Nine preparations of six antiseptic substances were applied to the perineum of pregnant women at term in order to assess their efficacy in sterilizing the skin. The efficacy, in descending order of effectiveness, after three minutes' exposure, was p-chlor-m-xylenol in alcohol (surgical Dettol); chlorhexidine gluconate in detergent (Hibiscrub), followed by the aqueous preparations p-chlor-m-xylenol (Dettol), chlorhexidine gluconate (Hibitane), cetrimide (Cetavlon), povidoneiodine (Disadine), benzalkonium chloride (Resiguard), and merthiolate. Surgical Dettol was the only alcohol-based preparation used.
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