How To Perform a Surgical Hand Scrub

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Learn how to perform a proper surgical hand scrub before performing any surgical procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Surgical scrub sink
  • Finger nail cleaner
  • Surgical scrub sponge or brush
  • Surgical antiseptic soap
  • Perform a basic hand wash using surgical soap and water. Use nail cleaner to clean under every nail and cuticle. Rinse hands.

  • Open sterile surgical scrub sponge/brush and apply 1 oz. of surgical soap. Pass brush and hands under running water, squeezing the sponge/brush to produce soap suds.

  • Hold the sponge/brush in the right hand and begin scrubbing the fingers of the left hand. Scrub all sides of each finger, including the spaces between the fingers using a linear stroking motion. Continue up the left hand with the same motion without returning to the fingers.

  • Transfer the sponge/brush to the left hand and repeat the same action on the right hand.

  • With the sponge/brush remaining in the left hand, continue using the same short strokes up the wrist and lower forearm of the right hand. Scrub all sides of the arm. Hands should be held higher than the elbow to allow dirty soap and water to drain from the elbow.

  • Transfer the sponge/brush to the right hand and repeat the above on the left hand. When complete continue up the arm with the same motions, stopping 1 inch above the elbow.

  • Transfer the sponge/brush to the left hand and repeat above motion on the right arm.

  • Discard the sponge/brush. With hands remaining elevated above the elbows pass the left hand under the running water, starting with the fingertips and ending at the elbow allowing all water to drain from the elbow. Repeat rinse on the right arm.

Tips & Warnings

  • Pass hands and arms slowly under the running water to allow all the soap to be removed.
  • If further rinsing is needed to remove soap, repeat the entire rinse process again, starting at the fingertips. Do not rinse beginning at the elbow.
  • Take care not to touch anything unsterile after surgical scrub is complete.
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