The aim of this study was to evaluate the antifungal effects of light-activated disinfection (LAD) in comparison with contemporary root canal irrigation solutions: sodium hypochlorite and 2 % chlorhexidine gluconate and a new wound antiseptic, octenidine hydrochloride. Seventy extracted teeth having single root canals were contaminated with Candida albicans for 14 days. The samples were divided into five experimental (n = 10) and two control (positive and negative) groups (n = 10): (1) LAD with toluidine blue O, (2) octenidine hydrochloride (OCT), (3) 2.5 % sodium hypochlorite (2.5 % NaOCl), (4) 5.25 % sodium hypochlorite (5.25 % NaOCl) and (5) 2 % chlorhexidine. Five millilitres of each test solution was applied for 3 min, and irradiation time used for LAD was 30 s. After treatment, the dentin chips were collected from inner canal walls into vials containing phosphate buffered saline, vortexed, serially diluted, seeded on Tryptic Soy Agar plates and incubated (37 A degrees C, 48 h). The number of colony-forming units was then counted. Differences between LAD group and positive control group were statistically significant (P < 0.05). All Candida cells were totally eliminated in root canals irrigated with OCT, 2.5 % NaOCl, 5.25 % NaOCl and 2 % chlorhexidine groups (CFU = 0). Within the limitations of this ex vivo study, LAD had minimal antimicrobial effect on C. albicans when used 30 s, and further modifications in LAD protocol are required to improve its antifungal capability. A new wound antiseptic, octenidine hydrochloride, demonstrated better potential than LAD in elimination of Candida albicans cells and may be a promising alternative to NaOCl and chlorhexidine solutions in future.