This information explains how to perform oral irrigations.

Oral irrigations are done to keep the mouth clean and moist. Irrigate your mouth after each meal and at bedtime. Your nurse will give you an irrigation bag. It comes with the tubing, clamp, connector, and rubber catheter attached. Follow the instructions below to irrigate your mouth.

  1. Place a towel or plastic bib around your neck to protect your clothes.
  2. Press the clamp shut. 
  3. Pour 1 quart of warm tap water into the bag. Add:
  • 1 teaspoon of table salt
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) 
  1. Place the bag on a coat hanger. Hang it up over a shower rod or hook in the bathroom, close to the sink (see figure).
  2. Hold the tubing over the sink and unclamp the tubing. Let the solution run through the tubing and then clamp the tubing.
  3. Bend so that your mouth is over the sink. Open the clamp and pinch the tubing. Put the rubber catheter into your mouth.
  4. Pinch and release the catheter with your fingers to control the water flow. Move the tip of the catheter all around your mouth. Be careful not to direct the flow towards the back of your mouth because it could make you gag.
  5. Allow the solution to drain from your mouth into the sink.
  6. Continue to do this until you have used all of the solution.
  7. Wash the irrigation set with liquid detergent and water. Rinse it well and pat it dry. Place paper towels inside the bag to absorb excess moisture. Store it in a cool, dry place until the next irrigation.