As an iodophor, combined with a solubilizing solution or carrier, iodine is thought to exhibit disinfectant properties because it penetrates the cell walls of an organism and disrupts the protein and nucleic acid structure and synthesis. These solutions are useful as both disinfectants and antiseptics.
Iodine solutions are used in a variety of environments where antiseptic or disinfectant action is required. In health care settings, they are used to disinfect equipment, such as blood culture bottles, thermometers, hydrotherapy tanks and endoscopes.
Iodophor solutions are not recommended as hard-surface disinfectants because of concentration differences. They are also not recommended for use with silicone catheters because of the potential to disrupt the material.