100 Plus Truly Practical Tips On How To Use & Clean Bedside Commodes


I’m a big fan of bedside commodes for elderly loved ones, and for anyone else with mobility issues. My mom has been using one for almost two years, and as her caregiver I’ve seen just how helpful they are, and the independence that they can give to someone with mobility issues. I am going to give tips for all the aspects of choosing, using and maintaining bedside commodes.

Tips for bedside commodes ? Great Practical tips for bedside commodes –


  • who needs one
  • keep it discreet
  • what the different types are for
  • setting up
  • safety – avoid tipping – sitting down correctly
  • assisting someone
  • liners
  • disposal
  • cleaning
  • odor control
  • set-up over a toilet

Who needs a bedside commode ?


Bedside commodes are toilets in the form of a chair with a pale under the seat, which don’t have running water , and so can be placed anywhere around the home for individuals with mobility problems.

It’s time to consider a bedside commode if


Tip #1

If your partner, or an elderly loved one, are bed bound and cannot walk to the toilet – it can be placed right next to the bed, and if they can get down from the bed on their own, or with assistance, the commode is right there and no walking of any distance is required.


Tip # 2

If your parent or loved one is unable to descend from the bed, but can sit upright, rather than using a bed pan, you can get a drop arm bedside commmode for next to the bed, as long as the bed is at the same height, or if you have an adjustable height bed, and your loved one can slide over onto the commode.

With an adjustable height bed you make it slightly higher than the commode for when the person slides over and onto the commode, and then a little lower when you want to slide off the commode and back onto the bed – gravity helps take the strain of the user’s weight in both cases.

The arms of the commode can be moved out of the way during the transfer.


Tip # 3

For elderly adults, or people with disabilities who can walk, but who may not be fast enough to get to the toilet in time, a bedside commode is a good option, as they can go to the toilet by themselves and maintain privacy and independence.


Tip # 4

A bedside commode is also a very good option if your elderly loved ones are not particularly steady, and are making multiple trips to the bathroom at night – like my mom – and being sleepy and stiff may be prone to taking a tumble.



Just because bedside commodes are named as such, does not mean that they cannot be used elsewhere in a home.

They are all very much portable, and some even come with wheels, and all can be placed for use in any room where your loved one may need it.


If you are looking for articles which go into enough depth on the topics of who needs a bedside commode, when you need a bedside commode, and what the benefits of bedside commodes are, you may be interested in the three following articles I have written –

“When Should You Start Using A Commode ?”

“Reasons For Using A Bedside Commode ?”

“19 Benefits Of Bedside Commodes: Making Life Easier For Seniors”

Discrete Commode Chairs


Many older adults are forced to have a bedside commode in a room where they entertain, but they probably don’t want their guests being confronted with it, or for them to know all the ways in which they are losing control of their body, and their independence.

To this end, it may be a great relief for your elderly loved ones, if you can somehow hide, or cover up, any bedside commode that they have to have in a more public area, when it is not in use.

Here are some of my tips for doing it.


Tip # 6

You can buy a dignity cover which is a made to look like an upholstered armchair and just slips over the frame of the commode.

If you are good at sewing, you can probably make one yourself.

It comes with cushions sown on as well, and if you don’t know that it is not an armchair, you would not know it.


Tip # 7

A throw and some cushions can also cover a commode, making it unrecognizable.

If you want to deter people from sitting on it, just pile up stuff on the commode and no one will sit there.

Picking out throws, blankets and cushions may be a fun project to do with your loved one, if they like that sort of thing.

Always try to involve the user in what you are doing, as it will make them feel useful, and not just as though everything goes on around them without them being consulted.


Tip # 8

A curtain with a ceiling rail can close off an area to make it into a private space which no guest would usually wander into.

You can get curved rails and close off a corner of the room from floor to ceiling, making it look like a changing area.


Tip # 9

Freestanding bamboo and rattan room dividers are another option – a bit more expensive, but very stylish.

They can be placed where you want to close off an area and typically are 6 ft tall by 8ft wide.

They are made in curved shapes, so would go well in a corner, and are softer on the eye than hard rectilinear shapes. 


Tip # 10

Room dividers on wheels may be an easier option for elderly loved ones, as they can be moved easily due to the wheels.

They are mainly for the office market, so they are more practical than decorative.

