Pouch Rinsing: Debunking Myths and Sharing Personal Experience


If you look at my bio, you'll see that I was an ostomy nurse since 2001 and I have been a permanently ileostomate for 12 years (medically retired). I have seen this topic come up time and time again. Sometimes people are quite passionate about it. Based on my experience, I have formed the following opinions.

1) Rinsing the pouch does not control odor.

2) Rinsing the pouch can loosen the wafer.

3) Most ostomates do not wish to look at their stoma or their anus.

4) It is inconvenient to rinse your pouch with an active lifestyle outside of the home.

As for myself, I regard the end of my pouch as my prosthetic anus (as I do not have one anymore). Since I never washed that far up from my natural anus, I see no reason to start now just because I can see 5" (approximately 12cm) past the anus. With regard to odor, I think ostomates have the advantage. If anybody else has to pass gas, they have very little control. We just have to slip off to the restroom, pop the cap, and leave all the dirty smells there.


I agree with you 100%.  I've had an ileostomy since 1964. 

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Hi ibelievein3,

Welcome aboard! Always nice to have a front line fighter in our lineup. Yup.......I'm with ya. I found water breaks down a Hollister ring faster than my output. It doesn't dissolve it, per se, but makes it more gooey or soft....which affects adhesion. When I first got my front-butt I couldn't look at it. It wasn't until I had to that I did. What an ugly looking thing, eh? Now I'm immune to it, so no problem looking at it. And I used to look at my shit regularly.....just to make sure I was chewing enough and that there were no signs of blood in it. I actually had a hard time switching from the clear bags to the opaque ones because I couldn't see what was going on in my bag. But the material Hollister switched to was just too loud and crinkly......so I went to the soft and quiet opaque bags. Now I don't need to look.......but at the beginning, it was something I felt I needed to do.

I can understand why folks would want to rinse their bags. It doesn't accomplish anything, but if it gives them peace of mind.....or satisfies a habit......to each their own. Now in regards to your ass.........I hear ya, but if your anus extended 5" beyond your ass........you might want to wash it out from time to time. Just a thought. Gotta love ostomates!!




I rinse but just the bottom half of the pouch. Rinsing helps to keep the inside of the pouch and the tail cleaner. I don't mind seeing my stoma or my output.



If one just empties a pouch without rinsing, fecal matter remains stuck in the pouch until you change it again in 3 - 5 days. I rinse mine out up to the bottom of the flange after each emptying without any loosening of the wafer. I had a great stoma nurse who told me not to put enough water in the pouch when rinsing that it would cover the stoma as it could cause backwash. But having a clean pouch always feels cleaner.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister

I rinse if I see thicker than normal output. Especially if some remains in the bag around the flange. It minimizes pancaking for me.

My wife just walked in and asked what I was doing. "Just talking S*! with some friends!"

Have a great day,


Past Member


I too rinse for the various reasons listed. I use an 8 or 10-ounce Coke bottle with water and tip up my one-piece Hollister, and I can rinse up to 3 times. My bag will usually last 6 or 7 days, and it does help, especially with the sticky pancaking. Everyone has their reasons, as Bob said.


I may be the exception, but I don't mind looking at my stoma, or my poop for that matter. I am still not over the amazement I get that I have a bowel that actually works and produces poop without the boatloads of laxative I used to have to take, and the extreme pain and discomfort I lived with. I have an ileostomy that functions really well, but I wear an appliance with a viewing window so I can keep an eye on my output to prevent it from accumulating around my stoma. I don't mind this at all and found it frustrating when wearing an appliance that did not allow viewing. I've never felt any great need to rinse, but I do use a baby wipe to clean the tail well after emptying.



I've been an RN for 40 years and worked with many, many ostomy patients. I now have my own colostomy, have always rinsed for my patients and mine also. I fill the pouch with warm water all the way past the stoma, slosh it around, and it cleans very well. I like to see my stoma so if there are any changes in it, I will be aware. Never have had any issues with loosening or softening the wafers. I love my pouch to be clean and deodorized. Sometimes I rinse it 2 or 3 times if the stool is thicker than usual. I say do whatever makes you comfortable with it.


I have been rinsing for over 4 years now and I'm glad I do! Anytime my bag fills up which is 8x per 24hr period, I rinse because I don't like the weight tugging down and I'm super slim so any added protrusion shows more.

