Bathing Instructions Prior to Surgery

Before surgery, you can play an important role in your health. Skin is not sterile, but you can reduce the number of germs on your skin by carefully washing before surgery. Please follow these instructions:

IMPORTANT: You will need to shower with a special soap called chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). A common brand name for this soap is Hibiclens, but any brand is acceptable. The soap comes in a liquid form and can be purchased from most pharmacies, or you may request it from the hospital at which you are having surgery. You will only need a small bottle, about 4-6 ounces.

Showering instructions:
  • You will take two CHG showers. The first shower should be taken the night before surgery and the second shower the morning of surgery.
  • With each shower, wash your hair and face as usual with your normal shampoo and soap. Rinse your hair and body thoroughly afterward to remove the residue.
  • Do not shave the area of your body where your surgery will be performed. Any new cut, abrasion or rash on your surgical extremity will need to be evaluated and may cause a delay in your procedure.
  • Turn water off before applying the CHG soap to prevent rinsing it off too soon. Apply the soap to your entire body from the jaw down, using a clean (freshly laundered) washcloth or your hands. Do not use CHG near your eyes, ears, nose or mouth. Scrub thoroughly for 5 minutes, paying special attention to the area where your surgery will be performed. Do not scrub your skin too hard. Do not wash with your regular soap after using the CHG. Turn the water back on and rinse your body well.
  • Pat yourself dry with a fresh, clean (freshly laundered) towel after each shower. Put on clean clothes or pajamas. Use freshly laundered bed linens.
  • Do not apply any lotions, perfumes or powders after use.