Tip # 11

Folding screens are very good for sectioning off a small area of a room, and these are the item which comes with the most options, styles and decorative forms.

You can get screens in wood, cloth, rattan, wicker, and in a huge variety of sizes.

There are even wooden screens with small shelves so that you can arrange a decorative element on the side facing the guests.

If you are looking to make a project of it with your loved one, then folding screens offer the greatest range of possibilities, and they have to go from floor to ceiling to hide the commode.


Tip # 12

Armchair commodes are a completely different option. 

These are armchairs with a commode pale hidden away inside them. They look just like a conventional armchair, made from wicker or vinyl so that they are easy to clean.

The chairs cost between 2 – 300$ and are perfectly comfortable as a lounge chair.

Examples in the US –

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare (Drive Medical) Basket Weave Commode – max weight 350 lb  – you will need to look on ebay

Facai Rattan Bedside Commode Chair – max weight 236 lb


Examples in the UK –

Drive DeVilbiss Healthcare (Drive Medical) Basket Weave Commode – max weight 350 lb

Gordon Ellis Derby Basketweave Commode Chair – max weight 350 lb

Homecraft Royale Commode Chair  – max weight – 350 lb


Tip # 13

Folding Commodes are my last suggestion. These are lightweight commodes from which the pale is removed in an instant and the commode is folded flat like a folding chair. 

The folded commode can easily be slid under a bed, or popped into a cupboard, as folded they take up no room at all.

The pale can also pop under the bed or in a cupboard while the guest are present.

Examples in the US –

Carex Folding Bedside Commode– max weight 300 lb

Drive Folding Bariatric Commode – max weight 650 lb

Lattice Folding Coated Steel Commode Chair With Padded Seat and Lid – max weight 330 lb

Lattice Light Folding Bedside Commode With Suction Pads – max weight 330 lb

 Naiflowers Folding Shower Transfer Commode Chair – max weight 297 lb

Nova Folding Commode – max weight 300 lb


Examples in the UK –

Aidapt Folding Commode -max weight 280 lb

Aids For Mobility Ultra Lightweight Folding Commode – 280 lb

CareCo Stowaway Commodes – max weight 252 lb

Elite Care  Folding Lightweight Commode Chair – max weight  – 264 lb

Elite Care  Deluxe Folding Lightweight Commode with padded seat – max weight  – 264 lb

Homecraft Uni-Frame Folding Commode – max weight 262 lb 

Static folding bedside commode

If you want to know more specific details about making the presence of commode chairs a more discreet one, I have a full article all about hiding bedside commodes from view, “How to hide a bedside commode”.

You will also find in this article much longer lists of models of folding bedside commodes that you can place in a cupboard, or under the bed, and of the more stylish armchair commodes, for both the US and for the UK, complete with manufacturers, weight capacities, and model numbers, to help you find them online.

In the article, I list the search terms you will want to use to find the different articles needed, for both google and Pinterest.

Pinterest is a great resource for finding inspiration for anything to do with interiors, furniture, sewing, color schemes and ways to put things together.

And you could find that your loved ones may enjoy this as a project that they can do with you.

It’s always good to find things which your elderly parents and loved ones can do which makes them feel needed and useful, and a bit of team work will also help you feel as though you are not having to do everything for them, and it’s a bit different.


While you are looking for bedside commodes, there is lots more that you can do to make your bathroom a safer place for seniors, or anyone else with mobility issues.

To find out all the different things you can do, to have an instant impact on bathroom safety, take a look here, 54 Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors – A Helpful Guide”.

Different types of bedside commodes and their uses ?


Tip # 14

All the following are names for bedside commodes –


  • bedside commodes
  • commode chairs 
  • 3-in-1 commodes
  • all-in-one commodes
  • folding commodes
  • portable commodes
  • transfer commodes
  • rolling commodes
  • transport commodes
  • shower commodes
  • bariatric commodes


Tip # 15

There are 4 main categories or types of bedside commode  –


  • bedside/portable commodes
  • drop arm bedside commodes
  • transport or rolling bedside commodes
  • combination shower chair, transport chair and bedside commodes


Tip # 16

The standard bedside commode is a static chair commode with a pale. The models are portable, and can come as folding, bariatric, extra wide, lightweight, padded and with fixed arms and have a commode pale under the seat.

