Tracheostomy Care


A tracheostomy helps you breathe. But the tracheostomy tube, which goes through the hole in your neck and into your windpipe, needs to stay clean and clear. Let's learn how to care for it properly.

Home care

When you first get a tracheostomy, your care team teaches you how to keep it clean. Then it's up to you to care for it every day. It's easier to do in front of the bathroom mirror. Wash your hands thoroughly and put on disposable gloves before you begin.

Cleaning the tube

There are different types of tracheostomy tubes. Some have an inner cannula that comes out for cleaning. Some have a disposable inner cannula that comes out and is replaced with a new one. Some tubes don't have an inner cannula at all. Follow the cleaning instructions for your tube.

Signs of infection

You also need to care for your skin. Take off the old gauze dressing. Throw it away. Look closely at the skin around the hole. Is it red or tender? Does it feel hard? Does it have a bad smell, or is it draining? These are signs of infection. If you see them, tell your doctor.

Cleaning your skin

Now, follow your doctor's instructions for cleaning your skin and the outer parts of the tracheostomy tube. Change the ties that hold the tube in place, and put a fresh piece of gauze under the neck plate.


When you're done, throw away your gloves and wash your hands. For more info, talk to your doctor.