Skin Care

National Continence Helpline

8am - 8pm Monday to Friday AEST Talk to a continence nurse

Cleaning after going to the toilet - bowels

Get help from a health professional, or talk to your supervisor or care coordinator if you find blood:

  • in the toilet bowel
  • on the toilet paper
  • on the person's underwear or continence pad.


Work out how much the person can do on their own. You can ask the person, other carers, support workers or family. This will help you find out how much the person can take charge of their own care.

How to clean someone after they open their bowels

  1. Let the person sit on the toilet until they are finished completely. The person shouldn't be straining on the toilet or sitting too long. The length of sitting time can vary depending on the person.
  2. Wash your hands with soap and water, and put on disposable non-latex gloves.
  3. Start with a few squares of toilet paper. It doesn't matter if you bunch or fold the toilet paper. Because of changes in the skin, some people with disabilities might prefer wet wipes (alcohol and fragrance-free). 
  4. Clean the person from behind while they are sitting on the toilet. This will help to stop a urinary tract infection developing. If the person is very dirty they might need to stand up or you might need to shower them to clean the skin properly.
  5. Gently wipe between the person's buttocks from front to back. Only use each piece of toilet paper once. Don't rub the area because this can damage the skin.
  6. Use the toilet paper to clean away most of the faeces. Finish wiping with a wet wipe to clean all the faeces away.
  7. Flush the toilet paper in the toilet.
  8. Put the wet wipes into a plastic bag and put them in the rubbish bin. Don't flush wet wipes down the toilet because they can block the plumbing.
  9. If needed, help the person to put their clothes back on and wash their hands.
  10. Take off your gloves and put them in the rubbish bin.
  11. Wash your hands with soap and water.

Need more help? Call the National Continence Helpline on 18OO 33 OO 66 and talk to a continence nurse advisor.

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This information is not a substitute for independent professional advice.