I'm super active, Mtb, golf, tennis you name it I've done it or will be doing it! I'll admit if one is overzealous you can start to break down the wax rings so beware!


I've been a washer from day 1, about 10 years. I change mine every 6 to 7 days and have had only 1 leak, and that was in my very early days when I accidentally knocked the bag off in my sleep.

I find:
(1) Rinsing does "help with" odor
(2) Rinsing does not loosen the wafer
(3) I can't imagine changing my bag without looking at my stoma
(4) I keep water bottles with me

Hey Bob, what model of bag are you driving these days? What are these "soft and quiet opaque bags" you speak of? Ever since the Hollister "environmental" shakeup, I've had to resort to the #18113 which I can't stand. The crinkling (and bag material odor) just drives me crazy! Been on the phone with Hollister more times than I can count complaining but keep getting the standard reply, "Our R&D team is working on it." My 18113 bags have fabric covering front and back. I don't care if they are clear, opaque, or rainbow colored as long as they are quiet!


I have had an ileostomy for 65 years and have never rinsed out my pouch. That is the equivalent of a non-ostomate rinsing out their colon. Five minutes later, it will have more poop in it, and rinsing serves no useful purpose.



Your answer to your wife cracked me up!




I guess if rinsing serves a useful purpose or not depends on each person's reason for rinsing, don't you agree?

If the expectation is that your pouch is going to stay clean indefinitely, well that's not going to happen now is it? nbsp

You know that clean and fresh feeling you have when you first change your appliance? I like that feeling! Though it's short-lived, I try to maintain that feeling. That's the useful purpose for me!

E & I


Hi Graph,

I'm sportin' a 18124 bag, which is skin colored (caucasian) and a 11404 Cera Plus Convex barrier/wafer.   I think it's the same as your 18113 except it uses a clip to seal instead of the Lock N Roll.   For me they're quiet.   I tried the clear crinkle monsters when they first came out and OMG were they loud.   Someone on here said it sounded like having a candy bar wrapper in your pocket........and it was stupid loud.   So maybe the 18124/18113 is still too loud for you.......but much quieter than the new clear bags.   I just got some Sensura Mio bags from Coloplast and they're the same as what we're using now in terms of noise.   Have you tried a good bag cover to knock the noise down?    





I use Hollister 18182 fabric front and back pouch.

The pouch is quiet but with an ileostomy if my output is too watery nothing is going to stop the sloshing except to keep it as empty as possible, or sit your behind down somewhere and stay still. Lol

E & I


Thanks for your reply, Bob. I did a quick search on the Hollister site and yours looks quite a bit like mine (except mine use the Velcro). I'm a lock 'n load... I mean roll guy – don't like the clips. If you are referring to the "ultra clear" as crinkle monsters, I have to agree with you.

Still, my 18113's sound like I've got a case of candy wrappers in my shorts every time I move. Haven't tried a bag cover though. Maybe that would help some. I just wish they would return to their old industrial vinyl bags of yesteryear!


Thanks for your reply, Ebony! Yours looks like mine also, but with the added filter. I found with these that, since I'm a washer, I would actually get leaks through the filter. I taped up the filter until I used up my stash, then went back to the filterless. I didn't feel the filter worked for me anyway. nbsp

I know what you mean about the sloshing. I have actually put toilet paper in the bag to soak things up :-)

Maybe I'm too sensitive to the noise and keep comparing them to the old, heavier duty Hollister bags. Those were silent.


Crinkle bag is driving me crazy...if anyone has a solution I'd love to know the secret.  


I would love a solution as well, Justbreathe.

I have talked with Hollister many times since they changed their material formula "due to environmental concerns" and they keep telling me that the current bags are a "quick fix" for the problem. They also tell me they are continuing to try to develop a better replacement. If this is true, it's taking them an awful long time to come up with something better.

Past Member

I was started on Hollister pouches. I didn't know better until I got the Coloplast. It has a material on the side that contacts your body, no crinkling sounds, and comfy. The only thing I don't like is the interior ring, which I think is some kind of filter. Since I am new to this, I want to see how much I am bleeding, but the circular filter gets clogged and you can't see anything. I will be finding out if there are other options, but Coloplast for me is way more comfy than others.


Hi. I am using "colomajic" liners for several years. No rinsing - clean hands and they are flushable. Excellent company. They are the inventor. Hope it helps. Henry

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