Pre-operative shower using chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG)

How to stop infections

This hospital is working to prevent infections. We will:

  • Give you one bottle of CHG soap at the appointment before your surgery. Use it to clean your skin the evening before and morning of surgery. CHG soap will help to make sure your skin is free of germs.
  • Give you antibiotics (medicines that prevent infections) as needed.
  • Closely watch things like your temperature, and sometimes your blood sugar.

Follow these instructions the evening before and morning of surgery:

  1. Do not shave the day before or day of surgery.
  2. Remove all jewelry until after surgery. Take off rings and take out all body-piercing jewelry.
  3. Use a clean wash cloth and towel.
  4. Wash your face and hair with your normal soap and shampoo before you use the CHG soap.
  5. Use a wash cloth to clean your skin with the CHG soap. Use enough CHG soap to cover the skin on your whole body. Use the same amount as you would with your normal soap.
    • Do not use the CHG soap on your face, eyes, ears, or head.
    • Do not scrub your skin too hard.
    • Be sure to clean the area well where surgery will be done.
    • Do not wash with your normal soap after the CHG soap.
  6. Keep away from the water stream when you put CHG soap on. This keeps it from rinsing off too soon.
  7. Rinse your body well.
  8. Pat yourself dry with a clean, soft towel.
  9. Put on clean clothing.
  10. Do not put on any deodorants, lotions, or oils after showering. These might block how the CHG soap works.

Side effects are:

  • Dryness
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity

These side effects should go away quickly. Rinse the CHG soap off your skin if you have any skin irritation (redness, itching, or burning).

Tell your doctor or nurse if you:

  • Are allergic to CHG
  • Have had a reaction to CHG in the past

What else should I know?

  • Use anti-bacterial Dial® soap if you are allergic to the CHG soap.
  • Do not shave the skin around your surgery site for 7 days before your surgery.
Please ask your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.
Last reviewed: 
October 2021

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