In this work, porous lamellar chitosan-alginate membranes were developed without the use of freeze-drying methods or other vacuum-based approaches. The effects of two different surfactants, Tween 80 and Pluronic F68, on the properties of the membranes were evaluated, aiming at the production of stable consistent foams with improved polysaccharide dispersion. The membranes prepared with Tween 80 had a tensile strength around 1.5 MPa, elongation at break of 2.1% and liquid uptake from 590 to 1370% in distinct solutions, increasing their thickness in up to 3.9 times when immersed in water. The membranes obtained with Pluronic F68 had a tensile strength of 1.0 MPa, elongation at break of 2.0% and liquid uptake from 774 to 1380%, showing an increase in thickness around 3.2 times after exposure to water. The antimicrobial properties of both membranes were also evaluated, showing that despite being porous, the membranes can provide some protection against bacterial permeation. Therefore, membranes produced with Tween 80 and Pluronic F68 were considered to have high potential for use in the production of wound dressings and scaffolds for tissue engineering. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011.