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For patients on intermittent catheterization with chronic bacteriuria and/or chronic bladder stones, irrigating the bladder with a dilute vinegar solution can be beneficial.

The recommended concentration is 0.25% acetic acid. Most grocery stores carry white vinegar as a 5% solution. Therefore, to make appropriate bladder irrigations, it needs to be diluted at a ratio of roughly 20:1.

To achieve this, see the chart below to determine what amount of 5% white vinegar solution you should mix with your normal bladder irrigation (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 ounces

1 gallon irrigation

It might be helpful to remember:

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

Irrigate the bladder with this solution using the volumes and techniques you’ve discussed with your health care provider. In certain circumstances, your provider might instruct you to leave some irrigation in the bladder for a period of time to dissolve debris/mucous.

Discontinue irrigation if it causes pain or discomfort.

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.