HAP Resource Center

Guidelines: Pre-surgical Instructions for Patients

Help us reduce your risk of infection. There are several steps you can take that have been shown to be effective at removing bacteria from the skin. Removal of skin bacteria from your body requires bathing with a special soap called chlorhexidine or CHG.  You will bathe the night before your surgery and again the morning of your surgery.

  • You should not shave your legs or armpits. CHG can irritate freshly shaven areas.
  • Shower with the chlorhexidine containing skin cleanser. Begin by washing your hair and face & neck with regular soap and shampoo. Turn off the water and wash the remainder of your body with the special soap, being careful to only wash below the neck. Pay special attention to your armpits and any skin folds. The special soap should be applied with a sponge or net pouf or special gauze that was given to you. Cotton fibers inactivate CHG. Wash as you would normally wash.
  • Do not scrub.
  • Wait five minutes and then rinse off.
  • After drying, do not apply any lotions as they may neutralize the effect of the CHG.
  • If you were provided a chlorhexidine impregnated cloth instead of CHG soap, then you will follow the instructions for application after you have showered and dried off. Your skin may feel sticky, but that sensation will pass after it adequately dries. Dress in clean pajamas.



Topics: Patient and Family Engagement, Public Health, Quality Initiatives

Revision Date: 9/1/2019

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