Preparing the Skin before Surgery

A surgical site infection is an infection that occurs in the area where an operation has been performed. There are some things that you can do to decrease your risk of a surgical site infection, such as reducing the bacteria (“germs”) on your skin. You have been given some special disposable cloths moistened with 2% Chlorhexidine Gluconate (CHG) antiseptic solution to help prepare your skin for surgery.


  • Please read and follow these instructions for bathing and skin care the night before your surgery.
  • Have clean freshly laundered bed sheets, towels and pajamas ready for use the evening prior to surgery.
  • Do not shave your pubic hair the day before or the day of surgery.
  • If you would like to warm wipes prior to use, please place closed packet in a bowl of warm water at bathwater temperature. Do not microwave.


  • The night before surgery, shower or bathe with soap & warm water, and wash your hair.
  • Wait at least one hour and be completely dry before applying the wipes.
  • Open the package: Using clean scissors, cut off the end seal of the package and discard the foam piece.
  • For each package, remove two cloths at a time, and place onto a clean surface.
  • Ask another adult for assistance with your skin prep process if it is helpful.
  • Wipe your skin as shown in the diagrams on the back side of this sheet. Use one cloth for each area of your skin as indicated by the numbers on the diagram.
  • Avoid contact with eyes, ears, mouth, internal genitalia, and any cuts or open areas of the skin. But, DO wipe the superficial skin and groin area (the creases where the legs meet the body).

After Care:

  • Discard wipes in trash can.
  • After using the wipes, let skin air dry. Your skin will feel sticky until dry.
  • Do not rinse CHG off the skin prior to surgery.
  • Put on clean pajamas and sleep in clean sheets.
  • After applying CHG wipes, do not shower, bathe, or apply lotions, moisturizers, or other personal care products.

Thank you for your work to help us prevent Surgical Site Infections!

For pregnant patients

Bathing instructions for pregnant patients