Medieval surgeons Hugh of Lucca, Theoderic of Servia, and his pupil Henri de Mondeville were opponents of Galen's opinion that pus was important to healing, which had led ancient and medieval surgeons to let pus remain in wounds. They advocated draining and cleaning the wound edges with wine, dressing the wound after suturing, if necessary and leaving the dressing on for ten days, soaking it in warm wine all the while, before changing it. Their theories were bitterly opposed by Galenist Guy de Chauliac and others trained in the classical tradition.
Ignaz Semmelweis, who published his work The Cause, Concept and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever in 1861, summarizing experiments and observations since 1847]
Some common antiseptics
Structure of povidone-iodine complex, the most common antiseptic in use today.
Antiseptics can be subdivided into about eight classes of materials. These classes can be subdividded according to their mechanism of action: small molecules that indescrimantly react with organic compounds and kill microorganisms (peroxides, iodine, phenols) and more complex molecules that disrupt the cell walls of the bacteria.
Diguanides including chlorhexidine gluconate, a bacteriocidal antiseptic which (with an alcoholic solvent) is the most effective at reducing the risk of infection after surgery. It is also used in mouthwashes to treat inflammation of the gums (gingivitis). Polyhexanide (polyhexamethylene biguanide, PHMB) is an antimicrobial compound suitable for clinical use in critically colonized or infected acute and chronic wounds. The physicochemical action on the bacterial envelope prevents or impedes the development of resistant bacterial strains.
Peroxides, such as hydrogen peroxide and benzoyl peroxide. Commonly, 3% solutions of hydrogen peroxide have been used in household first aid for scrapes, etc. However, the strong oxidization causes scar formation and increases healing time during fetal development.
Iodine, especially in the form of povidone-iodine, is widely used because it is well tolerated, does not negatively affect wound healing, leaves a deposit of active iodine, thereby creating the so-called "remnant", or persistent, effect, and has wide scope of antimicrobial activity. The traditional iodine antiseptic is an alcohol solution (called tincture of iodine) or as Lugol's iodine solutionc. Some studies  do not recommend disinfecting minor wounds with iodine because of concern that it may induce scar tissue formation and increase healing time. However, concentrations of 1% iodine or less have not been shown to increase healing time and are not otherwise distinguishable from treatment with saline. Iodine will kill all principal pathogens and, given enough time, even spores, which are considered to be the most difficult form of microorganisms to be inactivated by disinfectants and antiseptics.
^ One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Antiseptics". Encyclopædia Britannica. 2 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 146. This source provides a summary of antiseptic techniques as understood at the time.