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Thread: Catheter Cleaning

  1. #1
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Florence, Kentucky

    Catheter Cleaning

    I noticed recently some articles claiming that using antiseptic soaps could create super bacteria and should not be used. I had been using these soaps to clean my hands and my catheter to prevent infections. Have you seen these articles and if so what are your thoughts?

  2. #2
    ive heard something awhile back about that. dunno how true it is though.....

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mike
    I noticed recently some articles claiming that using antiseptic soaps could create super bacteria and should not be used. I had been using these soaps to clean my hands and my catheter to prevent infections. Have you seen these articles and if so what are your thoughts?
    I've heard that too. But I've also heard that these antibacterial soaps and detergents don't really do much in regards to killing bacteria. For all we know they just rile the bacteria up, get it mad at us and we're the worse for it!

    I don't see how it can be true that it's creating super-strains. Soap and detergent in and of itself is naturally antibacterial. And we've been using bleach and other germ killing chemicals since bacteria was discovered. How a slightly stronger form of soap or detergent can all of a sudden create new super-strains will need to be more clearly explained to me.

    If I may. Even after using antibacterial soap or detergent (I use detergent because it rinses off better) you can still feel it on your hands. And how do we really know how long the bacteria needs to be in contact with the watered-down antibacterial agent in order to be effective? So that must mean if the bacteria wasn't killed then it's still on our hands. So I now keep a spray bottle of 70% isopropyl alcohol on my sink/vanity. After washing with antibacterial detergent I give my hands a good rinse with liberal amounts of the alcohol spray. Until you can feel and hear that your hands are squeaky clean. And if you're afraid that the alcohol may be too harsh on your "gentle parts" then do an added rinse with 1.5% to 3% hydrogen peroxide. It seems a bit complicated but it actually only takes an extra 10 or 15 seconds once ya get the drill down pat! And of course I give all the bottles on the vanity a quick but thorough spray of Lysol when I exit the bathroom!! But I hold my breath because I don't want to breathe in the Lysol chemicals because they might mix with my cigarette smoke and hey, that might cause cancer!

    Unless you've recently had your water tested don't trust that it will be bacteria-free. Take a sample to a lab and have it analyzed. Better safe than sorry.
    "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." - Philo of Alexandria

  4. #4
    Alcohol-based hand cleaners are actually MORE effective than soap and water in killing pathogens, and this is now the standard for use in hospitals. Here is the most recent CDC report on this (lengthy):

    Here is a brief summary:

    Here is a study done in the home setting that indicates that with up to a year use (the length of this study) that the use of antimicrobial soap was no better than regular soap in reducing the number of hand pathogens, but that there was also no indication that those using the antimicrobial soap developed any "super bug" or resistant strains of pathogens on their hands:


  5. #5
    Senior Member mike's Avatar
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    Jul 2001
    Florence, Kentucky
    SCI Nurse, since the findings suggest that antimicrobial soaps are not superior to regular soaps in maintaining sanitary conditions, is there a preference in what regular soaps should be used in catheter cleaning? My main concern would be as to whether one might be less of an irritant then another for this purpose.

  6. #6
    No, there is no advantage of using an antimicrobial soap vs. regular soap. At our center we recommend any non-perfumed, non-moisturizing soap (such as Ivory).


  7. #7
    Senior Member MikeC's Avatar
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    Dec 2003
    Tampa, FL
    SCI Nurse, does your center recommend Ivory dishwashing soap or another form? Thanks, Mike
    T12 Incomplete - Walking with Crutches, Injured in Oct 2003

  8. #8
    Senior Member cali's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    where everyone knows your name
    i saw this on the news recently, and they said they are talking about actually taking certain soaps off the market!

    the reason being, most anti-bacterial soaps have alcohol and bleach that don't necessarily kill germs, but simply remove them from your hands...or whatever you're washing. apparently, there's no problem with that.

    but....there are some soaps out there that contain this anti-microbial agent that is used by surgeons to create a sterile field on their hands. this agent stays with you for an extended period of time. for fear that if this agent is used more widely than in the OR, germs would have more of a chance to become more resistant to this agent. so those are the ones being debated over.
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  9. #9
    Senior Member nevada's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    north dakoa
    I have started to soak mine in a Bleach and water solution then rinsing with hot water. So far it seems to be working. No damage to the rubber of the catheter yet.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Jadis's Avatar
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    Jun 2005
    Salish Mtns, Montana
    We had the infectious control person from the hospital come and talk to us about all this stuff during clinicals.

    antibacterials are the ones causing the problems.

    when cleaning my caths, I just wash them with regular soap and water, dip them in alcohol, then wrap them in a paper towel and stand them on end. I allow them to dry completely before using/storage. I use those snack-size ziploc bags to transport my caths with me and keep everything I need to cath in a cloth/nylon pencil case.

    There is no antibacterial soap in this house because it's not effective at killing germs. It's just enough to get the bugs innoculated, but not kill them. If I need to make sure that my hands are cleaner than normal soap and water does, then I use the purell after washing and drying my hands.

    The hand sanitizer with the added moisturizer requires a 50-cent piece size amount of sanitizer and more aggressive rubbing in order to be effective. The regular hand sanitizer needs at least a nickle-sized amount and works in as little as 15 seconds.

    We did some petri dish tests with handwashing with a variety of products and also swabbing items - such as kitchen sinks, toilets, door handles, mice & keyboards, etc. quite interesting finds. The toilets at the college were cleaner than anything else--including kitchen sinks. The dirtiest was the mouse/keyboard. After this, our computer labs put in purell gell and wipe dispensers.
    Last edited by Jadis; 10-29-2005 at 04:06 PM.

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