Cleaning Stoma After Emptying: Safe with 2-Piece Illeostomy?


I have a 2-piece system with my ileostomy. Occasionally, after I empty my bag, I take off the bag and clean the stoma and around it to keep output clear. Is this bad to do? My ostomy nurse said it's not something that's recommended, but it's okay if I'm very careful when cleaning, etc. I just see output around my stoma in the space on the wafer where the plastic breaks down. I feel better doing this and I'm wondering if there might be an alternative or if others do the same?

ron in mich

Hi Jalrein, some people pour a little water in their pouch after emptying and swish it around to clean up. But me personally, I've never done it in 30 some years of having an ileo. Now, the opening at the bottom of the pouch, I make sure there is no output left before I close it up.

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Hi Jelrein, after I empty the bag, I wipe around the opening with a tissue and then pour about 1/2 cup of water in every time and close it up and swish it around. It keeps everything nice and clean. Then just open up and let the water out and reseal the bag, all done in about 3 minutes.


I also have a two-piece system, but I've never done what you describe and it has never been a problem.  Perhaps if you're having pancaking issues it might help, but otherwise I don't see it as necessary.


Can't see how it could harm your stoma. Think your ostomy nurse is probably more worried it could become an OCD problem in the future.

I always think there's no right or wrong way, just what's right for you. You feel better in yourself taking the bag off and cleaning the stoma. It makes you feel more comfortable and confident. That sounds like a good enough reason to carry on doing it to me.

Some use a small bottle or container to wash inside the bag out after emptying. I've never done that myself or your way, but I can't see anything wrong with either way if it makes you/them happy. That's all that matters in my book.

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Reply to IGGIE

Thanks for the answer. I'm gonna give your method a try. I just see my stoma as having mucus, output on it and I think I should keep it clear and clean, that's why I do it. I think this water method might be better than occasionally taking off my bag and cleaning around stoma...

Reply to jalrein

I used to take a water bottle in the public restrooms to flush the bag out; I didn't use it for drinking water so having it near the bag opening wasn't an issue. Seems like a lot of people pack around bottles of some sort nowadays so it was discreet when going into the bathroom, and the flat bottom made it easy to sit somewhere in the bathroom stall. Nobody was the wiser unless they heard me "splashing" in the toilet next to them:)

For home, I used an ostomy bottle cleaning kit that was handy. It really helped flush around the stoma and was inexpensive. I didn't do either of these every time, but I did like to have the ability to flush periodically for my perceived need to do so.

Audrey Warren

I have the same blue bottle and use it after swishing very warm water several times. My output is generally thick and I have to manipulate it to empty into a bag. Often I need warm water to help move it along. Because I have IBS, this can take up to an hour before finished.
Fortunately, this is routine in the morning. When finished, I'm good until the next morning.
My first anniversary was this past November and I'm beginning to relax a bit about not having a really clean bag.


I completely relate to this instinct! If I want to change out the bag, I usually take some gauze or Viva paper towel (cheap and soft!) and run it around the plastic ring, cleaning off a bit of the puffed-up barrier ring in the process. I don't worry about getting the whole thing clean, and I don't really touch the stoma. I just clear out what might get messy while the bag is off or as I put the new bag on. Then I use a wipe on the outer ring just to contain everything and click the new bag on. My stoma nurse reminds me that the stoma is made of tissue designed to be in contact with your output all the time, so it's no problem. She also suggested I not rinse the bag as it can compromise the wafer's adhesion to my skin, though I see a lot of people in the comments who manage this just fine if it would make you feel better.


What you are doing is not necessary. I would get an opaque bag and change the bag when you change your barrier. Follow the instructions of your ostomy nurse.


I used closed-end bags, so I always clean around the stoma and the connector whenever I change the bag.

If a bag change aligns with a shower, when I'm not changing the wafer also, I will shower with no bag on, and use that water pressure to clean all around the wafer really well.

Been doing that for 20+ years without issues.


Hey, I have a colostomy so I know we face different issues but I also use a two-piece system. After every time I change my bag (1-2 times a day), I always clean around my stoma. I use gauze, Q-tips, anything to make sure the skin is clean and won't get irritated. My stoma nurse recommends this. Either way, ileo or colo, a stoma is a stoma, so I would say you're probably fine :)


I have an ileostomy and also wear a two-piece system. My nurse says, "Yes, when you take the bag off, use a piece of paper towel to clean around the stoma and lip of the appliance with tap water. Never reuse a used bag. Have you looked into the bags that you could empty by squeezing out the output, clean the opening, and relock? I switched, and I find it much easier, safer, and cleaner. I could empty in any bathroom; all I need is Clorox wipes, toilet paper, and gloves. Good luck.

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Reply to darick

"If a bag change aligns with a shower, when I'm not changing the wafer also, I will shower with no bag on, and use that water pressure to clean all around the wafer."

Well, I have a drainable pouch, but otherwise...

Me, too!

Past Member

Hi, Jalrein!

Yeah, I do this, too, especially when my supply is running low and I'm awaiting a delivery of pouches.

No problems.

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