How to collect a clean urine specimen fact sheet

How to collect a clean urine specimen

You have been given a container to collect a sample of urine from your child to test for a urinary tract infection. It is important that the urine sample is not contaminated by germs from the skin when it is collected as this may lead to a wrong diagnosis.

Follow these steps to collect a clean urine sample:

  1. Get some clean plastic tweezers, gauze (or cotton balls) and a container of sterile water ready. If gauze or cotton balls are not available, you can use baby wipes.
  2. Wash your hands well (you may wish to wear gloves).
  3. Ensure the child’s privacy is protected and remove your child’s nappy or underpants so that the genital area is exposed (you may wish to sit or lay your child on a towel or hospital bluey to avoid a mess).
  4. Use the tweezers to pick up the gauze (or cotton balls) and soak in sterile water. Use the tweezers and soaked gauze, follow the instructions below to gently wash the genital area:
    Girls: Wipe the genital area several times from front to back, using a new gauze (or cotton ball or baby wipe) for each wipe.
    Boys: Wipe the head of the penis using a new gauze (or cotton ball or baby wipe) for each wipe.
  5. Try not to let your skin or your child’s skin touch the area that has been cleaned.
  6. Loosen the yellow lid of the collection container (but do not remove).
  7. Watch and wait until your child starts to wee.
  8. As soon as the wee starts, take the lid off the container and put it under the stream of urine. Hold the container away from your child (do not let it touch their skin). Do not touch the inside of the container.
  9. Once you have at least a teaspoon of urine in the container put the lid back on firmly and give it to the nurse, so it can be sent to the laboratory for testing. If you have collected the sample at home, it needs to be stored in the fridge and taken to the laboratory within 24 hours.
  10. Dry your child’s genital area and replace their nappy or underpants.

How to collect a clean urine specimen

Handy hints

  • To encourage a wee gently rub your child’s lower abdomen (tummy) for a few minutes using a clean piece of gauze soaked in cold water (see picture).
  • Give your child a bottle or breastfeed while you are waiting for them to wee.

Further information

View urinary tract infections fact sheeet.

Resource No: FS091. Developed by Emergency Department. Updated: August 2019. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health. Image reproduced from Kaufman J, Fitzpatrick P, Tosif S, et al. Faster clean catch urine collection (Quick-Wee method) from infants: randomised controlled trial. BMJ. Apr 7 2017;357:j1341.