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Thread: KLD RE: Cleaning catheters for reuse?

  1. #1

    KLD RE: Cleaning catheters for reuse?

    I copied this from another thread titled "help on catheter info for men"

    Our center has the following recommendations:

    Soft, non-latex catheter (Rochester Personal Cath) for those with good hand function, size #14 fr. For those with limited hand function, we allow the stiffer plastic catheters by Conveen or Mentor, still #14 fr.

    Men should lubricate the first 6-8 inches of the catheter with water-soluble lubricant (be sure to use a separate tube from the one you use for bowel care!!!). Lubricant is optional for females.

    4 new catheters per month are provided.

    For cleaning:
    1. Wash with plain soap and water when washing hands after cath (avoid scented, deoderant or antiseptic soap).

    2. Shake dry and lay on clean dry towel, fan folding over each catheter after cleaning through the day.

    3. Do not use any chemicals to clean catheters. Never store wet catheters in an air-tight container.

    4. Put this "set" of catheters aside for a full 24-48 hour of air drying.

    5. Once fully dry, the catheters can be put in a paper (not plastic) new lunch bag for carrying in the community in your wheelchair backpack. Stick in some lubricant and handi-wipes and you are set to go (carry a leg bag or urinal for draining when you cannot get to a toilet or sink).

    6. Replace catheters when stiff or cloudy.

    The above recommendation sounds like it's for cleaning and storing catheters. But what about cleaning for daily reuse. Would it be a good idea to use one catheter and clean it after (and maybe before) each use? Then throw that one away after a week and start with a new one?

    I just had my catheter remove today after having surgery from a stricture, and I'm back to intermittent cathing. My local medical supplier can't get the Rochester Personal Catheters, so I got a box of Mentor stright tiped catheters because I needed something. I was previously using the coude tipped ones by Mentor, and boiling to steralize them. Boiling makes them curl up, and that makes them hard to use.

    Learn from the mistakes of others, you won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

  2. #2
    Senior Member jb's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    i was told to clean them w/rubbing alcohol and peroxide besides boiling them

  3. #3
    Senior Member ~Patrick~'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    I wash mine in soapy water(dish detergent) then rinse and pour hot, not boiling but hotter than tap, in and wait until I can reach in with out getting burned. Shake dry and wrap in towels. I wait for about 25-30 catheters. I also only use them once.

  4. #4
    We recommend not using any chemicals. Even if you rinse, a residue is left behind, and can cause urethritis (inflammation and infection of the urethra).

    The full 24-48 hours of drying has been found to be critical in this process. After washing, set the catheter aside to dry for at least this long. I recommend having 2-3 "sets" of catheters, each made up of the same number of catheters as number of caths you do daily. For most people this means a total of 18-24 catheters.

    Clean each catheter after use, then wrap in a dry towel (I teach fan-folding a clean bath towel for an entire day's set). Once the set is complete, set this set aside and allow to dry at least another 24 hours.

    Get out the set you cleaned yesterday (or the day before if you are using 3 sets) and put these into a brown paper lunch bag until you need to use them. You can take this bag with you when you leave home as needed. While away from home, put used catheters into a zip-lock baggie until you get home and can wash and dry them as above.

    Catheters should be replaced when they get stiff (silacon or latex) or cloudy (plastic). Many people use one catheter for a number for weeks this way with no problem.

    You can purchase the softer Rochester catheters on-line depending upon your insurance funding. The good companies provide delivery within 48-72 hours.


  5. #5
    Senior Member Kaprikorn1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    S.F. Bay Area, Calif.

