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What's the difference between anti-septic spray and hydrogen peroxide?

Anti-septic spray and hydrogen peroxide are both chemical compounds that can be used to sanitize, clean, and disinfect. While they both can kill bacteria and prevent infections, these two products differ in their composition, uses, and effects.

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizing agent that kills bacteria by breaking them down into oxygen gas, water, and heat. It's considered a weak acid.


Most of the time, anti-septic spray should be used on wounds over peroxide. However, according to the popular medical website WebMD, "Hydrogen peroxide is used on the skin to prevent infection of minor cuts, scrapes, and burns. It may also be used as a mouth rinse to help remove mucus or to relieve minor mouth irritation (such as due to canker/cold sores or gingivitis)."

Anti-septic spray stops or slows the spreading of micro-organisms. It comprises alcohol, ethanol, or benzalkonium chloride as its primary ingredient.


According to the American Red Cross, anti-septic spray relieves pain, cleans skin/wounds, and treats cuts without a stinging sensation.

In addition to providing topical pain relief, anti-septic spray has a much longer shelf life than hydrogen peroxide. This is one reason doctors and hospitals widely use it to disinfect the skin.


Due to its long shelf life and pain-relieving properties, anti-septic spray is the preferred skin disinfectant chosen by medical professionals. However, peroxide also has antiseptic properties and can be used on the skin or in the mouth.

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This blog is for information only. Alpha Bravo First Aid LLC is a first aid supply service company and does not provide diagnosis or medical advice. Always consult your doctor and the manufacturer's product label for directions on how to best use first aid or medical products.

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