Antiseptics are applied to the skin to reduce the possibility of infection. Common antiseptics include rubbing alcohol, boric acid, hydrogen peroxide and iodine. Commonly used in antiseptic towels, a family of substances known as quaternary ammonium compounds are also considered antiseptics. Examples are benzalkonium chloride and chlorhexidine.
Benzalkonium chloride is a common active ingredient of over-the-counter antiseptic first-aid sprays. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide, 6-percent strength, is a common household antiseptic used to treat cuts and wounds. It can also be used as an eyewash at lower strengths. At strengths greater than 50 percent, this substance is used to sterilize surgical instruments.