To evaluate the efficacy of daily cleansing of the urethral meatus-catheter junction in preventing bacteriuria during closed urinary drainage, randomized, controlled trials of two widely recommended regimens for meatal care were completed. In 32 (16.0 percent) of 200 patients given twice daily applications of a povidone-iodine solution and ointment bacteriuria was acquired, as compared with 24 (12.4 percent) of 194 patients not given this treatment. In 28 (12.2 percent) of 229 patients given once daily meatal cleansing with a nonantiseptic solution of green soap and water bacteriuria was acquired, as compared with 18 (8.1 percent) of 23 patients not given special meatal care. There was no evidence in either trial of a beneficial effect of meatal care. Moreover, each of four different statistical methods indicated that the rates of bacteriuria were higher in the treated groups than in the untreated groups. In subsets of female patients at high risk in both studies significantly higher rates of bacteriuria were noted in the treated groups than in the untreated groups. Current methods of meatal care appear to be hazardous, as well as expensive, and cannot be recommended as measures to control infection.