Here’s the difference between antiseptic and disinfectants in table from.

Antiseptics Disinfectant
DefinitionSubstances applied to living tissues or skinSubstances used on inanimate objects or surfaces
PurposePrevent or inhibit the growth of microorganismsKill or eliminate microorganisms
ApplicationUsed on skin, mucous membranes, or external body partsUsed on surfaces, instruments, equipment, and objects
TargetUsed to prevent infection in living tissues or woundsUsed to eliminate or reduce microbial contamination
ConcentrationGenerally lower concentration for safety on tissuesHigher concentration to ensure effective disinfection
ToxicityGenerally less toxic and safer for use on living tissuesMay be more toxic and not suitable for direct skin contact
Duration of ActionShorter duration of action, require frequent applicationLonger-lasting action, may not require frequent reapplication
ExampleHydrogen peroxide, iodine, alcohol, chlorhexidineBleach, quaternary ammonium compounds, phenols
Difference between antiseptic and disinfectants

Disinfectants are chemicals to kill the vegetative form of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It eliminates microorganisms by distracting their lipid, protein, and nucleic acid.

NOTE: Disinfectant does not eliminate spores and non-vegetative forms of the microorganisms, cleaning the NON-LIVING surface or OBJECTS have been in contact with body fluid or pathological tissue in the clinical laboratory.

Classification of antiseptic and disinfectant in microbiology

In microbiology, antiseptic and disinfectant are classified into two groups.

  • Disinfectant
  • Antiseptic

WHAT is Disinfectant in Microbiology?

Disinfectants are chemicals. They are applied to non-living things. These chemicals are toxic and corrosive to living tissue.

What are the 7 different Types of Disinfectants in the clinical laboratory?

There are eight types of disinfectants we use. Each type has a different composition.

What is the difference between antiseptic and disinfectants
  1. Phenolic Compound. Phenol is used for cleaning the floor, washroom, and bedpans. Examples Phenol, Dettol.
  2. Metallic Salts: Mercuric Chloride is used as a skin disinfectant. Nitrate 1 % is used for gonococcal eye infections.
  3. Formaldehyde: It is a rapid bacteriocidal disinfectant. 10 % solution used as a fixative in histopathology lab.
  4. Halogen: Chlorine used for disinfecting food and water. Tincture and iodine are used as skin disinfectants.
  5. Soap and Detergents: There are multipurpose disinfectants.
  6. Volatile: Ethyl alcohol in 70% solution used as skin disinfectant before injection.
  7. Gaseous Compounds: Ethylene oxide can use as a disinfectant.

What is an Antiseptic and what examples?

Antiseptic is a nontoxic substance for living surfaces like wounds or cuts on the body. Antiseptics are effective for cleaning wounds. Examples Alcohol, spirit, iodine

NOTE: It is the same chemicals as disinfectants. these chemicals are in reduced concentration on the skin.

What is an Antiseptic and what examples?

Antiseptic is a nontoxic substance for living surfaces like wounds or cut on the body. But they are effective for cleaning wounds.
Examples: Alcohol, spirit, iodine

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