Cleaning a tracheostomy tube
Plastic and metal tubes may be cleaned with mild soap and clean tap water. Hydrogen peroxide may be used to clean plastic or stainless steel tubes. Do not use hydrogen peroxide with sterling-silver tracheostomy tubes. If the tracheostomy tube is cuffed, clean the cuff using the manufacturer’s instructions found in the package. The cuff should not come in contact with any cleaning detergents or chemicals.
Supplies you will need
- Clean tap water
- Mild soap
- Hydrogen peroxide (do not use this with sterling-silver tracheostomy tubes)
Steps to clean a tracheostomy tube
- Place the dirty tracheostomy tube, obturator, and strap in a clean container.
- Add clean tap water and mild soap. Be sure the tube, obturator, and strap are covered by water.
- Soak them for a few minutes to loosen any secretions.
- Clean the tube and other parts using pipe cleaners and gauze sponges. Pass the pipe cleaner through the tube to remove all of the secretions.
- Rinse well with clean tap water to remove all the soap.
- Make sure the secretions and lint from the pipe cleaners are removed.
- Place the tracheostomy tube parts on a clean towel in a safe place. Let them air dry all the way. It will take about 2 to 3 hours. Note: Have an extra tracheostomy tube ready for use while the newly-cleaned tube dries.
- When the tracheostomy tube is dry, look for cracks, a change in color of the tube, or any foul odor. The tube will need to be replaced if you find any of these.
- Get the tube ready to be used again by adding ties and putting the obturator in the tube.
- Place all of the tracheostomy tube parts in a closed, clean container. Keep this with you at all times.
Cleaning the inner cannula
To clean the inner cannula so it does not become plugged:
- Unlock it by turning it until the notch is reached and then slide it out.
- Use a small brush or pipe cleaners to clean it.
- Rinse it under cool running water.
- Look through the inner cannula to make sure it is clean.
- Shake it or use dry pipe cleaners to remove moisture.
- Put it back in and lock it into place.