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Antiseptic, substance that kills or prevents the growth of microorganisms (particularly bacteria and fungi), especially used to avoid sepsis (infection) from contamination of body surfaces and surgical instruments. Vinegar and cedar oil have been used since early times to treat wounds and for embalming. Commonly used antiseptics and disinfectants include iodine, chlorine, alcohol, isopropanol, formaldehyde, and hydrogen peroxide. Heat, ultraviolet, and ionizing radiations also have antiseptic effects.

See also: Disinfectant; Lister, Sir Joseph.

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