How to Clean the Urinary Catheter


A urinary catheter is a tubing inserted into the urethra to allow drainage of urine from the body into a medical bag. A catheter has the potential to cause infections if it is not cleaned properly. The urinary catheter should be cleaned after three drains. Cleaning the urinary catheter will involve disinfecting and sanitizing the bag and tubing. Urinary tract infections or kidney infections, along with other infections, could arise if the bag is not cleaned properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Toilet or bedpan
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Clean urinary drainage bag
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Sink
  • Hot water
  • Vinegar
  • Cold water

Wash your hands well with hot water and antibacterial soap. Do not touch anything until you have done this, as you could be carrying harmful bacteria on your hands.

Drain the bag. Hold the drainage tube over a toilet or bedpan and let it drain. Be careful not to touch the tube to the toilet or bedpan, as they are mostly likely covered in harmful bacteria. Do not touch the tip of the valve with the toilet or your hand. Before closing the valve, thoroughly clean the tip with an alcohol wipe to disinfect it.

Drain remaining urine be disconnecting the bag from the tubing. Reconnect a clean bag to the tubing.

Pour soapy, hot water into the old bag, making sure the soap reaches all corners of the bag. Open the drainage valve to drain the soapy water. Pour a solution of one part vinegar and three parts hot water into the bag and allow it to sit for at least 30 minutes. The vinegar will help to rid the bag of any leftover bacteria.

Open the drainage valve to drain the vinegar mix. Rinse the bag again with cold water. Hang the bag to allow it to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Always clean the bag after three times emptying it.
  • If the urine contains a reddish color or has a foul smell, call your doctor to test for infection.

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