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This study was designed to assess the ability of 2 skin cleaning procedures to remove transient microbial flora from the skin.The study is a direct comparison of 2 washing procedures: soap and water washing versus cleansing with a no-rinse cleanser.The trial was performed at the research facilities of the Department of Clinical Bacteriology at the University of Göteborg. Forty-five healthy adult volunteers were recruited to participate in the study.A solution of test bacteria, either Escherichia coli or Staphylococcus aureus, was applied to both forearms of the test subject. After a 15-minute incubation period, one arm was cleaned using soap and water and the other arm was cleaned with no-rinse cleanser. Both the arms were dried with a disposable cloth. The amount of residual bacteria on the skin was assessed using contact agar plates.Both methods of cleaning resulted in 4-to 5-fold log reductions in bacterial count. The number of residual bacteria after both procedures ranged from 1 to 4 colony-forming units/cm2 after washing. The amount of residual bacteria was comparable for both washing procedures.Both washing procedures resulted in a low level of residual bacteria on the skin. No-rinse cleansers can be safely used as an alternative to soap and water washing of fragile skin.