Storage and disposal of continence products
We get lots of question about the best ways to store and dispose of catheters and other continence products. We recommend following the manufacturers advice when it is provided (generally it is on the box or packaging) but have provided some tips and tricks below.
- If possible, leave your catheters in the box they arrive in as long as possible – only remove small amounts of catheters as needed.
- Keep catheter boxes closed and in a cool, dry, dark place such as a cupboard.
- Catheters are supplied individually in sterile packaging. Check the packaging before use and if you have any concerns please contact us.
- Try and reduce the exposure of your continence supplies to direct sunlight.
- Each product has a use by date listed, products should be used or discarded before this date.
- There are lots of options for storing your day’s supply – try a pencil case or makeup bag. Some catheters can be rolled into a small zip lock bag with the appropriate lubricant ready for easy access – we would suggest you avoid folding catheters where possible.
- It is best to store catheters at room temperature. Most catheters will not be damaged if stored at extreme temperatures (below 0°c and above 60°c) for up to 24 hours. Catheters stored in a suitcase in the hold of an airplane should be fine but remember that catheters stored in cooler temperatures will be stiffer than normal and those stored in warmer temperatures will have more flex than normal. You may need to warm or cool them to body temperature before use.
- It is best to use catheters when they are at about room temperature when possible.
- Male external catheters and some other products contain adhesive. It is recommended these are stored in a cool location away from heat sources, which could reduce the effectiveness of the glue.
- Some products will be labelled as single use and some as reusable. Please check the manufacturers advice. Reusing single use products – even when you rinse, sterilise and store them as well as possible can risk exposure to infection.
- Our Paralogic branded catheters are made of PVC. While PVC is technically recyclable, the recycling stations at local councils can’t sort items of this size and shape. Unfortunately, we are stuck throwing them in the bin for now.
- Most supermarkets sell small scented plastic bags in the nappy aisle which can be useful to carry and discard used products.
Pads and absorbent products
- These can be bulky and are sometimes compressed in packaging to make them smaller for transportation. Once the packaging is open, products may be difficult to get back into the firm fitting packaging.
- If you are short on room you can always try compressing items using a vacuum packaging bag to suck or squeeze the air out.
- Absorbent products should be stored in a dry place or they may absorb moisture from the environment which may reduce their effectiveness.
- It is recommended that you store products in their original packaging until you are ready to use them.
- Disposable products are not designed to be reused.
- Most products are packaged in individual wrapping which can be used to contain and dispose of the product
- You can purchase packages of “nappy disposal bags” from most supermarkets. These are small (oftentimes scented) bags which are used for containing products and limiting odours until you can find a bin.