You may have seen the news recently and the talk of the Government banning wet wipes. With the current focus on the environment, recyclable products are much more in favour at the moment. Wet wipes contain non-biodegradable plastics, are single use and cannot be recycled. Despite warnings on the packet, they are still flushed down the toilet and account for over 90% of material sewage blockages according to Water UK*.
Much of the focus in the media has been on parents – one of the biggest uses of wet wipes tend to be when changing a child’s nappy and cleaning mucky hands and faces. But as an ostomate it made me wonder what we would do, should this ban come into fruition.
Stoma Bag Changing Routine
I generally change my bag every evening when I have my shower. Not all ostomates change this often but I get sore skin if I leave my bag on for too long. My general routine involves:
- Cut my new bag to size and get out all the things I need
- Remove stoma bag using adhesive remover spray
- Clean the area with a wet wipe
- Use an adhesive remover wipe to remove any bits of the adhesive from the bag stuck on skin
- Clean the area again with a wet wipe to remove any fonal traces of output and adhesive remover
- Dry well with a dry wipe
- Spray ostomy barrier spray
- When dry, place clean bag over stoma and press down firmly
- Attach baseplate extenders if required
Check out mine and Ste’s STOMA BAG CHANGE RACE on YouTube
Using Wet Wipes During A Bag Change
The wet wipes I use during a bag change are provided by my delivery company, Bullens. I have also used baby wipes before, although some people don’t suggest this. My wipes are not flushed down the toilet, I dispose of them in the rubbish bag with the rest of my waste.
I recently ran a poll on Twitter to see what other people used to clean their stoma during a bag change.
Just over half of all the ostomates who responded to my poll use some form of wet wipe – either a baby wipe or one of the complimentary wet wipes provided by their stoma su[pplies delivery company.
There were some great points made relating to the poll including:
- Baby wipes aren’t always ideal for use around the stoma site as they can leave residue
- Different things affect people’s skin differently and what wiorks for one may not work for another
- Check the wipes you are using are meant for the skin and not bathroom surfaces – many of these contain bleach
- Trio Heathcare recommended using their adhesive remover wipes over baby wipes. Order your sample here
So What Can We Use Instead?
Luckily there are lots of different things we can use to clean our stoma area.
I use dry wipes to dry the area around my stoma after cleaning. These can also be used damp to clean the area. As there are no chemicals used, this can help prevent sore skin and residue that means your bag will not stick properly
Adhesive Remover Wipes
Use these to help remove any sticky residue from the bag baseplate without having to scrub which can irritate the skin. You could also use the adhesive remover spray with a dry wipe if preferred
Reusable Soft Cloths
I found these cloths in Primark and they were really inexpensive. I use them to wash my face and to remove my makeup. They are super soft though and could be used damp to clean your stoma area, before being placed in the wash to reduce waste.
I like to remove my bag before I shower so I can give my skin some bag free time. Rather than cleaning the area before you get ihn, you can use the shower to clean the area around your stoma. Warm water is recommended as it does not contain anything which could irritate your skin. Do not use any shower gels too close to your stoma, as this may cause irritation or prevent the bag from sticking due to the residue they leaves behind.
No Need To Panic!
The media are very accomplished at causing panic but I really don’t think there needs to be one about this! For both ostomates and parents there are many alternatives, and it would be great for companies to start coming up with more environmentally friendly options for us all, this may give them the push they need.
I hope you enjoyed reading my post and the alternatives to wet wipes will be useful to you. I would love to hear what you use in the comments and if there is anything I should add to my list
You can see more of my posts over on my blog – The Spoonie Mummy
*Reference – https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/wet-wipe-ban-uk-opportunity-end-flushaway-culture/