There are a number of types of static bedside commodes –


  • a very basic folding commode which can only be used as a bedside commode – folds like a classic folding chair
  • a stacking bedside commode which can be used as a bedside commode and as a raised toilet seat
  • a static waterproof shower chair and bedside commode which can be used for bath, shower and as a commode
  • a 3 in 1 commode which is another type of static bedside commode which has multiple functions


Tip # 17

You will often see bedside commodes referred to as “3-in-1 Commodes” or “All-in-One Commode”.


"3 in 1" or "All in One" bedside commode

Tip # 18

A static bedside commode called a “3-in-1 commode” is so-called because it can be used for the following three functions –


  • bedside commode
  • raised toilet seat
  • toilet safety rail


Tip # 19

An “All-in One Commode” bedside commode is basically the same as the “3-in-1 bedside commode” and can be used as –


  • a bedside commode
  • a raised toilet seat
  • a toilet safety rail


Tip # 20

Drop arm bedside commodes – you just swing the armrest out of the normal armrest position, or even remove it altogether.

These are designed so that a person who is bed-bound may lift, or drop, the armrest out of the way and slide over onto the commode from the bed, or for wheelchair users to be able to do the same from their wheelchairs.

Drop arm bedside commode

Tip # 21

The drop arm model is useful if you need to gain access to the person using the commode from the side – this can be very handy if the person needs help with cleaning themselves, or if for some reason the arm on the side is in the way.


Tip # 22

Drop arm bedside commodes can be used as a –


  • bedside commode
  • raised toilet seat over a conventional toilet
  • toilet safety frame

Tip # 23

Transport or rolling bedside commodes have either casters of generally around 5″ or larger wheels.

These commodes are really useful if you need to transport your loved one around the home due to mobility issues. 

Attendant transport bedside commode

Self-propelling transport bedside commode

Tip # 24

Transport or rolling commodes can be used as –


  • a bedside commode
  • a transport chair
  • as a raised toilet seat over a conventional toilet


Tip # 25

Transport or rolling bedside commodes can also be really useful if the person using the commode is doing so because they are just a little slow in getting to the toilet, as you can pop out the commode bucket and wheel them into the bathroom and over the toilet, using it as a raised toilet seat.

This means that there is no clean up involved, and the person gets the privacy of the bathroom – you do need to check that the model you buy is of a sufficient height to clear the rim of your toilet bowl, which is not always the case – some have a horizontal bar at the back just above wheel level which will not allow you to move it into position over the toilet.

Just remember to lock the wheels in place once the commode is in position.


Tip # 26

Shower chair and bedside transport commode – this is designed for people who need to be wheeled into the shower, as well as elsewhere in their home.

It is totally redundant if your shower has a lip of any kind.

Always lock the wheels when it is in position.

Attendant shower chair and bedside transport commode

Self-propelling shower chair and bedside transport commode

Tip # 27

Shower chair and bedside transport commode can be used as a –


  • bedside commode
  • shower chair
  • transport chair
  • a raised toilet seat over a conventional toilet – but this does depend on the model as some have horizontal bars which obstruct, or the seat is not quite high enough to be above the rim of a toilet


Tip # 28

The 4 main types of bedside commode can come in –


  • lightweight or heavy weight (bariatric) models
  • folding or not folding models
  • padded or hard plastic models
  • extra wide or normal models


Tip # 29

You will also find when you look at different models that they may combine a whole bunch of different features, but they should fall into one of the four main categories that I noted above.


Tip # 30

Be warned that certain folding bedside commodes may not be used over a conventional toilet as a raised toilet seat.

If the seat folds up like a normal chair, meaning that you pull the seat upwards so that it is flush against the backrest, the horizontal bar which goes between the center of the commode legs will not clear the rim of the toilet bowl, and so the commode cannot be placed over the toilet.


Tip # 31

The term bariatric, just like the term heavy duty, refers to commodes which have been designed for larger people.

You will find bariatric and heavy-duty models of the different types of bedside commode.

If weight capacity is of concern you can find the weight capacities of over 180 different forms of raised toilet seats, which does include a large number of bedside commodes in my article “Raised toilet seat weight capacity: over 180 examples”.

