Diagnostics & Testing

Pre-Operative Chlorhexidine (CHG) Washcloths

What are CHG washcloths?

CHG washcloths are antiseptic body wipes that contain an ingredient called 2% chlorhexidine gluconate which not only kills all the potentially harmful bacteria that can be found on your skin, but also binds to your body for many hours forming an invisible barrier against germs. The cloths can provide you with an extra level of protection to further reduce the very small risk of an infection following your surgery.

Why it is important to use the CHG washcloths?

Before surgery, you can play an important role in your own health. Because skin is not sterile, we need to be sure your skin is as free of germs as possible before surgery.

The instructions in this document are to help know how to prepare your skin for surgery to ensure that the skin is thoroughly cleansed to reduce the amount of bacteria that is normally found on the skin. This will help to reduce the risk of developing an infection.

How do you use the washcloths?

Following the steps below, make sure to wipe all areas of your body thoroughly to ensure maximum protection. Discard wipes after use. If you are unable to use the wipes yourself, your partner or another carer should be asked to assist you. Your body will feel sticky for a while as the chlorhexidine binds to your skin.

PACK 1 should be used the night before your surgery.

  • Use Pack 1 the night before your surgery
  • Have a shower or bath
  • Dry yourself vigorously with a clean towel
  • DO NOT apply any lotions, creams, moisturizers, deodorants, perfumes or sprays
  • DO NOT shave or wax any area near the operation area or the arms and legs within 24 hours of your surgery
  • Use the wipes as shown in the picture below to clean your entire body from the jawline down
  • Allow your skin to dry
  • Dress in clean, freshly laundered sleepwear and sleep on freshly laundered sheets

PACK 2 should be used on the morning of your surgery before arriving at the hospital.

  • Use Pack 2 on the morning of your surgery
  • DO NOT shower, bathe or wash your skin
  • Use ONLY the wipes to clean your skin
  • Dress in clean, freshly laundered clothes

Discontinue use if irritation develops. If irritation persists for more than 72 hours, seek medical advice immediately.

  1. Neck, shoulders and chest
  2. Right arm, hand, and axilla
  3. Left arm, hand and axilla
  4. Abdomen and groin, external or private area
  5. Right leg, right foot
  6. Left leg, left foot
  7. Back of neck, back
  8. Buttocks

© Copyright 2023 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.

This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of the M42 group, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

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