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Foley Catheter Home Care

How to Care for a Foley Catheter

A Foley catheter is a soft tube that remains in the bladder to constantly drain urine.

The Foley catheter is connected to a drainage system, or urine bag.

Keeping a Foley Catheter Clean

It is very important to take good care of the Foley catheter, tubing and drainage bag.

  • Keep the catheter, the tubing and the drainage bag clean.
  • Do not let the bag drag on the floor.

Cleaning the Catheter

  • Clean the catheter and the skin where it enters the body twice a day, in the morning and in the evening.
  • Wash your hands first.
  • Use a warm, wet, soapy wash cloth and clean the catheter and the skin around it.
  • Take care not to pull on the catheter.
  • Hold the catheter in one hand and clean with the other hand to help prevent pulling on the catheter.
  • If there is any dried drainage that does not come off with soap and water, you can use hydrogen peroxide on a cotton ball or gauze pad.  Wipe gently on the catheter.  Avoid getting the hydrogen peroxide on the skin.
  • Rinse the catheter and skin with plain water and pat dry with a clean towel.

Bathing Your Child

  • Give your child a sponge bath.
  • Tub baths, showers and swimming are not allowed due to risk of infection.

Damage to the Catheter or Bag

  • Check the catheter and the bag for any cuts or tears.
  • If there are any leaks or there is damage to the catheter or the bag, you will need to change the catheter or the bag.
  • An opening anywhere in the catheter or the bag will allow bacteria (germs) to enter. If these would reach your child’s bladder, a urinary tract infection could result.
  • Do not put the drainage bag in a plastic bag if it leaks. You should change the bag immediately.

Taking Care of the Drainage Bag

  • There are two types of bags, a leg bag and a larger drainage bag, both connect to the catheter.
  • The leg bag is smaller and strapped to the leg, allowing more freedom of movement.
  • If the leg bag is worn, empty it at least every two to three hours, or when it becomes 2/3 full.
  • If the larger urine drainage bag is used, empty it at least every eight hours, even if it is not full.

How to Empty the Bag

  • Protect the end of the drain spout.
  • Avoid touching the end of the spout to the container that is being used.
  • Also, do not touch the spout with your hands.
  • This helps prevent germs from getting into the bag, which in turn could lead to an infection.

How to Change the Drainage Bag

  • Wash your hands.
  • Clean the area around where the tubing connects to the catheter with alcohol or Betadine.
  • Fold the catheter over on itself to prevent urine leakage from the catheter when you disconnect the bag from the catheter.
  • Pull the bag tubing out from the catheter.
  • Take care to not touch the end of the new tubing.
  • Connect the new bag tubing to the catheter.
  • Cover the end of the removed tubing with sterile gauze or a cap to keep it clean or discard if the bag is damaged.

Call Your Child's Doctor If:

  • The urine changes color, smells foul, becomes bloody, or the amount of urine output decreases or the flow of urine stops
  • There is urine leakage around the catheter or tubing
  • Your child has pain in the back, sides or belly; fever or vomiting
  • You don’t have the supplies to care for the Foley catheter or drainage bag


  • Keep the drainage system below the level of the bladder so the urine does not back up into the bladder.
  • Keep the tubing below the bladder and above the drainage bag.
  • Be sure there are no kinks or bends in the tubing. Urine will not drain if this happens.
  • Secure the catheter in place on your child’s leg.
    • Make sure there is enough slack so that the catheter does not get pulled with movement.
    • A catheter securement product works well (for example, Flexi-Track or universal tubing securement device). Secure the catheter at the bifurcation or Y.
  • Change the drainage bag if it becomes dirty, foul smelling or damaged.
  • Remember to drink lots of fluids as this can help to reduce the risk of getting a urinary tract infection. The urine should be light yellow and clear.

Last Updated 07/2020

Reviewed By Lena Riley, RNII

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