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Urine culture - clean catch



A clean catch is a method of collecting a urine sample for various tests, including urinalysis, cytology, and urine culture.

Alternative Names

Urine collection - clean catch; Clean catch urine specimen

How the test is performed

Children or adults:

After cleaning the genital area, urinate a small amount into the toilet bowl to clear the urethra of any contaminants. Then, collect a sample of urine in a clean or sterile container. About 1 - 2 ounces of urine is needed for a test. Remove the container from the urine stream without stopping the flow. You may finish urinating into the toilet bowl. Return the sample to the health care provider, as directed.


A collection device must be attached to the baby to collect the urine.

Thoroughly wash the area around the urethra. Open a urine collection bag (a plastic bag with an adhesive paper on one end), and place it on your infant. For boys, the entire penis can be placed in the bag and the adhesive attached to the skin. For girls, place the bag over the labia. Diaper the infant as usual, covering and securing the bag. Check the baby frequently and remove the bag after the infant has urinated into it. Active infants may displace the bag, so it may take more than one attempt to obtain the specimen. Drain the urine into a container and give it to the health care provider, as directed.

Do not use antiseptics, as they may prevent bacteria from growing during the culture.

How to prepare for the test

Before urinating, boys and men should clean the head of the penis. Girls and women need to wash the area between the vagina "lips" (labia). The health care provider will give you instructions how to do this. You may be given a special clean-catch kit that contains a cleansing solution and sterile wipes.

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

How the test will feel

Rarely, infants may have a local skin reaction to the tape used with the collection bags.

Why the test is performed

The clean-catch urine method is used to prevent bacteria from the penis or vagina from getting into a urine sample. The clean catch can be used for a routine urinalysis, a urine culture, or other urine tests that require pure urine for accurate results.

Normal Values

Normal values will depend on the specific test ordered, for example, whether you've had a urinalysis or urine culture.

What abnormal results mean

If the urine sample was sent for urinalysis, abnormal results may indicate the presence of white blood cells, red blood cells, or excessive amounts of protein.

If the urine sample was sent for urine culture, abnormal results may indicate excessive growth of bacteria, a urinary tract infection, or a bladder infection.

What the risks are

There are no known risks.

Special considerations

This is a common method used to collect urine. You may have a false-negative urine culture if you've recently taken antibiotics.

Related Taxonomy
- Test

Review Date: 1/10/2010
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Urology, Department of Surgery, Boston University School of Medicine.
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