Burn wounds disrupt the body's primary defense against invasion and colonization by microorganisms. Topical antimicrobials are one component in burn wound care. These agents suppress microbial growth to advantage skin cells and wound healing. Topical antimicrobials can be divided into 2 superclasses: antiseptics and antibiotics. We review the 4 main classes of topical antiseptics (emulsifiers, acids, oxidizers, and heavy metals) and antiseptic-impregnated dressings in current clinical use and address the mechanisms, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each antiseptic for burn wound management.