A solution of this substance, which is commonly called corrosive sublimate, is the most powerful antiseptic known to science, and, freely diluted (see the table above), is employed as an antiseptic agent, and also in the preparation of instruments and appliances for surgical operations. It is injected into the various cavities of the body, applied as a lotion externally, and used in the preparation of lint gauze, cotton, and other antiseptic dressings. For disinfecting purposes, the strength recommended is from 1 in 1500 to 1 in 10,000 parts. Four grains in a quart of distilled water is the proportion commonly employed for washing the hands and appliances to be used in operations.
It was largely due to Dr. Koch that this agent to a great extent supplanted carbolic acid, as that eminent bacteriologist made the most exhaustive experiments upon the anthrax bacillus and other deadly organisms, and found it to be the most efficient of the many antiseptics then in use. It may, however, be stated here that Lister, the father of antiseptic surgery, has gone back to his first love, and recently declared his preference for carbolic acid as a surgical dressing.