Do Catheters Expire?

Many medical supplies, including catheters and catheter supplies, have expiration dates. In fact, according to the FDA, expired medical supplies are not only less effective but using them increases the risk of bacterial contamination. Catheters specifically can expire. Catheter manufacturers are required to follow regulations and print an expiration or use-by date on every catheter’s packaging.

Why Catheters Expire

An expiration date printed on a catheter’s packaging indicates the sterility of the catheter as well as the package’s integrity. Due to the quality of the materials used to manufacture catheters, they typically do not break down, but the packaging itself could. And, if catheters are unused after that printed expiration date, their sterility may be compromised.

Rusch catheter showing expiration date circled

Expired pre-lubricated and hydrophilic catheters risk losing their hydrated coating resulting in an uncomfortable and dry insertion and removal experience during self-catheterization. This could cause trauma to the urethra or lead to a bladder infection.

And if the catheter includes sterile saline solution in a packet for lubrication, it could be compromised after the expiration date. There is a tested time that this solution remains safe, and using a catheter with an included sterile saline packet after the printed expiration date can put you at risk for using a now non-sterile product.

Risk of Using Expired Catheters

When inserting something into the body, it is imperative to be clean, sterile, and fresh. This includes being a catheter with an expiration date that has not passed. To avoid urethral damage and potential infection, it is best to use catheters and catheter supplies before their expiration date.

It is best to use your catheters before they expire to avoid urethral damage and potential infection

Although the catheter you are using may look fine even after the expiration date has passed, it is not worth taking the risk of using it. It is always better to know that you are catheterizing safely.

Popular Catheters and Catheter Supplies

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Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021

Now that we are wrapping up the first month of 2022, we thought we would take a moment to share our top 10 blog posts from 2021. We are looking forward to providing a wealth of new information for you this year and thought we would share the topics that our customers have been interested in and enjoyed this last year.

Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2021


Choosing a suitable catheter lubricant is one of the most critical steps in a safe, clean, and comfortable self-catheterization experience. Learn why catheter lubricant is essential and how to use it to lubricate your catheter in the most popular blog post of 2021.

How to Lubricate Your Catheter


External catheters for men and women can be an excellent alternative to indwelling catheters and help prevent catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTI). In this next popular blog post, learn how male and female external catheters are less invasive and possibly a more comfortable option for managing urinary incontinence.

man and woman looking out window embracing each other


Diarrhea leads to dehydration, and for those with an ileostomy or colostomy, this can be dangerous. In this blog post, learn the possible causes of diarrhea, the dietary impact of diarrhea with a stoma, and ostomy products that might be helpful.

woman holding her stomach in discomfort for the blog cover of managing diarrhea with a stoma


Don’t miss out on this extensive list of what we feel are the most helpful incontinence products for seniors in this next popular blog post. When managing an incontinence condition, stocking up on the essential incontinence products for seniors is critical. So, if you are purchasing for yourself or someone you care for, considering these incontinence products for seniors is a great way to be prepared.

elderly man grinning at a woman on a swing


Since COVID-19, many people have lost their health insurance coverage through their employers. If you or someone you know is regaining health insurance coverage, you don’t want to miss this blog post about 180 Medical, our sister company. We are incredibly proud to be connected to them!

are you regaining health insurance coverage blog header


Learn all about a Foley catheter, when it is needed, and how to use it in this popular blog post. And, if you are already a Foley catheter user, you can view all the Foley catheters we offer on our website.

Foley Catheters - What they are, why they are used, and where to purchase.


GentleCath Glide catheters have transformed the experience of intermittent catheter users. With their advanced FeelClean Technology, these catheters offer a clean and comfortable catheterization without all the mess. In this blog post, learn all the benefits of GentleCath Glide catheters and the GentleCath me+ Program that provides free support to intermittent catheter users.

A little girl putting makeup on her dad's face as he sleeps


Incontinence diapers and briefs can cause rubbing and skin irritations, including diaper rash. Thankfully, you can use products discussed in this blog post to address this uncomfortable skin condition to help prevent it from occurring and improve diaper rash.

icons of protective underwear on the blog cover of how to prevent diaper rash


Children grow quickly, and diaper sizes can change unexpectedly. In this popular blog post, you’ll learn the signs to watch for that can help determine when it might be a good time to move up in diaper sizes.

