Before Joseph Lister's landmark Lancet publications on the use of carbolic acid wound dressings in 1867, surgeons Jules Lemaire in France and Enrico Bottini in Italy had already used carbolic acid on hundreds of patients to control suppurative wounds. Between 1871 and 1887 he also used a carbolic acid spray to purify the air in the operating room. He first published on the use of a spray apparatus in 1871, to sterilize the surgical field and diminish irritation of the tissue. Lister continued his experiments for two years, and in 1867 made public that carbolic acid was an antiseptic, i.e prevented the wounds he had treated from going septic.. What else did Joseph Lister achieve? Lister also sprayed the air with carbolic acid to kill airborne germs. Joseph Lister was a British surgeon whose work in preventing infections revolutionised surgery. British surgeon Joseph Lister invented it, hoping it would kill airborne bacteria, reducing the chance of infection during surgery. Before Joseph Lister's landmark Lancet publications on the use of carbolic acid wound dressings in 1867, surgeons Jules Lemaire in France and Enrico Bottini in Italy had already used carbolic acid on hundreds of patients to control suppurative wounds. Joseph Lister and the use of antiseptics. In the mid-1800s, American surgeon Joseph Lister used carbolic acid to clean and dress wounds, reports MedicineNet.com. When administered in diluted strength, it is particularly useful as a topical anesthetic, and can relieve toothache pain. It was originally an antimicrobial compound. Carbolic acid affects the human body in a variety of ways. Lister had begun experimenting with carbolic acid in 1865 – applying it directly to wounds, bandages and surgical equipment – after hearing it was used to treat sewage. Joseph Lister directing the use of carbolic acid spray in one of his earliest antiseptic surgical operations, circa 1865. His discovery helped decrease deaths in his hospital ward during 4 years to 15 percent. Joseph Lister discovered in 1865 that by using carbolic acid, or phenol, as an antiseptic, a person's chance of dying form infection after surgery could be reduced. To prevent secondary hemorrhage he also used carbolic acid to sterilize the gut suturing material. He is often referred to as the "founder of antiseptic medicine." Bettmann Archive hide caption toggle caption In 1865, Joseph Lister first read Pasteur’s writings proving that putrefaction was caused by germs, and two years later demonstrated that germs could be killed by using carbolic acid applied directly to the wound. He developed antiseptic surgery by spraying medical instruments, catgut. Beginning in 1865, Lister used carbolic acid to wash his hands, his instruments, and the bandages used in the operation. After more than a year of using and refining these techniques, Lister had sufficient data to … and bandages with a 1-in-20 solution of carbolic acid. After 1870, not being wedded to carbolic acid, Lister used absorbent gauze impregnated with various other antiseptic substances.