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Foley Catheter Irrigation Instructions - How to

Updated on June 22, 2014

This is how to irrigate a catheter

A Foley catheter is a flexible tube that is inserted through the urethra to drain the urine from the bladder. Catheter irrigation is performed by a healthcare professional or a trained caregiver, and sometimes by the patient for different reasons, such as to clear clots from the catheter tubing or to flush blood from the bladder following a medical procedure. A catheter irrigation tray that includes a solution container and a catheter tip syringe is needed to perform this procedure. The catheter tip syringe may have a bulb or a plunger on one end. Doing so increases the opportunity to introduce bacteria into the bladder thus increasing the risk for urinary tact infection, so it should only be performed after receiving a physician's order. Physician's orders should be precise as to frequency and solution to be used.

Difficulty: Moderately Easy


Equipment needed:



Pair of gloves, sterile if available

Catheter irrigation kit with catheter tip syringe

Sterile normal saline or solution ordered by physicain

Towel or drape

Alcohol swabs

Catheter plug

Catheter tip syringe

You will need to get these items from your healthcare provider or home health provider.

Step 1

Wash your hands with soap and tap water, then dry well. Put on the gloves.

Step 2

Open the catheter irrigation kit. Fill the enclosed catheter tip syringe with the ordered amount of sterile normal saline or the irrigation solution preferred by the physician, and place it back in the kit.

Step 3

Place a towel or drape beneath the connection of the Foley catheter tubing and the drainage bag tubing.

Step 4

Clean the site where the catheter tubing and drainage bag tubing connect with an alcohol swab. Allow to air dry.

Step 5

Grasp the Foley catheter tubing with one hand where it meets the drainage bag tubing. Grasp the drainage bag tubing in the other hand. Gently pull the two tubes apart.

Step 6

Place a catheter plug in the opened end of the drainage bag tubing, and set aside.

Step 7

Insert an empty catheter tip syringe into the end of the Foley catheter tubing and pull back on the plunger, or squeeze and release the bulb, to see if any urine is in the bladder. Drain the urine, then remove the syringe.

Step 8

Insert the catheter tip of the syringe filled with irrigation solution into the open end of the Foley catheter tubing. Slowly and gently squeeze the fluid into the catheter.

Step 9

Pull back on the plunger, or let go of the bulb, so the fluid re-enters the catheter tip syringe.

Step 10

Cleanse the connection site of the syringe and catheter tubing with a second alcohol swab. Allow to air dry.

Step 11

Remove the catheter plug from the drainage bag, and cleanse the open tip of the tubing with a third alcohol swab. Allow to air dry.

Step 12

Pinch the catheter tubing about an inch from the end of the Foley catheter, and carefully pull to remove the catheter tip syringe.

Step 13

Reconnect the Foley catheter tubing and the drainage bag tubing.

Step 14

Wash your hands with tap water and soap.

Nursing Students

If you are reading this because of a clinical program such as Nursing please leave me a comment below. Thanks and good luck.


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© 2011 Cynthia

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    • xanzacow profile image

      Cynthia 2 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

      Thank you so much. I am glad I could be of assistance. :)

    • profile image

      onetufftiger 3 years ago

      Home health nurse- used this information to instruct caregiver on procedure. Wonderful teaching implement.

    • profile image

      RNINTRAINING 3 years ago


    • xanzacow profile image

      Cynthia 5 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

      Glad I could be of assistance and best of luck with your studies!

    • profile image

      nursing student 5 years ago

      My instructor said this is right on. Thanks for helping me get through my check off!

    • xanzacow profile image

      Cynthia 6 years ago from North Myrtle Beach, SC

      Thank you Kittythedreamer, Unfortunately, these instructions are needed from time to time. best regards, Cindi

    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      wonderful instructions. thank you...i may have to come back and read this in the future during my studies! :)