Do You Put Water in a Bedside Commode? (Yes, You Should!)

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

You should put water in a bedside commode bucket before the commode is used because it reduces the mess and makes clean up easier. Learn more about saving clean up time below.

Put Water in Bedside Commode
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It is difficult to imagine that anyone enjoys cleaning up a bedside commode or the odors that come with it. But this task doesn’t have to be unpleasant if you do it correctly. 

Does putting water in a bedside commode assist in the cleaning process? Yes!

Many experts suggest putting 2 to 3 inches of water in the pail of a bedside commode since this can help with both odor control and cleaning.

Once the water is in the detachable basin or pail, ensure it is placed back under the commode seat, so it is ready when the senior or elderly person needs to use it.

How Are Bedside Commodes Used?

A bedside commode is a portable toilet usually used by bedridden people or people with mobility issues. It makes it dangerous or difficult to try and make it to the closest bathroom on time.

It is also suited for people who need to have this device as close as possible to the person who needs to use it.

You can see my recommended bedside commodes for seniors and the elderly here.

Tips On How To Clean And Empty A Bedside Commode

We recommend that caregivers clean and empty the detachable bucket of a bedside commode after each use.

Since bacteria are often airborne, it is unsanitary and unhygienic to let feces or urine stand in the container. Odors can also escape from the container too.

When not using a disposable liner, here are the steps that should be taken:

1. Put on an apron and disposable gloves.

2. Either slide the detachable basin out or lift the seat to remove the container.

3. Use a lid over the container to prevent spreading bacteria or odors when disposing of the waste in a bathroom.

put water in bedside commode tips to clean
Make sure to put on disposable gloves and an apron before starting the cleaning process.

4. Avoid carrying the container with only the handle. The waste could spill everywhere if the handle comes off while moving the basin. Place one hand along the bottom of the container to stop this from happening.

5. The cleaner should slowly dispose of the waste in a toilet. The water in the container will help empty the contents more easily.

6. Rinse the container using water and pour it into a toilet.

7. Use a cleaning product to soak the container and wash it using a toilet brush to remove any debris that may still be stuck to the sides.

8. Rinse the basin or container thoroughly.

9. Use a disinfectant spray to sanitize the basin.

10. Rinse the basin or container again.

11. Put 2 to 3 inches of water in the container to be ready for its next use.

12. Make sure the container is returned to its holder.

Tips On How To Keep A Bedside Commode Clean

Like emptying the basin or pail of a bedside commode, it is vital to wear protective clothing such as an apron or disposable gloves to avoid spreading bacteria when cleaning a bedside commode bucket.

Odor Control For Bedside Commodes

If you haven’t tried disposable liners for a commode yet, and the bedside commode is close to where you are sleeping or even in a bedroom next to your elderly parent’s bed, there are a few ways to minimize the odors associated with feces and urine.

In addition to the unpleasant experience of the odors, exposing yourself and your loved ones to them is also unhealthy.

One of the best and easiest ways to deal with this is to fill the commode bucket with 2 to three inches of water (or one-third of the volume of the container).

This method helps to trap the odors and will make it an easier task to discard the contents in a toilet and clean the bucket or basin.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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