Any material worn against human skin should be cleaned on a regular basis. Prosthetic liners, socks and prosthetic sockets pick up bacteria and dead skin cells, which can irritate the residual limb. Self-maintenance is crucial for any prosthetic wearer. Here are some tips on keeping prosthetic supplies clean and wearable:
- To clean a prosthetic socket, wipe the inside of the socket with a damp soapy cloth. Be sure to use a gentle soap. The cloth should only be mildly damp, so that excess water does not permeate the prosthetic components. Once a week you may apply rubbing alcohol to a paper towel and wipe the inside of the socket thoroughly. This is an excellent way to disinfect a socket. Make sure that the alcohol has fully evaporated prior to wearing the prosthesis. This is best done at night, so that the prosthesis can fully dry overnight. If the alcohol does not thoroughly dry, it can irritate the skin.
- Hand wash silicone liners remove the liner & turn it inside out. Hand-clean the inner portion of the liner using a mild soap. Rinse the liner well to remove soap residue. Dry the liner gently with a towel, in a patting motion. Turn the liner right side out again and hang on a drying stand, or lie on a counter. This should be done nightly.
- Hand-wash prosthetic socks in cool water and gentle soap. Some socks may be machine washed on gentle but should not be placed in a heated dryer for drying as this may cause the socks to shrink or deform. Let the socks air-dry.
- If the prosthetic foot shell becomes dirty or stained, try using Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser.
- If a prosthetic protective skin cover becomes dirty or stained, gently wipe with a damp cloth and dry carefully.
- Remember, keeping prosthetic components clean reduces foul odors and reduces skin-irritating bacteria. This type of maintenance will preserve the condition of the prosthetic components and help avoid premature wear and tear.
It is also impotant to clean and inspect the residual limb every night.