Background Of the many antimicrobial agents available, iodophore-based formulations such as povidone iodine have remained popular after decades of use for antisepsis and wound healing applications due to their favorable efficacy and tolerability. Povidone iodine's broad spectrum of activity, ability to penetrate biofilms, lack of associated resistance, anti-inflammatory properties, low cytotoxicity and good tolerability have been cited as important factors, and no negative effect on wound healing has been observed in clinical practice. Over the past few decades, numerous reports on the use of povidone iodine have been published, however, many of these studies are of differing design, endpoints, and quality. More recent data clearly supports its use in wound healing. Methods Based on data collected through PubMed using specified search criteria based on above topics and clinical experience of the authors, this article will review preclinical and clinical safety and efficacy data on the use of povidone iodine in wound healing and its implications for the control of infection and inflammation, together with the authors’ advice for the successful treatment of acute and chronic wounds. Results and conclusion Povidone iodine has many characteristics that position it extraordinarily well for wound healing, including its broad antimicrobial spectrum, lack of resistance, efficacy against biofilms, good tolerability and its effect on excessive inflammation. Due to its rapid, potent, broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties, and favorable risk/benefit profile, povidone iodine is expected to remain a highly effective treatment for acute and chronic wounds in the foreseeable future.