouthwashes, and in antiseptic sprays.
  • Chlorhexidine & other kinds of biguanides: These have a lot of uses, ranging from open wounds to such problems as bladder irrigation or gum inflammation.
  • Halogenated phenol derivative: Often found in antibacterial soaps, medical-grade soaps, cleaning substances.
  • Ethanol, 2-propanol, isopropanol: Used for all kinds of disinfection on the skin, such as before injections.
  • Iodine: Usually found as an alcohol solution. You may know it by the name of “iodine tincture”. This is often used as a pre- and post-operative antiseptic.
  • Chloroxylenol: This antiseptic is used in a number of household disinfectants and also wound cleaners. It can be used for cuts but also for surfaces.

Is hydrogen peroxide a good antiseptic?

This largely depends on the volume. If your hydrogen peroxide is only 3% or 10% volume, it won’t have the desired effect. As mentioned previously, about 70% volume is required for the failproof disinfection of both skin tissue and surfaces.

Hydrogen peroxide on its own may not be overly effective, but it is included in a whole lot of antiseptic sprays. In those sprays, combined with several other chemical substances, using hydrogen peroxide is the standard.

Fortunately, hydrogen peroxide still finds many uses in our homes. Aiding disinfection is only one of them. It’s used in many homemade cleaning agents, and – keeping your home clean and tidy – it contributes to not having to worry about bacteria in the first place.

What is the difference between antiseptic and disinfectant?

We completely understand the confusion. Antiseptic sprays and other substances are often referred to as disinfectants (and vice versa) which makes it quite hard to discern between the two.

It’s true that both of these substances kill microorganisms. They also both contain chemical agents that are referred to as biocides. High-volume hydrogen peroxide is often found in both antiseptics and disinfectants. However, there are also major differences between the two. 

The first difference comes in the form of the ingredients in both. Antiseptics are known to contain a lower level of biocides than disinfectants. That said, the other difference is the major one.

Antiseptics can safely be used on skin tissue and mucous membranes, while disinfectants only work for surfaces and objects. An example of this would be that a doctor, prior to a medical procedure, will use an antiseptic to disinfect their hands. However, to disinfect the tools, they will use a disinfectant.

How to use an antiseptic spray?

The way this product is used will change based on what you are using it for. We urge you to always read the flyer that comes with the spray so that you can follow the exact recommendations. 

To make things simpler, here is a general rule of thumb on how to use a first aid antiseptic spray.

  • Start by cleaning the wound. Depending on the type of wound, you may use a simple tissue or perhaps cotton dipped in cold water. Do not use soap — it will sting and may give you an allergic reaction.
  • Dry out the wound with a soft cloth or a tissue. Be gentle.
  • Spray the wound generously with the antiseptic. 
  • Allow the substance to seep into the wound. Do not wipe it off for at least a full minute.
  • If needed, dry the wound and apply a bandage or plaster when the skin is completely dry.

This process needs to be repeated frequently. Remember that even if the wound doesn’t hurt, sting, or itch, this is no proof that it doesn’t need to be checked on often. In order to give the wound a safe space for it to heal, make sure that you check on it often, and act accordingly.

Are antiseptic sprays safe?

Antiseptic sprays are generally safer and more pleasant to use than some other types of antiseptics. They can be used for adults and for children without the need to consult a physician.

As a whole, you can most definitely use a top-quality antiseptic spray at home without worrying about specific uses. However, you have to be mindful of the very unlikely possible side effects that may occur.

If, after using a new hand sanitizer or antiseptic spray, you find yourself with any of the following:

  • headaches
  • blurry vision
  • dizziness
  • skin irritation
  • skin rash

– you may want to stop using the antiseptic and consult your doctor. For some people, the fumes from the sanitizer alone are too strong and thus may bring on such side effects. Keep in mind that this is very rare.

Do you need a doctor’s recommendation to buy an antiseptic spray?

There are many OTC (over the counter) options that can be bought without a doctor’s recommendation. They can be picked up at most drug stores, and more conveniently, online. Amazon offers a quite wide range of disinfectants of all kinds, allowing you to pick and choose. We will cover some of our favorites below.

Best antiseptic sprays in 2020

Antiseptic sprays are widely available all over the world and are currently in high demand. As many manufacturers have jumped on the bandwagon and are now trying to mass-produce antiseptics, now is both a good and a bad time to make your purchase.

With the market as flooded as it is, it’s difficult to pick out a good antiseptic spray. To help you out, we’ve decided to cover our three best choices. 

75% Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Spray by Maple Holistics

75% Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Spray - Hand Sanitizer with Alcohol Antiseptic Spray - Isopropyl Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer Spray Hand Cleaner - 8 oz (236 ml)
2,621 Reviews
75% Alcohol Hand Sanitizer Spray - Hand Sanitizer with Alcohol Antiseptic Spray - Isopropyl Alcohol Based Hand Sanitizer Spray Hand Cleaner - 8 oz (236 ml)
  • Hand Sanitizer Alcohol Spray - Try our alcohol spray sanitizer today and enjoy superior germ protection thanks to the anti germ hand formula in our alcohol based sanitizer
  • 8 oz Hand Sanitizer Spray - Our unscented hand sanitizer sensitive skin cleaner spray is gentle yet effective making it a top choice for your pure hand sanitizer liquid

Containing a very high volume of alcohol, this hand sanitizer is capable of killing both bacteria and viruses if used the right way. Experts claim that washing your hands with a substance that contains over 70% of alcohol may even kill the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The alcohol found in this spray is isopropyl. It really packs a punch for a relatively low price. It’s also gentle enough to not irritate your skin when you use it.

