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6 Must Have Products For Elderly Caregivers Dealing With Poop At Home

I know the real words, diarrhea, feces, manure, excrement, fecal matter, bowel incontinence, but let's face it, when your incontinent elderly mother or father is covered in poop from butt to floor, it doesn't matter what they call it, you just want to know how to clean it up quickly!

I know the real words, diarrhea, feces, manure, excrement, fecal matter, bowel incontinence, but let's face it, when your incontinent elderly mother or father is covered in poop from butt to floor, it doesn't matter what they call it, you just want to know how to clean it up quickly!

Pooping PTSD

If you are just looking for the list, scroll on down, but maybe you are like me and need to know that you are not alone, which is why I am sharing my story.

A couple of months ago, my mother in law fell down in her condo and laid there for two days before she figured out how to call me. Once I got the message I sent my husband and he brought her back to our house.

Well, come to find out, the fall had exasperated a memory problem and made her even more cantankerous than usual. So for at least a day and a half she refused to let me clean her up, insisting that she was fine… sigh. The back of her legs were covered in poop and pee, which I was FINALLY able to clean up.

So the very next day my husband got her up to go potty and she had explosive diarrhea through the house, which my husband sort of cleaned up and I spent HOURS steam cleaning to get out of the carpet.

This was repeated two more times when I had to clean up mom who will not take a shower (what the hell? that would make it SO MUCH EASIER to clean her, but no!)

Literally, each time she had poop from her lady parts down her legs to the floor, across the floor, all around the house!

Come to find out that she had C diff which is a diarrhea causing virus that the elderly get at the hospital or can pick up at the doctors office. If your mom or dad has explosive poop for days, for sure have them checked for that!

I Have Germ OCD

Okay, I am a Mom so I have seen some things… my kid plays lacrosse so we have had blood. There were the occasional “accidents” growing up, but since they were kids we just pulled off pants, tossed them in the washer and the kid in the shower and called it a day.

But since Mom won't shower, all cleaning has to be done up front and in person.

I am not some sissy, but I am finding out that cleaning up literal rivers of poop is outside my germ tolerance level!

6 Products To Help When Cleaning Up Elderly Fecal Incontinence

I am not some kind of eldercare expert, I only know how to clean up one poopy butt, but I did learn some things from the nurses during one of Mom's hospital stays. Here are 6 products that can make cleaning up poop easier!

Gloves

Medium Rubber Gloves

Alright, this may be the least eco-friendly item in the world (I am a vegetarian and tree hugger) but it makes taking care of your incontinent parent so much less creepy!

I don't know why I never thought of these, but being able to grab some gloves makes wiping a poopy less of a trauma inducing event and more of a “just cleaning up back here” kind of thing!

MedPride Powder-Free Nitrile Exam Gloves, Medium, Box/100

Gowns

Impervious Gowns

I know, wearing a full-fledged, neck to toe gown may seem like overkill, but hear me out. One of the things that makes me totally grossed out is being poop-adjacent.

So I would clean up Mom, spend a couple of minutes hanging out and then have to strip down, throw my clothes in the washer and take a long hot shower to get the heeby-jeebys off of me. Wearing a full gown takes that step away because you simply do a pop-on, pop-off into the garbage bag and you are ready to go!

HALYARD Impervious Gowns, Disposable, Plastic Film, Universal, Blue 69490 (Pack of 15)

Disposable White Washcloths

Disposable White Washcloths

When we first started with the cleaning I thought that I could just use regular washcloths, like that I already had in my house. But seriously, once you have doused one of your good ones in poop, it is hard to think of it the same way again while taking a relaxing spa-like shower.

Buying a stack of these is WAY less expensive than running to Macy's every time you have a cleanup in the house. The nice thing is that for a little mess, you can just throw them into the washer with some bleach. For a big mess, just throw them out with the gloves and booties!

Soft Touch Linen Terry Cloth Face Towels, 12 x 12-Inch, Pack of 60, White

NOTE: These washcloths are the NUMBER ONE recommended thing that I get emails from readers about! Having the ability to throw them in the washing machine and bleach the snot out of them is truly a game changer!

Additional Resource : How To Get The Smell of Poop Out of Your Laundry

Hands Free Hand Sanitizer

Hands Free Hand Sanitizer

I KNOW, it can start to feel like your house is a convalescent home, but hear me out on this one! Being able to do a shot of hand sanitizer without touching anything else can save you from having to clean your entire sink in addition to the whole toilet and floor area.

Take off your gloves, put everything in a garbage bag and then give yourself a little refreshing shot of super clean hands!

Purell Advanced Hand Sanitizer Foam TFX Starter Kit

Non Cream, Non Gel Bleach Cleaner

Lysol Bleach Cleaner

If you have only used bleach cleaner on your counters or toilet to date, you might not know that the current fad of “gel” bleach cleaners is slippery as heck on a floor.

The first time I used one I squirt, squirt, squirted it around, rubbed it with a paper towel and then almost fell on my ass when I slipped on the “gel” residue left behind.

Cleaning up poop off the floor or toilet is not a fun job, but using a plain jane, industrial strength cleaner that isn't slippery makes it so much better!

LYSOL Brand 78914CT Power White & Shine Multi-Purpose Cleaner with Bleach, 32 Oz Spray Bottle (Case of 12)

Note, there is a kind of bacteria called Clostridium difficile or C. diff that live in poop. They can be spread when a person has been hospitalized, taken antibiotics or isn't good at washing their hands after going potty, like many older people are wont to do.