    I'm 18 months post and use 16" #14 red rubber cath's. I buy about 50 at a time and start a "cycle". When I finish cathing I just put them in our spare bathroom sink until I go through about 15 or 20. Then I soak them for about 10 min's in hot water and antibacterial dish soap (no dyes or perfumes). This loosens up any surgilube left behind. Then I slosh them around in the sudsy water (once it's cooled down enough to put my hands in!!!). Then drain out the soapy water, fill sink with hot clean water and slosh again. Once drained then you have to rinse each out separatly with warm running water running it into the funnel end until the water runs clear. Place on clean towel after shaking out excess water inside, and let them air dry until you're ready for them again. While these are drying I start another "cycle" of about the same # of caths and do the same thing when they're used up. Then you're ready to go back to the "first cycle batch" and so on. As caths cost about $1.50 each they ain't cheap, but this allows me to use each "batch" 10-15 times before they start to get stiff or rough. After they are completely dry, several days of air drying, you can store them in a towell, paper bag, etc. I always carry 4-5 "sets" in a ziplock when I go out and keep an extra "kit" in my truck. Each kit is caths, lube, gloves, and wipes. This was the suggestion of my OT and I've been using it for almost and only ended up with 1 UTI in that time. That time I got the UTI I broke protocol cuz I was out with others and forgot to refill my kit and had to cath with no glove. Even tho I used good a/b soap and hot water I still picked up the UTI.
    Hope this helps. I hate "washing tubes" so this way I only have to do it once a week or so.


  6. #6
    people are so meticulous with their catheter routine. i know i could do better, but i dont wash and store as just described. i cath through stoma in abdomen and use a clear plastc catheter. if there were better, softer catheters besides the red rubber, i'd like to try. (will look into the rochester). I do just use 1 catheter until i replace it.. every couple weeks to weekly. maybe more or less often depending on what i feel is necessary. i just wash the catheter out with a bit of regular hand soap- antibacterial, then leave in the plastic container which i urinate into, which is washed with the catheter. I don't wipe dry with towel or anything..and catheter is usually not dry by the time i need to use again. have also just left catheter in the sudsey water til i use again. i guess i've really left behind the sterile or even clean technique pushed by nurses. i have even not completely washed hands as well as I should, esp given the constant touching of wheels to adjust chair/self. I don't think i've had too many problems with UTI's. also, i probably don't get too excited and worried at possiblity of having a uti. not that big a deal. I know i should be more conscientious of technique..but time and convience as well as just not having choice at times, makes it difficult. the comments here does make me think more about the storing of catheters, including the 'cycling' idea.

  7. #7
    Originally posted by jb:

    i was told to clean them w/rubbing alcohol and peroxide besides boiling them
    Can you say what type you boil? Red Rubber? tia fw

  8. #8
    Originally posted by Pat(wheelinarcher):

    I wash mine in soapy water(dish detergent) then rinse and pour hot, not boiling but hotter than tap, in and wait until I can reach in with out getting burned. Shake dry and wrap in towels. I wait for about 25-30 catheters. I also only use them once.
    I don't quite understand - If you use each one only once, why save them? tia fw

  9. #9

    Cleaning Catheters

    I see by all the replies here that using chemicals isn't recommended and that discarding catheters after a bit is good practice. By washing my catheters with soap and hot water I've been able to keep the same set for a month. However I'm wondering if using a natural substance like vinegar (with some hot water) would be good for the occasional cleaning / disinfecting? Or is soap, water and discard really the best option... catheters rarely seem to dry completely in 24 or even 48 hours. I leave them spread out on a towel in my room (does fan folding the towel really help dry them or just protect them from dust?) Is putting them on a lightly heated surface acceptable? Thanks

  10. #10
    Senior Member brian's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    I run mine through the dishwasher. I bought a screen at my local hardware store, laid that across the top rack, and hang the catheters in the holes of the screen.

    This makes it super easy to clean hundreds at a time. I add a little soap and a little bleach and set the machine to heavy load and sanitize dry. 'heavy load' means, according to my manual, that the washer will fill, wash/rinse, and drain seven times so i dont' have to worry about chemical residue. And the 'sanitize dry' shoots super hot steam into the washing chamber for 10-15 minutes, which I take as a kind of poor-man's sterilization.

    The key to this is that my washer has water jets on the TOP and BOTTOM of the washing chamber so I know that they're being cleaned inside and out.

    I've been doing this for over 5 years and have had no infections (I'm not very infection-prone in the first place, though)
    Last edited by brian; 11-23-2010 at 11:29 PM.

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