Another cleanliness term used in healthcare is antiseptic which is both a noun (e.g. a liquid solution applied to the skin that kills microbes) and an adjective - surfaces that have been treated with antiseptic. Industrial hygienists don’t use this word as it overlaps in meaning with sanitized and disinfected. Antiseptics are different from disinfectants even though the same chemicals are often used for both. The difference is in where and for what reason the solutions are applied. Antiseptics are antimicrobial liquids that medical personnel apply to the skin to reduce the number of bacteria. Disinfectants are used on equipment and buildings.

Alcohol is a common antiseptic, applied to a person’s skin before an injection is given or catheter is introduced. There are also antiseptic cleansers sold for use in medical facilities so healthcare professionals can wash their hands. Normal bar soap or liquid soap is not considered antiseptic. Some are sold as “antibacterial” which is partly a marketing gimmick as all detergents are antibacterial to some extent. Antibacterial soap used to contain triclosan or triclocarban or another chemical, but the FDA outlawed triclosan and many other chemicals in 2016. These can no longer be put into soap or detergent for human use: cloflucarban, fluorosalan, hexachlorophene, hexylresorcinol, 6 iodophors (iodine-containing ingredients), methylbenzethonium chloride, phenol, secondary amyltricresols, sodium oxychlorosene, tribromsalan, triclocarban, triclosan, and triple dye. Source.

Antiseptic preparations may include alcohols, chlorhexidine, chloroxylenol, and quaternary ammonium compounds as active ingredients.