Catheters are a common solution to everyday continence problems, and many people use them at home. Catheters allow urine to flow from the bladder through the urinary tract with ease, and are inserted into the urethra to allow for drainage. When improperly inserted, users may risk urinary tract infections, so hygiene is always essential.

Cleaning Your Catheter

Catheter users should clean their catheter after every use, even if it is a single-use catheter. Before cleaning, there are several supplies needed for the cleaning process. You will need:

  • A sink
  • A container
  • Boiled water
  • Disposable gloves
  • Gentle soap or isopropyl alcohol
  • Towels

Steps to Cleaning a Catheter

The cleaning process always begins with your hands. Before you clean your catheter, wash your hands with warm water and soap, and be sure to rinse them thoroughly. If possible, put on your gloves as soon as your hands are dry.


Before washing, place a few drops of soap into a clean container, and mix with the boiled water. You may also want to prepare a towel for drying the catheter. To wash the catheter, begin by rinsing it with warm tap water for about thirty seconds. Then, wash the catheter in the container. You may need to use a syringe to get soapy water through the tube.


Rinse the catheter inside and out, then place it on or in between some clean towels to dry. Once the catheter has dried completely, you can store it in a disposable plastic bag for later use or disposal. Always wash the items you used during the cleaning process as soon as possible.


When disposing of a catheter, it is best to rinse them thoroughly. For disposal, place the rinsed catheter in a plastic bag (or two) and seal the bag tightly. From there, you can either throw your catheter in the garbage, or take it to a pharmacy, doctors’ office, or medical supply disposal location. Catheters can be thrown away in any garbage can, although regulations on catheter disposal may vary depending on where you live. Catheters are not recyclable.


Always follow the disposal instructions provided with your catheter. Some devices may only be single-use and must be thrown away after immediately after using them. Most catheters, however, can last up to three months before disposal. For multi-use catheters, it is best to toss the catheter when the tube becomes rough or sticky, even if you have not reached your catheter’s expiration date.


To browse catheters and other incontinence products, visit Medical Supply Depot.

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