Tip # 32

The bedside commodes with the greatest weight capacity are –


1500 lb – Model 736DAU Bedside commode w/ fixed arms, Prod. No. 736DAU

1500 lb – Model 736DAL Bedside commode w/ left drop arm, right arm fixed, Prod. No. 736DAL

1500 lb – Model 736DAR Bedside commode w/ right drop arm, left arm fixed, Prod. No. 736DAR 


Tip # 33

As well as bariatric commodes, there exist models of commodes for larger people which are Extra Wide and Tall or Extra Tall. 


Tip # 34

If you are looking for a bedside commode for a tall person, the highest seat from the floor is on the TFI Extra Tall bedside commode, made by TFI Healthcare, which can be raised up to 28″.


I have written a long article, “Bedside Commodes: How To Make The Right Choice ?”,
which fully explains –


  • the different types of commode chairs
  • their different uses
  • what makes particular models suited to particular situations
  • many examples of models of each type
  • how to assist someone with using one
  • how to clean them
  • how to use them over a toilet



How to set up a bedside commode chair ?

If you prefer an article which is not a list of tips about how to use a bedside commode, you may like to read my article, “Using A Bedside Commode: An Illustrated Guide”. It has all the following information and more, in article form.


The static bedside commodes (without wheels) usually come folded in their packaging box and will require a small amount of effort to assemble.

Tip # 35

Static bedside commodes which come folded up in their box can be of two types –


  • the chair which folds up by pulling up the seat towards the backrest, like with a normal folding chair, and the legs, which in side view are in an X form, will fold flat
  • or, bedside commodes where legs constructed in an C form, and have to be pulled outwards individually, and then bars have to be clipped into place to secure them

Tip # 36

For the commodes which fold up like a normal folding chair, you just push down the seat bar away from the backrest, and the chair is now upright.

Place the commode pale into its holder before you clip on the seat.

Take the seat and clip that into position, and do the same with the lid.

The commode is set up. 

Tip # 37

For the commode which does not fold up like a normal chair the procedure is a little different, but not at all difficult.

Start by swinging the legs out towards you, and the frame should be standing independently, but lacking a front bar.

Pull up the pale holder which is attached to the back seat bar between the back legs of the commode.

The two ends of the horizontal holder bar, at the front, will clip into the joints on the sides of the two front legs.

Some commodes come with the back rest bar clipped into the top of the two back legs, if yours does not, you pop that into the joints at the tops of the back legs.

Now that the legs are secured, you can drop in the commode pale into the holder, which is part of the bar the seat will rest on.

Clip in the seat and the lid to the bar at seat level between the two back legs.

Lastly, adjust the height of the legs by pushing in the spring-loaded buttons on each leg at the bottom, usually, and then either pulling the leg out to increase its length, or pushing it in to shorten it. 

Tip # 38

With the spring-loaded buttons on the legs and all the joints, be sure that they have properly locked in place.

The buttons will make a clicking noise when they are pop out of a hole.

If a button is flush or hardly out of a hole, it is not locked in place properly, and you need to jiggle it around until it complies and pops out with a click. 

Tip # 39

If you are using disposable commode liners, you just place them over the pale and push them down inside, making sure that the top of the liner is wrapped over the top of the pale.

If you are also using absorbent pads with the liners, just place one at the bottom of the pale, and then put the pale back in place in the holder under the commode seat.

Everything is ready for use. 

Tip # 40

If you are not using a disposable commode liner with your commode, it’s a great idea to put about 3″ of water into the commode pale before it is used.

This has two benefits, firstly it makes cleaning a lot easier, and secondly it will keep a lot of the odors trapped under the water in the pale, until it is tipped into the toilet.

How to keep a bedside commode from tipping ?


To stop a bedside commode from tipping, there are really only a few solutions.


You can wedge the commode chair into a confined space without wiggle or tipping room –


  • in the corner of the room against the walls and some furniture
  • or between the bed and the corner of the room
  • lastly, do remove any clutter that could cause your loved one to trip


Tip # 41

You can try to have the commode in a place that has a wall on one or two sides and possibly the bed, or other furniture on the other side, and this should stop any tipping of the commode.


Tip # 42

Remove any clutter out of the way where the bedside commode is being used to eliminate any chance of tipping.


Tip # 43

There exists a commode chair which is built to fit into a corner so that the back of the chair fits directly into the corner, and it can’t tip over backwards – it’s called – the Derby Corner Commode Chair.


Tip # 44

But the best tip I can give you is to teach your loved one to sit correctly in a commode chair, and if they are not steady to learn to use a walker to help them to sit and to stand correctly.