Tips to Help Determine if Your Child May Need a Larger Diaper


In this informative blog post, learn about all the incontinence pad options available to men and women and their uses for different needs. Learn about the different styles, absorbency levels, how to choose the right size, and how to dispose of incontinence pads properly. We even discuss what may be covered by Medicare.

All About Incontinence Pads featuring a brief, belted undergarment, and pads

We hope you have enjoyed these blog posts as much as we have enjoyed writing them. Our goal with these blog posts is to provide our readers with as much helpful information as possible for various medical conditions. At Personally Delivered, our team is committed to providing the very best service as a trusted home delivery medical supply company to help change lives and make life a little easier for you and your loved ones.

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Why You Should Not Reuse Your Catheters

When catheters were first created, it was normal practice to reuse them because resources and availability were limited. Today, however, the use of catheters has evolved to become safer, more hygienic, and less expensive.

Recent studies show that sterile intermittent catheters may lessen the risk of urinary tract infections. Although there is research as well as intermittent catheters being designated as single-use devices by the FDA, some people still choose to reuse their catheters. Some may do this because they think it’s more cost-effective or environmentally friendly. However, they may be putting themselves at risk for potential infection.

Is It Safe to Reuse Catheters?

In the early 2000s, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) did research to find out if reusing catheters was safe. In 2002, the FDA came to the conclusion that they could not approve washing and reusing catheters under any circumstances.

During the FDA’s testing, 67% of catheters that were considered “adequately sanitized” still tested positive for bacteria and pathogens. Not even antibacterial soap or typical home sterilization techniques fully sanitized the intermittent catheters. From this study, the FDA concluded that reusing catheters could lead to an increased risk of infection.

GentleCath Male Intermittent CatheterCatheters are made of a unique porous material that allows bacteria and other residual tissue inside during use, causing the catheter to no longer be sterile. In addition, factors such as poor cleaning techniques and non-sterile storage methods may further contaminate the catheter.

That’s why sterile intermittent catheterization is the most ideal and safest way to cath. Per FDA guidelines, any intermittent catheter should be disposed of immediately after use.

The risk to one’s health far outweighs the cost or environmental concerns that lead people to reuse their catheters.

What are the Risks of Reusing Catheters?

If you’re reusing catheters, you may be more susceptible to:

  • UTIs (urinary tract infections)
  • Bladder infections
  • Kidney infections
  • Urethral damage or scar tissue build-up

The primary cause of infection risk is due to bacteria still inside and on the surface of an intermittent catheter after use. In research studies, not even thorough lab-based cleaning of catheters could fully sterilize them for use again.

Additionally, if a catheter is reused often over a long period of time, its material may begin to break down. As catheter material begins to break down, the catheter becomes more porous and may trap more bacteria; additionally, the catheter itself may also become rough and coarse leading to more painful catheterization or damage to the urethra.

Hydrophilic catheters have a smooth, slippery surface which is designed to make intermittent self-catheterization easier and help reduce the risk of infection. These types of catheters should never be used more than once. After the hydrophilic catheter is removed, the slick, pre-lubricated surface is gone, and reusing it will result in friction.

Not even bacterial soap can sterilize your catheters

What are the Benefits of Single-Use Catheters?

In contrast, you may find there are numerous benefits to switching to sterile intermittent catheterization (using a catheter one time and then disposing of it).

Benefits may include:

  • Reduced risk of UTIs and bladder infections
  • More time freed up by no longer washing and
    reusing catheters
  • Healthier lifestyle and more energy
  • Confidence that your catheter supplies are
    sterile to use every time
  • Reduced chance of urethral damage

If you have to use catheters and you’re contemplating reusing them, it’s good to consider the potential risks when weighing your options.

It’s best to consult your healthcare professional with questions about your health. However, if you need more information about your product options for sterile catheters, our specialists at Personally Delivered will be glad to help you find the perfect solution to your catheter needs.

Best-Selling Intermittent Catheters

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