How to dispose of colostomy bags

Updated April 17, 2017

A colostomy bag is a device attached to the stoma created after a person undergoes colostomy or ileostomy surgery. The bag captures and holds wastes that are redirected from the bowels instead of being expelled in the usual manner. When the bag is full, you need to remove it and dispose of both the bag itself and the contents within. A little bit of planning and the right supplies will allow you to accomplish the task safely and with no mess.

Remove the colostomy bag from the stoma. You should do this in the bathroom so you don't have to walk far once removing the bag.

Empty the contents of the bag into the toilet and flush the toilet water down the drain, just as you would with any other matter in the toilet.

Place the empty bag into a sealable plastic bag and close the bag. Make sure the seal is closed tightly to avoid any leaks.

Put the sealed plastic bag into whatever garbage disposal system you use for the rest of your household waste to dispose of it. Contact your local sanitation department to find out if they have other specific requirements for disposing of the bag.


Look for plastic bags designed for handling colostomy bags to ensure proper protection against leaks.


Do not let the bag become overfull or you risk an infection from the excess matter.

Things You'll Need

  • Sealable plastic bag
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About the Author

Based in West Windsor, N.J., Craig Barney has been writing computer- and electronics-related articles since 1990. His articles have appeared in “Wired” and “Ericsson” magazines, and on Barney received the Kim Swiss Award in 2006. He holds a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Missouri.