Bedside commode transfer ?


To sit on a commode with the aid of a walker


Tip # 45

With the aid of a walker, back up to the commode, and stop when the commode is felt lightly touching the back of the legs.


Tip # 46

Lower any clothing before sitting down.


Tip # 47

Reach back and take hold of the commode armrests, one arm at a time.


Tip # 48

Sit down on the commode only when the armrests are firmly gripped.


Tip # 49

Only let an elderly person do this on their own if they are able to do so without risking a fall or injury.

How to assist someone on a bedside commode ?


Tip # 50

If you know you are going to help your loved one with wiping etc, I would buy a drop arm commode for easy access.


Tip # 51

Have everything to hand before you start and within easy reach – gloves toilet paper, wipes and a bag for the trash which you can just take out to the trash straight away.


Tip # 52

Always wear gloves !


Tip # 53

Always explain slowly and clearly what you are going to do next, to your loved one – go slowly and at their speed.


Tip # 54

With women, you should always wipe from front to back to avoid them getting Urinary Tract Infections.


Tip # 55

Have a soft towel ready for after cleaning – never let a person get dressed again when they are wet.


Self-cleaning bedside commode ?


Tip # 56

There is no such thing as a “self-cleaning commode”.

What there is, is two ways of using a commode which require no real cleaning –


  • disposable commode liners
  • using a commode as a raised toilet seat over a conventional toilet


Tip # 57

Disposable commode liners can come with absorbent pads, powders, gelling agents, or without them.

The gelling agents are used to absorb the liquids and allow you to just throw the bag out into the landfill trash.


Tip # 58

If you use a commode liner without something to absorb the liquids, you will need to tip the contents down the toilet, rinse the liner with water and then throw it into the landfill trash.

Don’t use bags more than once.


Tip # 59

Popular brands of disposable commode liners in the US


  • Bearals
  • Better Moments
  • CareBag
  • Carex
  • Clean Waste Sani Bag
  • Meddacs
  • Medline
  • Medustry
  • Nurture
  • TidyCare
  • Vakly
  • Vive

Tip # 60

Popular brands of disposable commode liners in the UK

Liners which come with absorbent pads to soak up liquids –


  • Abena Abri-bag
  • Age Co
  • CareBag
  • Carex
  • CleanWaste Sani Bag
  • Dr Helewa
  • Healfty
  • Meddacs
  • Medline
  • Medustry
  • Remylady
  • Reynard
  • TidyCare
  • Vive


To find out more and about buying larger amounts of disposable commodes liners, which brands sell bulk amounts, making homemade commode liners, the best biodegradable methods and more, you can read my article “How to dispose of commode liners”.

Never flush these liners down the toilet as they will block it.

Dispose of the bags in your landfill trash, as that is what they are designed for.

In our house, we have like the CareBag liners and have used them for almost two years.


How to dispose of commode liners ?


Tip # 61

To dispose of a liner with an absorbent element –


  • as soon the commode liner has been used, remove it and pull the draw strings up and make a knot
  • if the liner is the type with a sticky seal, stick that down as well
  • if the liner is not the type with a sticky seal, you can make a knot with the top if the liner
  • throw it out immediately


Tip # 62

To dispose of a liner without an absorbent element –


  • tip the contents down the toilet
  • rinse the liner if you wish, and tip the contents down the toilet again
  • Pull the ties of the liner and knot them
  • if it has a sticky strip, do as I noted above, or just tie a knot in the bag and throw it out straight away


Bedside commode odor control ?


Odor control with bedside commodes can present quite an issue if they aren’t emptied promptly.

All the surfaces and materials in a room will absorb odors and trap them, so for that reason alone you want to be disposing of the commode pale contents as quickly as possible

It is also not healthy for a person to be in a room constantly breathing in the odors from feces and urine.


Tip # 63

If the smell from a bedside commode is more than you can handle, even though you are emptying it promptly, why not have an extractor fan put into the wall of the room, just like the ones used in bathrooms. You can switch it on each time the commode has been used, and the fans tend to have timers which you can set and will switch it off after 5-10 minutes.

Tip # 64

Spray any mattresses next to a bedside commode with Lysol, OdoBan, or Dettol, to remove odors.

After spraying with Lysol you must vacate the room, as it is not meant to breathed in, and takes 45 minutes to dissipate in the air. 


