Ensure you have the needed supplies for showering.

If you were not provided antimicrobial soap by the facility, please purchase a bottle of liquid antiseptic soap at your local pharmacy as instructed by your provider's office.

How to shower for your procedure or surgery: Step-by-step instructions to help reduce risk of infections

For best results, shower the night before as well as the morning of your procedure or surgery. Use two ounces of antimicrobial soap with chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG) each time, or use cloths with CHG. If you’re allergic to chlorhexidine or have sensitive skin, talk to your healthcare professional about alternative products.

hands putting cloths into a dryer

Prior to showering

Make sure you have clean bedding, clean clothes to sleep in and clean clothes to wear to your appointment.

Shaving Razor with red X through it

Avoid shaving anywhere on your face or body for 24 hours prior to your procedure or surgery.

Remove all jewelry and piercings and leave them off until after your procedure or surgery. Gather the clean towel, washcloth and bottle of CHG soap.

woman in shower

In the shower

Wash your hair as you normally would with your usual shampoo; remember to avoid shaving. Step back from the water or turn it off. Put CHG soap on the washcloth, apply from your neck to your toes and gently scrub in small circles for five minutes. Avoid your face, ears, eyes and genitals, and get help washing your back. Step back into the stream of water to allow it to rinse the CHG soap off. Do not bathe with regular soap from now until after your procedure or surgery.

woman drying face with towel

After showering

Step out of the shower and pat yourself dry with the clean towel. Do not use any lotion, powder, perfume, cologne or deodorant until after your procedure or surgery. Sleep in a bed with clean bedding and don’t allow any pets on your bed. For best results, repeat the showering process the next morning (day of your procedure or surgery). Dress in freshly washed clothing to sleep in as well as to wear to your procedure or surgery.

If you are unable to shower

If you're unable to shower, follow these steps the night before and day of your procedure or surgery:

  • Wet your body
  • Rub CHG soap on all surfaces
  • Wipe off with a clean, wet washcloth
  • Pat yourself dry with a clean towel