While I am a tree hugger and hate using bleach, I know this is not a time for white vinegar and cold water, using small amounts of bleach strategically will help keep my family safer from germs!

According to the Mayo Clinic's C. diff page, “all surfaces should be carefully disinfected with a product that contains chlorine bleach. C. difficile spores can survive routine cleaning products that don't contain bleach.”

You know all that poop you are touching? Could have these creepy crawlys so get you some bleach!

No Touch Floor Steam Cleaner

Shark Steam Cleaner

This one is kind of a “bonus” one, but also is a great tool for when you are doing a ton of floor cleaning. Of course, do the bleach cleaner for your first pass, but then hit the floor with a steam blast.

The nice thing about this cleaner is that you don't have to touch the pad, you can just plop it into the washer without having to touch poopy pads.

When I started I was using a cute little steamer that worked great when I was doing kitchen messes, but which did not seem so nice when I was having to touch pads that had touched poopy floors!

Shark Genius Hard Floor Cleaning System

Products To Help Caregivers Deal With Poop Wrapup

If you are reading this post you are probably in the same situation that I found myself in! NO ONE is happy to have to clean up incontinent family members, but we still want to keep ourselves safe and keep our houses clean and germ free.

For real, if this is a problem in your house, spend some money to make the whole process less heinous.

I was really getting mad at Mom when I felt like I had to touch poop without gloves and proper products, but now cleaning up poop is a joy (seriously joking, but sucks a little less!)

Poop FAQs

Since writing this post a couple of years ago, I have talked to SO MANY people dealing with loved ones who are incontinent.

There isn't a whole lot of practical info out that we can reference (most of it comes from the medical field and is great for in hospital settings, but us at home caregivers are struggling to find real world solutions for our home care!

One Funny Keyword I Rank For Is “Granny Pooping”

Okay, we all know that granny actually pooping is not fun, but seriously, if we can't laugh we will all just fall down on that bathroom floor sobbing.

Seriously I think that the question is, why do the elderly poop their pants so much?

While there are various reasons, I attended a conference about dementia and one of the speakers talked about the fact that when people's brains change with dementia, their ability to understand their bodily functions diminishes.

So their body is not telling them they need to poop or even that they have already pooped.

Here is a link to the official version of why they lack bowel control (but just knowing that Mom wasn't doing it deliberately helped me be less grumpy) Toilet problems, continence and dementia source Alzheimers.org.uk

How To Clean Dried Poop Off The Floor

I am an expert at this one! AND it has a super simple solution that will make you smack your head and go “duh”, of course!

My first round of poop cleaning is NOT the bleach kind, I use Grove products that smell nice (I like to smell rosemary while I am cleaning poop!)

Squirt, squirt, squirt your cleaning fluid all over that poopy part and let it sit for a couple of minutes.

THEN get a paint scraper from the garage and scrape it off the tiles… what?!?! That is so darn easy to do!

That scraper will have loads of germs on it, so don't put it back in circulation, instead clean it off with bleach and then keep it in your bathroom for the next time you need to clean up poop!

Nancy L Chastain

Sunday 2nd of January 2022

Thank you so much - I am grateful someone understands and has been thru it already. I knew I couldn't be the only one. However, I do have one question Do I need to bleach out my washing machine every time I clean poopy clothes for my mother-in-law?

Why Won't Your Alzheimers or Dementia Parent Take Showers · Artsy Fartsy Life

Thursday 9th of December 2021

[…] this is going to be a little graphic, but here goes. Mom had poop all down the back of her legs when I cracked and insisted that she HAD TO GET […]

Jan goble

Sunday 14th of November 2021

I wish there was some kind of thing to wipe my husbands butt. I thought of something like a brush size thing with paper to wipe his butt while he bends over for me. So I don’t have to reach in with toilet paper several times.

Tara Jacobsen

Sunday 14th of November 2021

I haven't heard of something like that... hmmm could you use more of a baby wipe or wet toilet paper wipe? When mom is really bad I have a bucket of soapy water and a stack of the white washcloths. That works for me because after the "main wipe" it is easier to clean up with a cloth than toilet paper.

Marguerite

Friday 12th of November 2021

I've put under pads on couch whenever my mom sits on. However there a problem with leaky diapers and the couch need to be clean up. But I was thinking of getting Bissell cleaner for pets. Or any other suggestions would help.

Thanks

Tara Jacobsen

Friday 12th of November 2021

That is a great idea... our chair that mom sits in has a slight smell. I use Natures Miracle to eat the urine odor!

Cindy

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

Thank you for writing this article. I've been a caregiver for my mom for 4 years now but I've learned a thing or two from you. :-) Disposable gowns and inexpensive washcloths - who knew?? I'll probably make a bunch of washcloths from old towels or t-shirts instead of buying them. (Your amazon link says they are unavailable.) I purchase boxes of disposable gloves and member's mark washcloths (disposable) in bulk and those are both lifesavers!! One tip I can offer is to place a foot activated stainless waste bin with 2 layers of plastic bags (from the grocery store) next to the toilet for easy disposal of things. Thank you for your insight and sharing!!

Tara Jacobsen

Sunday 14th of November 2021

I love your idea for having a waste bin! So glad you got a couple of tips! For sure I have taken less showers now that I have the gown trick!

Tara Jacobsen

Sunday 24th of October 2021

That is such a good idea! Thanks for sharing... we all have to stick together!