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How should I collect and store a pee (urine) sample?

You should:

  • collect your pee (urine) sample in a completely clean (sterile) container
  • store it in a fridge in a sealed plastic bag if you can't hand it in straight away

Collecting a urine sample

Your doctor or another healthcare professional should give you a container and explain how you should collect the urine sample. 

You can collect a urine sample at any time of day, unless your GP or practice nurse advises you otherwise.

The types of urine sample you might be asked for include a random specimen, first morning specimen or timed collection.

To collect a urine sample you should:

  • label a sterile, screw-top container with your name, date of birth and the date
  • wash your hands 
  • start to pee and collect a sample of urine "mid-stream" in the container
  • screw the lid of the container shut
  • wash your hands thoroughly

Follow any other instructions your doctor has given you.

What is a mid-stream urine sample?

A mid-stream urine sample means you don't collect the first or last part of urine that comes out. This reduces the risk of the sample being contaminated with bacteria from:

  • your hands 
  • the skin around the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body

Storing a urine sample

If you can't hand your urine sample in within 1 hour, you should put the container in a sealed plastic bag then store it in the fridge at around 4C. Do not keep it for longer than 24 hours.

The bacteria in the urine sample can multiply if it is not kept in a fridge. If this happens, it could affect the test results.

What urine samples are used for?

Your GP or another healthcare professional may ask for a urine sample to help them diagnose or rule out certain health conditions.

Urine contains waste products that are filtered out of the body. If the sample contains anything unusual, it may indicate an underlying health problem.

Urine tests are most commonly done to check:

Find out more about operations, tests and procedures.

Further information

Page last reviewed: 27 August 2019
Next review due: 27 August 2022