It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Bedpans, while undesirable, are a necessity for those who are on bed rest or can't make it to the bathroom on their own accord. Just as there are people using them, there are also people who are cleaning them. This job may not be for the faint-hearted, but cleaning out a bedpan isn't a difficult task.
For the easiest cleanup try using bedpan liners. Bedpan liners are made of heavy duty plastic, so there's no ripping and breaking. They also prevent caretakers from having to touch any unpleasantness. To use, open the liner as you would a plastic trash bag, and line the inside of the bedpan. Fold the ends over the side of the bedpan to secure. To remove waste, lift the ends of the liner, again as you would a trash bag, and either dump the contents into the toilet and throw the bag in the trash, or tie the bag off securely and throw it into an outside trash can or one designated for waste. Find bedpan liners in drugstores, surgical supply stores and online.
Preparing to Clean the Bedpan
Before you begin, don a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands. To clean unlined bedpans, first dump any waste into the toilet and flush away. You may also want to pour a little water inside the pan and swish it around to remove anything stuck to the sides. Many caretakers prefer cleaning bedpans in laundry sinks or mop sinks in order to avoid rinsing near food, utensils or counters where people put toiletries and brush their teeth. However, if you must clean a bedpan in a place people use often, the bathtub is your best bet. It's easier to clean out, and you're less likely to get any waste matter on toothbrushes or cups.
Once the waste is removed, wash the bedpan with a mixture of one part bleach to three parts water. Use a sponge or rag that won't be used for anything other than bedpans to scrub the bedpan inside and out until all traces of waste are removed. Rinse the bedpan several times to get rid of waste, bleach and any dirty water. It might be a good idea to wear a protective apron so the bleach doesn't splash and stain your clothes. To dry, wipe thoroughly with an old towel. Use a little more bleach to clean out the sink or tub where you cleaned the bedpan. After cleaning the bedpan, wash hands thoroughly with anti-bacterial soap. It's important to keep bedpans, gloves, towel, sponges or rags in a bucket in an area where they won't touch everyday items.