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Irrigation is a procedure used to wash out your bladder. The bladder will be irrigated (flushed) with saline (salt water) to keep the urine draining freely through the catheter and to keep the catheter from getting plugged. As you are healing, it may be necessary to irrigate the bladder five times a day, but eventually will be needed to be done only once a day.



  • A 60 cc catheter-tipped syringe
  • Plastic container for liquid
  • Saline
  • Basin for collecting urine
  • Catheter plug or plastic clamp


  1. Wash your hands 
  2. Pour saline into the container
  3. Put about 50 to 60 cc of saline into the syringe. (Note: The amount of saline needed will be different for each person.)
  4. Attach the syringe to the catheter and gently push the saline into the bladder. Do not force fluid into the bladder.
  5. Remove the saline by pulling back on the syringe. Do not pull back forcefully. Do not attempt to pull back more than you pushed in.
  6. If the saline contains a lot of mucous, continue to irrigate the bladder until most of the mucous has been removed.
  7. Let the saline drain out into the basin or toilet. You may remove it with the syringe.
  8. Wash your hands and supplies. Your nurse will make sure that you are comfortable irrigating your bladder before you’re discharged. You’ll be given instructions and a schedule for doing the irrigations.

Normal Saline Recipe

All patients who’ve had bladder surgery should irrigate their bladders at least once daily for the rest of their lives. Here are two recipes for normal saline used for irrigation.

Option One: Mix 1 gallon distilled water with 8 teaspoons of table salt. Shake until the salt is dissolved.

Option Two: Boil 2 quarts of tap water for 10 minutes. Add 4 teaspoons of table salt to the boiled water. After the saline cools, pour it into a plastic bottle (preferably the one you got from the hospital).

This information is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care providers. If you have any questions, talk with your doctor or others on your health care team. If you are a Gillette patient with urgent questions or concerns, please contact Telehealth Nursing at 651-229-3890.