Cost-Effective Ostomy Bag Cleaning Tips

Jun 21, 2024 4:32 pm

Hi everyone!

I read here that a few people rinse their two-piece bag after emptying. I tried it and it's great! I used to use wipes and tissue when I emptied my bag. I always wondered what I would do if I ran out, especially since I live on a budget now. Using toilet tissue used up more than I wanted to, and wipes are not cheap. I started rinsing and it's a breeze. I just empty, put my bag under the running water, and voila, my bag is clean and all I do is dry it with a cloth I have nearby. I don't even remove my bag, I just lean over the sink and put just enough water in to rinse. It has saved me money on wipes and my tissue lasts a lot longer. I clean my sink more, but it's worth it.

Update: There are people here who assume I empty my bag in the sink. I never said that. I empty the bag in the toilet and then rinse in the sink. One person said that and then the rest rode the wave. Please do not assume things, you guys. It's not nice.

Jun 21, 2024 5:44 pm

Hello Ostobychoice.
Thank you so much for posting this useful tip.

I just assumed everyone would be doing this but perhaps I should stop assuming things. It is good to have a fresh pair of eyes and new perceptions on these things  so that they can be shared regularly on here.
Best wishes


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Jun 21, 2024 5:59 pm
Reply to Bill

Thanks, Bill. The tip really helped me a lot. I forgot who it was that said it, so thank you again.

Mysterious Mose
Jun 21, 2024 6:09 pm

Well, I use a bottle of water while on the toilet to do my rinses. Of course, there is the need for toilet paper and the occasional wipe. I just cannot wrap my head around taking a dump in the same place I shave and brush my teeth. The very thought gives me the willies. Years ago, I read an essay by Alan Watts titled "Murder in the Kitchen." In it, he expressed wonder that people would have a bathroom in the kitchen. This may have caused him more than wonder. 😁


Jun 22, 2024 12:27 am
Reply to Mysterious Mose

G-Day MM, I read on here often how people do their ostomy work over the wash basin. Yuk. Get used to using the toilet and a container of water. Regards, IGGIE.

Getting Support in the Ostomy Community with LeeAnne Hayden | Hollister
Jun 22, 2024 4:13 am

Uhh... from what I have read, people shower appliance-free.

I can't get my head around that, although it must feel incredible doing it. Perhaps... one day... with something to catch my output.

So you're taking a dump if your stoma acts up in your tub. It runs down your leg, between your toes, then squirms away into the drain.

Such a vision.

Are we now emptying our bags into our sinks?

Did I misunderstand something here? No can or basin to catch it?

I use a small water pitcher—the ones from the hospital—as a catch basin. It holds a lot of volume and the handle is comfortable to dump into the toilet where poop should go.

Sorry... a bit concerned for sanitary reasons. Not judging. Nope, just stating the obvious.

So now I get my ass handed to me in 3, 2, 1.

Jun 22, 2024 6:49 am
Reply to warrior

Hello Warrior.

Thanks for your reply to this post, which has made me reconsider my perception of the original post.
It is technically accurate that it could be perceived as emptying the bag in the sink. However,  as someone who also rinses my sleeve/bag by filling it with the water from the sink tap, (then emptying in the loo) I assumed that was what was meant in Ostobychoice's post.
There you go! I was making assumptions again, which I must try to stop doing.

Best wishes


Jun 22, 2024 9:38 am
Reply to Bill

No worries, Bill. I am assuming the same thing. Dumping into the sink. I also fill the bag from that faucet and dump into the can, then dump the can into the toilet. By "can," I mean that water pitcher.

Much easier on the knees. 😉

Jun 22, 2024 3:51 pm
Reply to warrior

I used to shower pouch-free, but as soon as I get in and that stoma knows it's naked in water, it starts acting up. Sometimes I would make it through the whole shower, turn off the water, and bam! It's acting up and I have to get back in. I used to keep a plastic cup nearby, but it becomes a huge mess when they act up in the shower and for some reason want to keep spurting every few minutes for almost an hour. I now just shower with it on and change it when I get out. Every now and again, I will get in there with it off just to clean things up really well.

Jun 22, 2024 5:15 pm

I use a turkey baster while on the toilet. I tried using a bottle, but my aim wasn't too good. The baster works best for me.

