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Addressing Odor Concerns When You Have Incontinence

Incontinence on it’s own can be a huge problem form many people. While bladder leaks might not seem like a big deal to some, those who deal with it on a regular basis know the trials someone with incontinence has to live with. The constant changing of clothes, finding products that will help you stay dry, dealing with the embarrassment that comes from having to wear protection or (worse) having an accident. And, of course there’s the issue of odor.

Odor is a big concern among those with bladder leaks. But there are ways to prevent it, and treat it if you do happen to notice a smell. Read our tips below to learn how to kick odor to the curb.

PREVENTION

When it comes to odor, prevention is key. Avoiding an accident in the first place, or preventing smells from even having a chance to develop is always the most effective strategy. Here are some ways to prevent odors from happening when you have incontinence.

  1. Don’t limit fluids. It’s tempting for those with bladder leaks to limit the amount they drink in an effort to prevent an accident. There are a couple of problems with this approach though. First, limiting your fluids may make you dehydrated, which is never good. You also may find that your bladder becomes even more irritated because your urine is so concentrated, which can lead to more emergency trips to the bathroom, or leaks. Finally, if you do have an accident, concentrated urine will smell much worse than if you had stayed well hydrated to begin with. So make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day.
  2. Wear the proper protection to avoid leaks and change it regularly. Finding the right product is super important when it comes to staying dry, and odor free. There are many things to consider when choosing the right product – What level of absorbency do you need? How’s the fit? Are you really active or more sedentary? Finding the right fit and product can take time and you may have to try several products before getting it exactly right. But once you do, it will help you to eliminate leaks, keep odors at bay, and will make a huge difference in your confidence level.While we’re on the subject of products, it’s important to change them regularly, no matter what you’re wearing. It only stands to reason that wearing the same product for longer periods of time, especially after you’ve had an accident, will start to smell less than pleasant. So change promptly if you have an accident, and often, even if you don’t.
  3. Look for odor reducing products. Many products come with special features to reduce odors. Look for products with odor control on the label. While many of these contain natural odor absorbing compounds, some of them are scented, which can irritate sensitive skin. Avoid these if that’s the case for you.

WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT ODOR IF YOU DO HAVE A LEAK.

Accidents happen, even when you have the best precautions in place. And while the approaches to clean up are slightly different in each of the three scenarios below, the most important element to consider with each of these is time. The faster you address an accident, the less time you will give it to build up an odor. Don’t leave things sitting for very long – it will develop a worse smell over time and will be much harder to remove the longer you leave an accident sitting.

BODY

It’s safe to say that every accident you have would involve cleaning yourself up first. This is probably a no-brainer for most people, but remove your soiled clothing as quickly as you can. It’s also important to change your incontinence protection frequently to prevent moisture build up. Not only will it start to smell after a bit, but wearing wet clothes is uncomfortable, and can cause skin irritation.

Thoroughly clean yourself off after an accident (and really any time you’re changing out your absorbent products). You may want to look into special cleansing agents that are designed specifically for incontinence. Sometimes regular soap and water can be irritating to the skin if used frequently. Incontinence cleansers typically are more moisturizing and can reduce irritation. You may also even be able to find wipes that will fit easily in a bag or carryon to make clean up on the go a breeze.

(Note: While we’ve heard from many people that the below methods work, it’s always smart to test a small inconspicuous patch of fabric before applying these methods to your stain, just to make sure that it doesn’t harm it in any way.)

CLOTHING

If you can’t wash the item right away, do your best to rinse the clothing out with water as best as you can. Don’t rub the area, as that can drive the stain deeper into the fabric.

Vinegar does wonders when removing a urine smell from clothing. Once you’re ready to wash, add 1 cup of white vinegar to 3 cups of water and allow the clothing to soak in this mixture for a few minutes. If the smell is particularly strong, you can also apply a small amount of baking soda to the stain, which will help to absorb and neutralize the odor. Wash your clothes in lukewarm water, then add detergent and launder again as you usually would.

FURNITURE & CARPET

To remove urine from a piece of furniture or carpet, first soak up as much of the spill as possible with a paper towel or rag. Next, it’s back to vinegar to reduce and neutralize the smell. Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and use a rag to dab the solution onto your stain. (If your stain is on a carpet, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting enough of the solution into the lower fibers of the carpet in order to neutralize the odor).

Once you feel you’ve covered the stain and neutralized the urine odor, let it sit for 10 minutes, then use paper towels to absorb as much of the moisture as possible. Finally, sprinkle baking soda over the wet part of the fabric or carpet to help absorb the moisture. You’ll want to leave this sitting for several hours, or even overnight, until it’s dried.
Finally, vacuum up the baking soda and you’re done! Your furniture or carpet should smell as good as new!

Got any other tips for eliminating odor from bladder accidents? Share them with us in the comments below!

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