Tip # 65

Spray curtains and any other soft furnishings with Lysol, OdoBan or Dettol sprays, and vacate the room for 45 minutes if it is Lysol that you are using. 


Tip # 66

Open the windows as much as you can, if you don’t have an extractor fan in the room. 


Tip # 67

Always empty the pale as quickly as you can after use. The odors get absorbed into the furniture and soft coverings in a room, and the longer the pale is there with feces and urine, the longer the odor is getting into everything. 


Tip # 68

Even disposable liners need to be tied up and disposed of immediately. 


Tip # 69

If you are not using disposable liners, once the pale has been used get the lid on straight away, and then take it to the toilet for emptying. 


Tip # 70

If you are tipping the waste down the toilet, always put the lid on the pale before you carry it to the toilet, or the smell will get everywhere in all the rooms you go through. 


Tip # 71

You should wash the curtains and bed covers rather more frequently than you would ordinarily, and you can add white vinegar to the wash to help remove odors and stains. 


Tip # 72

You can also try using air purifying filters such as HEPA filters.


Tip # 73

You can also use an ionizer to purify the air, but don’t use it while anyone is in the room.


Tip # 74

Always remove wipes and toilet paper immediately from the room, never leave them sitting in trash cans in the room.

It’s a good idea to take a fresh small bag for trash each time, so you can just knot it and dispose of it on the spot – in the trash for landfill outside.

Tip # 75

Toilet paper should be flushed away, but do not put wipes down the toilet.


Tip # 76

Wipes should be thrown into the outside landfill trash cans.


Tip # 77

If you put the toilet paper and wipes in any room trash cans as the trash cans will just absorb the smell, and it will stay there long after they have been emptied.


Tip # 78

If you make the mistake of using the trash can in the room, disinfect it and sprinkle some baking soda into it,  and this will absorb a lot of the odors.


Tip # 79

Put down some kind of mat, or incontinence bed pad, on the floor under the commode, as this can just be taken up immediately and thrown away if there are any spills or accidents.


Bedside commode pail odor control


If you are not using disposable commode liners, you want to know a few tips to help you handle the odors coming from the pale.


Tip # 80

The first step you can take, is to put 3 inches, or about a quart of water, in the commode pale every time before it is used.

The poop will be trapped under the water and the odors will have a far harder time escaping into the air.


Tip # 81

Just like with a toilet, if you are using water in the pale, you can put a spritz of a product called Poo Puorri forming an oily layer on the water, and making it even harder for the odor to escape, as well as scenting it.


Tip # 82

Other scented products that can be added to the water include –


  • lavender essential oil
  • peppermint essential oil
  • listerine mouthwash


Tip # 83


These can do two things which are not good at all –


  1. Any bleach, or cleaning product, you add to the water before use, can splash back up onto the skin of your loved one’s private parts causing seriously nasty skin irritations – bleach in particular is an irritant for the skin
  2. Bleach will combine with the ammonium in urine and cause the formation of Chlorine gas, which is bad for the lungs, and this is even worse if you are sleeping in the room next to the commode



How to clean a bedside commode ?


Tip # 84

Before you start to clean the commode, you must prepare yourself – gloves and overalls – so you don’t anything from the toilet on your clothes and spread it around the home.


Tip # 85

You will need the right cleaning products for the job – a cleaner and a disinfectant, or a combination of the two.

Something like a cleaner and Lysol, PineSol or OdoBan.


Tip # 86

Eventually we all have to deal with spills which can occur on carpeted areas, and a lot of caregivers use enzymatic cleaners (often used for the feces and urine of pets) such as –


  • Anti Icky Poo
  • Natures Miracle


Tip # 87

One of the problems for caregivers when they clean is dealing with the smells.

Some wear a mask – like a surgical or dust mask, and scent it with an oil.


Oils used include –


  • oil of clove
  • oil of lavender
  • peppermint oil
  • vanilla essence


Tip # 88

Other caregivers prefer instead to smear a mustache on their top lip of –


  • vicks
  • mentholatum
  • horse linament


Tip # 89

Other caregivers suck strong mints, or menthol sweets, and hold them tight to their palette, drawing their breath up over the sweet, which helps to cover the unpleasant smells.


What’s the best way to clean the commode bucket or pale ?


