Chronic wounds are commonly observed in acute and community settings. The management of chronic wounds represents a significant proportion of health-care resources and makes up a substantial amount of contact time with community-based nurses spending approximately 25% to 50% of their time treating wounds. Chronic wounds often exhibit increased bacterial burden that can negatively impact upon patients, reduce their quality of life and substantially increase treatment costs for health care providers. Antibiotic resistance has become a major medical and public health problem, and interest has been generated in the use of topical therapies to manage wound infection. This article presents an overview of the historical use of honey, silver and iodine for the treatment of infected wounds progressing through to modern day use and the current evidence base for the use of these antimicrobial agents in the management of infected wounds.