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Br Med J. 1971 Sep 18;3(5776):674-6.

Disinfection of the skin: an assessment of some new preparations.


Repeated hand washing with a detergent solution containing 0.75% chlorhexidine digluconate was found to cause a large reduction in the resident skin flora which was slightly though significantly smaller than that caused by the use of 3% hexachlorophane liquid soap containing a phenolic preservative, chlorocresol 0.3%. Both agents caused a greater immediate reduction of bacteria after a single hand washing than the hexachlorophane liquid soap without a phenolic additive had shown in earlier experiments; the soap base containing chlorocresol 0.3% but no hexachlorophane was also found to cause a large reduction in skin flora. The chlorhexidine detergent solution had no residual disinfectant action on the skin after rinsing and drying the hands.Disinfection of an operation site for two minutes with povidone-iodine containing 1% available iodine in 70% ethyl alcohol caused about as great a reduction in resident flora as a similar treatment with alcoholic 0.5% chlorhexidine. Both treatments were more effective than disinfection with aqueous 1% cetrimide or 0.1% benzalkonium chloride solutions.

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