Jun 22, 2024 7:55 pm

Hello, I wouldn't rinse in the sink because they have traps that hold liquid to stop odors. If you're putting stoma output/liquid feces in there, it's not very sanitary and could possibly lead to odors. I guess bleach could work. I use a squirt drinking bottle over my toilet. I don't even have to remove my pouch; I hold it upside down, squirt liquid in, let it drain, and repeat. It cleans the stoma too!

Jun 22, 2024 8:16 pm

I have been able to shower appliance-free (I wait until I am done showering... then it's stoma time!). I remove the barrier, rinse with water, grab the Ivory, and lather away (stoma too), then rinse. I have a window from 9-11 with no output unless I eat something that slows it down (almond slivers, popcorn, beans), and maybe once or twice it will squirt, but it is far out not to dribble down my body/legs. I use a hair dryer to dry the skin after toweling dry with its own towel and warm up the wafer on low heat, leaning forward to keep any more squirts in one place. I get the appliance on, clean up the shower floor with toilet paper as best I can, get my spray with bleach, and wipe down the shower. Yes, I have everything ready to go on the edge of the shower. I use Ivory soap to clean the stoma and the skin around it, use a long-wear 2-piece, and use a ring to seal it to the stoma, or use the Convatec that hugs the stoma and a stoma activity belt (looks like the weight lifters' belts) during the day and the company's skinny belt for sleep. I get about 1 week between changes. Heads up, anything you use on the skin under the barrier will affect wear time. I use nothing, just the barriers made to protect my skin.

Jun 23, 2024 12:16 am
Reply to warrior

You deserve your ass handed to you.

Not judging? I beg to differ.

We are ostomates and survivors; the last thing we need are smart-arse comments on how we choose to do that.

Jun 23, 2024 12:31 am

We have separate laundry troughs here in Australia. Most are stainless steel. Easy to clean.

All the drains are plumbed into the same system these days, so everything really goes down the toilet, just from a different pipe. Don't worry, the output is water soluble.

I have a plastic hose set up on my trough and a small wooden platform to stand on so my bag is at the right height, and I flush out every time.

When I'm out and about, I use a water bottle then empty it into a loo.

The Japanese have special smaller troughs with hoses, similar to a urinal, I believe. It's a shame our disability toilet planners don't consider us at all. Life could be so much easier.

All the best, Ian.

Jun 23, 2024 12:47 am
Reply to Mysterious Mose

I use the water bottle method too, over the toilet. No sink!

Jun 23, 2024 10:13 am
Reply to Twomadogs

Ian, what exactly do u mean by a smart ass comment (s). ??

That was not my intention. 

You are entitled to " differ" . It is your opinion.  Many of us have those.  This is a discussion site.

You want smart ass: ? Here ya go-

I hope u didnt fall off from  that soap box u got on talking to me like I'm a newbie. " we ostimates" .. really?  WE?  Who died and left you in charge of WE? 

You have 36 posts, compared to mine being over 1,500.

Where have you been?  You come on once in while and make a comment  and disappear.  ? Do u know  who you speak to when u leave a comment where u beg to differ. ?.  That's why we have profiles, which if u invested time to read a few, you'd become familar the reason certain replies are graphic, visual.   Get a clue, dude. 


Jun 23, 2024 12:19 pm

Beware. When you rinse out your pouch, you are reducing the wafer's adherence around your stoma. You could have peristomal issues. Avoid the stoma opening area when rinsing.

Mysterious Mose
Jun 23, 2024 3:11 pm
Reply to rlevineia

I respectfully disagree. People have said this here before. I do not find it to be at all true. I rinse my bag with 1-2 flushes of 150ml of water 5-7 times a day and I get 7-8 days between appliance changes. If adhesion is being affected by rinsing the bag, I would posit that maybe the bag is being tugged at when rinsing or the seal wasn't good in the first place. Also, I do not try to soak the stoma. The water is to rinse the bag and not to clean the stoma. Perhaps the bag is being filled to capacity with water and allowed to sit in the flange?

Jun 23, 2024 3:29 pm

I've had my ostomy pouch since February of this year. I do not have insurance, so everything is out of my pocket at full price. I read one post here about 2 months after surgery about rinsing the pouch out with warm water, so I thought, "What the heck, I'll try it," and it works great. No need for the deodorant, and I have gone 10 days without having to change the pouch; it felt like I could have gone longer.

