Increasing the wearing time of vinyl urinary drainage bags by decontamination with bleach

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 1993 Apr;74(4):431-7.


The purpose of this study was to determine the safety of 4 week re-use of vinyl urinary leg and bed bags in the acute rehabilitation setting when decontaminated daily with a dilute bleach (sodium hypochlorite) rinse. Patients requiring urinary bags (n = 54) were randomly assigned to Control (C) and Experimental (E) groups. C's bags were replaced weekly; E's only after four weeks. Both groups received identical daily bag decontamination and weekly urine and bag cultures. No significant differences were found between groups with ANCOVA, controlling for baseline urine cultures, age, number of days catheterized, and use of antibiotics. Thirty different organisms were cultured in urine and bags; when the procedure was done daily, all bag cultures showed only minimal contamination (0-100CFU/mL). Bacterial growth (4.4% of leg bags) > 100CFU/mL was found only when the daily decontamination procedure had been omitted. In fact, 57% of leg bags and 76.5% of bed bags returned with no growth. We conclude that it is safe and cost effective to reuse vinyl urinary leg and bed bags for four weeks.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cost Control
  • Disinfection / methods*
  • Humans
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Polyvinyls
  • Sampling Studies
  • Sodium Hypochlorite
  • Urinary Bladder, Neurogenic / rehabilitation*
  • Urinary Catheterization / economics
  • Urinary Catheterization / instrumentation*
  • Urine / microbiology


  • Polyvinyls
  • Sodium Hypochlorite