How do I clean a urinary catheter?

Urinary catheters are devices that help patients with kidney, prostate, or general urinary control problems evacuate their urine without the hassle of involuntary spills.

They are known as catheters or Foley catheters and are made from a tube of flexible material that is inserted into the bladder to drain into a rigid plastic bag that acts as a collector. This drainage bag needs to be serviced from time to time to allow room for new fluids and to be free from germs that can cause infections.

Here we explain how to keep the catheter clean and ready for use to ensure patient health:

Always wash your hands well with soap and water to remove all germs before coming into contact with the catheter. If you want, you can wear surgical gloves to protect yourself in the event of spillage or contact with the patient’s urine.

You need to disconnect the drainage bag from the connecting tube. Pull carefully so that there is no risk of breakage. Make sure you have closed the valve on the bag to prevent spillage.

All of these operations should be carried out in a toilet with sufficient space and no obstacles. When you’ve clamped the hose, go to the bathroom. Position the bag so that its contents fall on it. Open the valve on the bag and flush the contents directly down the toilet so that it never comes into contact with the bag.

Once all of the urine has been drained from the bag. Close the valve on the bag again. Before reconnecting, wipe the outer end of the valve and connecting tube with an alcohol soaked towel.

Take off your gloves and throw them away. Wash your hands well with soap and water.

What will you need

Steps to follow

The bag should be cleaned every three days. You will need a spare part for this, as this can take several minutes.

First, wash your hands again with soap and water and put on surgical gloves if necessary.

Dissolve a little soap in water to make a soapy solution. Have it ready in a container.

Likewise, mix one cup of vinegar with two of water. Have it ready in another container as well.

Close the valve on the bag and disconnect it from the tubing as you did when you emptied the bag. Empty the contents of the bag into the toilet and close the drain valve. So far we have just repeated the shell operation with no change.

Pour the soapy solution into the bag. Do not fill completely. The idea is that you can flush the entire inside of the bag by moving the water around including the corners in it.

After a few minutes, open the drain valve and flush the soapy water down the toilet.

Fill the catheter bag with the water-vinegar mixture. Shake gently for a minute. Let the bag with this solution sit for half an hour. You may be able to move around to make sure the entire inside of the bag is in contact with the solution.

After 30 minutes, empty the bag and rinse it with plenty of cold water.

Finally, line up the bag and let it dry.

When it is dry, you can reconnect it to the drainage tube and use it again with the catheter. Remember that this process must be done every 3 days.

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