Jun 23, 2024 6:37 pm

I got a bidet hose attachment from Amazon. It attaches to the water hose to your toilet, then hangs on a hanger on the side of the tank. I also use it as a regular bidet, dry with a towel I change every day. It doesn't really add much to the washing machine. My insurance pays for a certain amount of over-the-counter items, and I use that to get baby wipes and use them instead of tissue. No tissue cost at all. It has saved me a bundle over the last year.

Jun 23, 2024 8:20 pm

They sell squirt bottles with a long tube that goes up inside the bag, and you use it over the toilet. It works really well to clean the bag. I have a small one and a large one. I don't remember where I got it, but it was on one of the ostomy supply sites.

Jun 23, 2024 10:35 pm

I have used plastic bags inside the ostomy bag. It's great for changing a load. Just pull it out from your ostomy bag and flush it. No mess, and the ostomy bag lasts longer (Colomajic brand).


Jun 24, 2024 12:13 am
Reply to Bill

You assumed right, Bill. You're not the one who misunderstood.

Jun 24, 2024 7:05 am
Reply to Ostobychoice

Hello Ostobychoice.

Thank you so much for clarifying this point.
It is so reassuring to find out that not all of my assumptions have been wrong!

Best wishes


Winnie The Pooh
Jun 24, 2024 1:06 pm

For those of you a bit squeamish about showering without the bag - (a) the shower drain outlet will go through a U-bend just like the toilet - and end up in the same pipe, and (b) if your stoma does decide to be an asshole (ahem!) and deliver output, you can do what Reddit contributors term "the waffle stomp" to help it on its way!

I feel a lot cleaner after a bag-free shower. In my case, I use the one-time bags rather than the "disc and bag" system.

That Japanese arrangement with a showerhead and flexible pipe mentioned earlier seems like a good idea - I must look out for something like that.


Jun 24, 2024 2:36 pm

Hi Ostobychoice,

I keep a water bottle in the bathroom and use it to put water in my bag. No constant sink cleaning, no muss, no fuss!

Mysterious Mose
Jun 24, 2024 2:59 pm
Reply to Ostobychoice

Rinsing in the sink? I am sorry, but I am afraid I still find that a bit gross. However, each to his own. If you are not bothered by it, then so be it. Hopefully, it is not a shared bathroom. If I did that, my wife would hand me my head on a platter. :-)


Jun 24, 2024 3:22 pm
Reply to Mysterious Mose

Hello Mysterious Mose.
 I don't know if you have observed the update on the original post, but it does clarify that the lady rinses in the sink and pours the output down the loo.

I'll copy and paste her update here: 

"Update: There are people here that assume I empty my bag in the sink. I never said that. I empty the bag in the toilet and then rinse in the sink. One person said that and then the rest rode the wave. Please do not assume things you guys. It's not nice".

Ostobychoice also kindly replied to my post with a similar explanation.

I think the problem arises in the interpretation of what 'rinsing' means. The dictionary isn't much help with clarification as it does not mention whether rinsing means outputting the water into the same or different outlets.
However, with the adequate update, it would appear that the image of flushing the output down the sink plughole is false, and the more appropriate image would be that of pouring water into the bag from the sink tap; rinsing it around, then emptying it down the toilet. 
I hope this clarifies the situation sufficiently to dispel any displeasurable images or false assumptions. 
Best wishes


Mysterious Mose
Jun 24, 2024 4:47 pm
Reply to Bill

Yes, I saw the update: "I empty the bag in the toilet and then rinse it in the sink." And that is what my second response is about. It still says that the bag is rinsed in the sink. It does not say that water is added from the tap and the mixture then flushed down the toilet. It implies that the rinse mixture is dumped down the sink, but not the full output. It is this that grosses me out, and I have said so. If someone wants to fault me for taking them literally in a written forum, then so be it.

All that said, if Ostobychoice prefers doing things that way, that's her choice. It's just not mine. Besides, there is no way I am enough of a contortionist to fit my bag under the bathroom tap. Maybe if I were a foot shorter... 😎


Jun 24, 2024 9:23 pm

I keep a 16-ounce bottle in the bathroom, next to the toilet and sink. Fill it with water and pour into the bag after emptying. Gently swish. Empty into the toilet. All done while sitting on the toilet. Be sure to keep the bottom of the bag "pinched" until fully in the toilet!