This is marketed as a hand sanitizer, but it can be used to disinfect the skin and surfaces alike. This is due to the high volume of alcohol that is sufficient to also deactivate bacteria and viruses found on surfaces. However, we do recommend picking up a good surface disinfectant to combat these two things separately.

As this antiseptic spray comes in a small, lightweight bottle of 8oz, you can take it with you wherever you go without a hassle. It’s fragrance-free, so you will have no problem using it in public, such as on the commute. 

Regular use of this antiseptic will keep your family safe from germs, just as long as you are thorough and patient.

Buy on Amazon


Dermoplast Pain & Itch Spray

Dermoplast Pain, Burn & Itch Spray, Pain Relief Spray for Minor Cuts, Burns and Bug Bites, 2.75 oz (Packaging May Vary)
19,048 Reviews
Dermoplast Pain, Burn & Itch Spray, Pain Relief Spray for Minor Cuts, Burns and Bug Bites, 2.75 oz (Packaging May Vary)
  • One 2.75 oz can of Dermoplast Pain, Burn & Itch Spray
  • Provides immediate pain and itch relief for minor skin irritations and postpartum care

Do you have kids? We’re certain that they probably fought you tooth and nail when you had to treat a small cut on their arm or their leg. However, those days just might be coming to an end. Dermoplast provides a painless solution to disinfecting wounds.

This is marketed as a “must-have for moms” and it couldn’t be described in any better way. Dermoplast relieves a lot of the pain from cuts, scrapes, insect bites, sunburn, and more. All you need to do is spray the affected area and the effect will be instantaneous. 

Combining hospital-strength benzocaine with aloe, lanolin, and menthol, this antiseptic spray attacks the problem from several sides and speeds up the recovery process.

Dermoplast is widely used by medical professionals. It does a great job of disinfecting the skin or mucous membranes. It has a soothing, calming effect that makes you forget you’ve ever gotten that — previously annoying — bruise, mosquito bite, or cut. 

If you want to use something that is praised by doctors all over the world, Dermoplast is a good pick.

Buy on Amazon


Betadine First Aid Spray

Betadine First Aid Spray 3 oz Povidone Iodine Antiseptic with No-Sting Promise (Packaging May Vary)
5,263 Reviews
Betadine First Aid Spray 3 oz Povidone Iodine Antiseptic with No-Sting Promise (Packaging May Vary)
  • 5% POVIDONE IODINE ANTISEPTIC: Betadine First Aid Spray is an aqueous solution of povidone-iodine 5% that kills germs promptly in minor cuts, scrapes and burns
  • TRUSTED BY HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS: Betadine has been trusted and used in hospitals for over 50 years. Simply spray over the minor wound after cleaning and let dry

This antiseptic spray is made out of a 5% iodine antiseptic. This substance kills the germs found in minor cuts or bruises, so it’s good to carry with you while you’re on the go. 

Simply spraying the wound with Betadine and leaving it to dry for a while is sufficient. This is a model that works with a broad range of germs, viruses, and other microbes. It works in two ways: it will disinfect whatever you need it to, and  continue its own mission.

It prevents infection by simply nipping it in the bud. Before you even notice the symptoms of an infection, it may just be all gone thanks to the early reaction and the disinfecting qualities of this spray.

This Betadine antiseptic spray has a convenient no-touch application that makes it much safer to treat all wounds. You can also, of course, begin by spraying your hands with it to make sure that you’re free from germs. After that, you can freely tend to all cuts and bruises.

It has a recognizable color that makes it easier for you to tell whether you spray the entire affected area. This makes it superior to the competition, as many competitor brands are simply transparent.

Buy on Amazon


Medline Skintegrity Wound Cleanser

Medline Skintegrity Wound Cleansers, Fast and Thorough Wound Cleansing, Bottle with Trigger Sprayer, 16 fl oz.
5,736 Reviews
Medline Skintegrity Wound Cleansers, Fast and Thorough Wound Cleansing, Bottle with Trigger Sprayer, 16 fl oz.
  • Specially formulated to allow fast, thorough and gentle cleansing of wounds in all stages
  • Choose mist or stream delivery to loosen and remove protein and wound debris with a non-ionic surfactant

This antiseptic cleanser in a relatively large bottle comes recommended by many medical professionals. It has a handy atomizer bottle that makes it easy to spray on all types of wounds & more.

Formulated by experts, this spray cleans thoroughly and quickly. Apply a generous amount directly to the wound and allow it to soak in properly before wiping it away after a short while. 

It’s referred to as “non-sting”. This means that even when applied directly to a fresh wound, it won’t make you wince and it won’t make the kids cry. You can also apply it to burns, stitches, skin inflammations, and prior to dressing your wounds. Before you do, make sure that the skin is dry to avoid excess moisture.

The bottle is highly ergonomic and will be easy to use even in hard-to-access areas of the body. It’s bigger than the standard antiseptic spray, but it’s still portable enough to be easy to carry with you wherever you go.

Buy on Amazon



In these trying times, it’s important to be prepared and have the basics at home. An antiseptic spray is one of those absolute “must-have” items that should be found in every household. Whether it’s a cut, a burn, or an open wound, it’s important not to leave them to their own devices.

If you act fast and prevent inflammation, you have the chance of recovering very swiftly. It’s important that you regularly clean out your wound and then apply the antiseptic of choice. Don’t forget to also keep your hands as clean as can be. By following these steps, you’ll be able to ensure that every cut, big or small, will turn out to be nothing major in the end.