Advantages of ChloraPrep preoperative skin preparation include its broad spectrum, rapid-acting and persistent antimicrobial activity (48 hours) and effectiveness in the presence of blood and organic matter. These advantages are a result of the unique 2% CHG/70% IPA formulation of ChloraPrep preoperative skin preparation. Chlorhexidine gluconate, a cationic bisbiguanide, works by destroying the bacterial cell membrane and precipitating cell contents. Alcohol denatures cell proteins. As a result, ChloraPrep preoperative skin preparation provides better broad spectrum, immediate, cumulative and residual antibacterial activity compared to traditional iodophors.
In contrast, traditional iodophors can take two to three minutes until the free release of iodine can occur. While the iodophor dries, free iodine becomes available. The iodine then attacks the bacterial cell and the oxidation of two sulfhydryl groups, resulting in the formation of a disulfide bond. The effectiveness of iodophors is ≤ three hours. Lastly, iodophors are neutralized in the presence of blood and organic matter and have greater irritation than the CHG solution.4