How Do You Empty and Clean a Bedside Commode?

Certified Senior Advisor®
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Empty and Clean Bedside Commode

For the elderly and individuals with mobility issues, a bedside commode is a practical solution for their bathroom use. And in this article, we will be your helpful guide on how to empty and clean a bedside commode.

Empty and Clean Bedside Commode
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Bedside commodes provide an essential advantage for elderly loved ones who may have difficulty using the bathroom like normal. But what is the proper way to empty and clean a bedside commode?

The following article will cover some of the main points on using, emptying, cleaning, and sanitizing your bedside commode.

What to Know About Bedside Commodes

A bedside commode is a functional toilet that is not connected to the running water or sewer systems. It resembles a chair with a toilet seat and a bucket beneath. Many options are available, but you can see my list of the best bedside commodes for elderly people here.

The bucket underneath is easily removed for regular emptying and cleaning.

The commode is placed in a convenient location near the bed. Bedside commodes can also feature wheels so caregivers can move them to where they are most needed.

If you have the type featuring wheels, it is a good idea to lock them down when the commode is in use.

Who Will Need a Bedside Commode?

Elderly or disabled people and those recovering from surgery will need a commode if they are restricted to bed rest.

A commode is helpful as it diminishes the distances and effort needed to walk to the bathroom. An elderly person with a risk of falling will be more comfortable using a commode to relieve themselves.

If you are providing care to someone who must use a commode, here is a simple guide to using, cleaning, and sanitizing the bowl after each use.

empty and clean bedside commode supplies
Make sure to gather first the necessary supplies that you will be using.

How to Help Someone Use a Bedside Commode

1. Begin by Gathering the Necessary Supplies

Here are some of the necessary supplies you will be needing:

  • Disposable gloves
  • Wet wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Soap
  • Container with warm water
  • Washcloth
  • Dry towel

For cleaning the commode, you will need the following items:

  • Disinfectant solution – in a convenient spray applicator. A 50/50 water and white vinegar solution works well
  • Toilet brush
  • Antibacterial spray

2. Help a Person Use the Commode

Once you have your items in order, follow these steps to help someone use the commode:

  • If present, lock the wheels underneath the commode.
  • Put some water in the commode bucket before use, making it easier to clean and empty.
  • Make sure the container is fastened securely in place.
  • Help the person out of bed and situated on the commode – use a gait belt if needed.
  • For safety reasons, stay with the person until they are finished – or give them a bell to call for help when they finish.

RELATED: Can You Poop In A Bedside Commode?

When the person on the commode has finished:

  • Put on disposable gloves.
  • Help the person to stand.
  • Using toilet paper, wet wipes or soap, and water helps the person to thoroughly – and GENTLY – clean their genital area. When completed, gently towel the area – apply cornstarch or baby powder if needed.
  • Help the person wash and dry their hands with warm water.
  • Help the person climb back in bed.

3. Emptying the Container and Cleaning the Commode

  • Remove the container.
  • Take the container to the bathroom and lift the toilet seat.
  • Empty the contents into the toilet.
  • Using the faucet in the tub or shower head fixture from the shower stall, rinse the container and throw the water into the toilet.
empty and clean bedside commode clean container
Wear your cleaning gloves and use the disinfectant spray to clean the container inside and out.

4. Clean the Container

  • The container for the commode is usually small enough to be washed in the shower stall or an outside washing area. Choose the most convenient option.
  • Place your cleaning gloves on.
  • Set the empty and rinsed container into the shower stall or washing area.
  • Allow the hot water to run for a full 5 minutes into the container and rinse one more time.
  • Use the vinegar disinfectant spray to cleanse the entire container inside and out.
  • Use the toilet brush to clean out the inside of the container.
  • Rinse one more time and place the container in the sunlight to fully dry before returning it to its place on the commode.

There are some advantages to having two containers so that the commode is ready for use.

Final Notes on Emptying and Cleaning the Bedside Commode

A bedside commode offers a practical solution for those with mobility issues.

Using and cleaning a commode is a very simplistic process and will soon operate like clockwork with very little thought.

Following the steps outlined here, you can build up a straightforward process to help your elderly loved one live a more comfortable life.

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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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