Tip # 90

If you are not using any form of liner with the pale and emptying it, you should be cleaning it every time it has been used, and don’t forget to put the quart of water in the bottom before it is used – this also helps when cleaning it afterwards.


Tip # 91

I have had pale handles come off on a number of times, so don’t rely on it to take the weight, put one hand under the bottom when taking it to the toilet.

Tip # 92

Tip the pale contents down the toilet and rinse, clean to get out any material, rinse again, then use a disinfectant and give it a good scrub and rinse it out again.

You can use the combination products like Lysol, Pine-Sol or OdoBan, but you can also use the enzymatic cleaners that I mentioned earlier, like Anti-Icky Poo or Natures Miracle.


Tip # 93

Plastic absorbs any odors, so when a pale has been used – without a disposable commode liner – it is a good idea to clean it and then soak it in water and bleach for a few hours, to really get the bacteria out of it which will cause all the odors.

If you do this, you will need a number of pales, so that there is always a clean one in place in the commode for your loved one to use.


Tip # 94

As I said earlier, it’s a good idea to put about 3 inches of water in the pale to restrict the release of odors, but it will also make cleaning a lot easier, and also the emptying of the contents.


How to clean the rest of the commode ?


Tip # 95

You will want to clean, rinse, disinfect and rinse the commode again.


Tip # 96

Remove the armrests, the seat, the lid and the splash guard, and clean each one with a non-abrasive cleaner, rinse them off thoroughly. 


Tip # 97

The areas where the skin has the most contact requires the toughest cleaning – the armrest and the seat.


Tip # 98

The areas under the seat will have the most feces and urine on them, so give them a good soaking so you can clean all the bits off before disinfecting.


Tip # 99

The reason for a non-abrasive cleaner is so that you don’t degrade the plastic surface, which can lead to bacteria getting trapped in the surface and causing skin infections.


Tip # 100

Make sure everything that you took off the frame is rinsed and there is no urine or feces still on there.


Tip # 101

Now wash all the parts again with disinfectant.


Tip # 102

After the disinfectant, you can rinse and dry the different parts that you have removed and washed.


Tip # 103

Now take the frame and wipe it down with hot water to soften up any bits that may be stuck to it, and then go over it with the cleaner.

Tip # 104

Rinse the frame and pass over it all again washing with disinfectant, and then rinse again, and leave it to dry.


Tip # 105

The plastic of the seat needs regular checks for any cracks to avoid any splitting and accidents. Parts with cracks should be replaced.


Tip # 106

The joints of the frame should be checked for rust, and if there are plastic joints, check those for cracks as well.


Tip # 107

Check the rubber tips on the end of the legs for splits, as underneath is metal which will skid on floors which aren’t carpeted.

You can easily find and buy replacement tips, known as “ferrules”, online.

Tip # 108

After you have finished cleaning, throw away your gloves and wash your hands with soap and warm water.



How to set up a bedside commode over a toilet


Bedside commodes can very easily be used over toilets as a raised toilet seat.


Tip # 109

Using a bedside commode as a raised toilet seat for an elderly loved one is, in my opinion, a far safer option than a raised toilet seat itself.

Bedside commodes have large armrests giving good support, adjustable heights, don’t wobble, are faster to set up, have four solid legs taking the weight on the ground, and can’t tip up as can some raised toilet seats.


Tip # 110

Before buying a bedside commode for use over a toilet, always check the height from the floor of your toilet bowl rim, and make sure that the bedside commodes have settings for the seat which are higher.

Most standard bedside commodes will fit over most toilets, but with the transport bedside commodes and the shower/transport bedside commodes, some are too low, and others have structural parts that will obstruct and can’t be moved – it’s always worth checking with the shop you are buying from.

Tip # 111

If you are using a bedside commode with wheels of any type, always check they are locked once the commode is in position over the toilet.


Tip # 112

To set up a commode over a toilet –


  • check the height of the toilet
  • set the height of the legs accordingly, and check that all the spring-loaded buttons are locked in place properly
  • check all the legs are the same height 
  • put the seat and lid of your toilet in the upright position
  • position the bedside commode over the toilet
  • put the splash guard in place, under the commode seat, if you are using one
  • lock any wheels on the commode


Once you have done this, you are ready to use the commode.

3 in 1 bedside commode installed over a toilet

I’m Gareth, the author and owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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