Clean catch urine sample

  • Definition
    • A clean catch is a method of collecting a urine sample to be tested. The clean-catch urine method is used to prevent germs from the penis or vagina from getting into a urine sample.

  • Alternative Names
    • Urine culture - clean catch; Urinalysis - clean catch; Clean catch urine specimen; Urine collection - clean catch

  • How the Test is Performed
    • If possible, collect the sample when urine has been in your bladder for 2 to 3 hours.

      You will use a special kit to collect the urine. It will most likely have a cup with a lid and wipes.

      Wash your hands with soap and warm water.


      Girls and women need to wash the area between the vagina "lips" (labia). You may be given a special clean-catch kit that contains sterile wipes.

      • Sit on the toilet with your legs spread apart. Use two fingers to spread open your labia.
      • Use the first wipe to clean the inner folds of the labia. Wipe from the front to the back.
      • Use a second wipe to clean over the opening where urine comes out (urethra), just above the opening of the vagina.

      To collect the urine sample:

      • Keeping your labia spread open, urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl, then stop the flow of urine.
      • Hold the urine cup a few inches from the urethra and urinate until the cup is about half full.
      • You may finish urinating into the toilet bowl.


      Clean the head of the penis with a sterile wipe. If you are not circumcised, you will need to pull back (retract) the foreskin first.

      • Urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl, and then stop the flow of urine.
      • Then collect a sample of urine into the clean or sterile cup, until it is half full.
      • You may finish urinating into the toilet bowl.


      You will be given a special bag to collect the urine. It will be a plastic bag with a sticky strip on one end, made to fit over your baby's genital area.

      If the collection is being taken from an infant, you may need extra collection bags.

      Wash the area well with soap and water, and dry. Open and place the bag on your infant.

      • For boys, the entire penis can be placed in the bag.
      • For girls, place the bag over the labia.

      You can put on a diaper over the bag.

      Check the baby often and remove the bag after the urine collects in it. Active infants may displace the bag, so you may need to make more than one attempt. Drain the urine into the container you were given and return it to the health care provider as directed.


      Screw the lid tightly on the cup. Do not touch the inside of the cup or the lid.

      • Return the sample to the health care provider.
      • If you are at home, place the cup in a plastic bag and put the bag in the refrigerator until you take it to the lab or your health care provider's office.
  • References
    • Ban KM, Easter JS. Selected urologic problems. In: Marx JA, Hockberger RS, Walls RM, et al, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Mosby Elsevier; 2014:chap 99.

      Norrby SR. Approach to the patient with urinary tract infection. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 292.