Infection Prevention & Control

The problem with soap and water

By : Mölnlycke Health Care, May 24 2012Posted in: Infection Prevention & Control

Ordinary soap does not reduce the skin’s bacteria count; it increases it.1

Typical standard patient-cleansing procedures, using soap and water, simply spread the organisms, releasing the bacteria over the surface of the skin from the naturally heavily colonised areas.

Preoperative body washing with a chlorhexidine digluconate solution significantly reduces the number of bacteria on the skin compared to soap and water.1 

Instant and residual protection for up to 6 hours

HiBiScrub® Plus is more effective than soap in the long term, lasting for up to six hours. The following graphs demonstrate the residual effect of the two body washing methods on colony forming units (CFUs).2


  1. Hayek LJ et al. A placebo controlled trial of the effect of two preoperative baths or showers with Chlorhexidine detergent on postoperative wound infection rates. J Hosp Infec.1987; 10: 165-72. 
  2. Tanner J et al. A fresh look at preoperative body washing. Journal of Infection Prevention. 2012; Vol: 13: 1: 11-5.
Share this

More articles on infection prevention

A fresh look at preoperative body washing
A fresh look at preoperative body washing

Mölnlycke Health Care and Professor Judith Tanner introduces whole body washing and the study results from comparing two...

Skin - the source of the problem
Skin - the source of the problem

Disinfection is a major priority in all hospitals, which is why all surgical sites and operating rooms are sterile environments....