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What Is Vinegar Bladder Instillation?

Dilute vinegar bladder instillation may be beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder stones and/or catheter encrustation for patients on intermittent catheterization or with an indwelling catheter. Dilute vinegar can help prevent the growth of bacteria in the bladder. It also helps dissolve mucous and debris in the bladder, which may prevent bladder stones and reduce the formation of calcium encrustation on indwelling catheters. This treatment may be recommended by your urology provider.


How Vinegar Bladder Instillation Works

The recommended concentration is 0.25% acetic acid (White Vinegar). Most grocery stores carry white vinegar as a 5% solution. Therefore, to make an appropriate bladder solution for instillation, it needs to be diluted at a ratio of roughly 20:1. Only use white vinegar to make the solution. Do not use any other types of vinegar in your bladder. 

To achieve this, see the chart below to determine what amount of 5% white vinegar solution you should mix with your normal bladder irrigation (tap water, homemade saline or sterile sodium chloride from the pharmacy).


Amount of 5% White Vinegar Solution to Mix In:If Your Normal Bladder Irrigation Amount Is:
2.5 teaspoons (12.5 mL)250 mL irrigation
5 teaspoons (25 mL)500 mL irrigation
10 teaspoons (50 mL)1000 mL irrigation
About 6 ounces1 gallon irrigation


It might be helpful to remember:

  • One teaspoon = 5 mL
  • One tablespoon = 15 mL  

How To Maintain Your Vinegar Bladder Instillation

Empty and irrigate the bladder using the volumes and techniques you’ve discussed with your health care provider. Afterwards, instill 30mL of the dilute vinegar solution into the bladder. Let the solution stay in the bladder for whatever time frame is recommended by your provider. Usually this is overnight or until your next catheterization. If you have an indwelling catheter, you will need to clamp your catheter tubing so the vinegar solution will remain in your bladder for the prescribed amount of time.


Rehabilitation and Recovery

Discontinue vinegar instillation if it causes pain/discomfort or blood in your urine. Let your urology team know if this occurs. 


Your Care Team

As leaders in providing urological care, the urology specialists at Gillette are committed to using the latest technology and techniques for diagnosis and treatment. Our urologists collaborate with other Gillette experts to plan and provide custom treatment plans based on the needs of each individual patient.

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.