This section is from the book "A Text-Book Of Pharmacology, Therapeutics And Materia Medica", by T. Lauder Brunton. Also available from Amazon: A text-book of pharmacology, therapeutics and materia medica.
These are generally employed in order to destroy the germs of disease in the excreta of a patient suffering from an infectious disease, or those germs which may be adhering to articles of clothing or to furniture or to the walls of a room in which the patient has been lying. Probably the most efficient and generally applicable to articles of clothing is heat. The heat employed is usually from 230° to 250° F., but as a general rule it should be as hot as the fabrics will bear without injury, and should be continued as long as is necessary to raise the central parts of the articles to be disinfected to the temperature of the chamber in which they are placed. As the presence of moisture aids the destructive action of heat upon septic organisms, superheated steam appears to be the best disinfectant under ordinary circumstances. The only disinfectant that seems to be really trustworthy for destroying septic organisms when it is simply washed over them is corrosive sublimate : even in a dilution of one to a thousand it appears to destroy microzymes and their spores by a single application for a few minutes.