What is a Hospital Macerator?
What is a Hospital Macerator?
Posted On April 20th, 2020
Infection Prevention

A hospital macerator is a human waste disposal machine, found in sluice rooms (sometimes known as dirty utility rooms), designed to hygienically dispose of single-use pulp containers, human waste, toilet tissue and maceratable wipes. A macerator works by first saturating the contents of the machine with water and then breaking it down with cutter blades into a fine slurry. At the end of the cycle, the machine discharges this waste to the drain and the inside of the machine is rinsed with clean water.

Hospital macerators are the most hygienic method of human waste disposal. The alternative method is to use plastic or stainless-steel bedpans, that have to be cleaned by hand or in a bedpan washer, before being reused by other patients. This is an unpleasant task for healthcare professionals, and as many bedpan washers do not reach the optimal temperature to thoroughly disinfect and eradicate any harmful microorganisms, it also puts patients at risk of cross-infection.

Using macerators and single-use items ensures that every bedpan and its contents can be safely disposed of, whilst a brand new bedpan can be used for the next patient. The use of disposables has been further advocated by the World Health Organization during the COVID-19 pandemic who stated that “equipment should be single-use and disposable” to minimise the risk of transmission.1

What can I put inside a hospital macerator?

The only items that should be disposed of in a pulp macerator are:

Single-use pulp products such as disposable bedpans, washbowls and urinals. Be careful which pulp you use, as pulp varies by manufacturer, with some manufacturers not using fully biodegradable materials or following strict quality standards. At Vernacare we have high quality standards, to ensure every product is safe and effective to use

Human waste including faeces, vomit and urine

Maceratable wipes

Be certain that any wipes you dispose of are maceratable and do not contain plastics such as polypropylene. If the wipes do contain plastic, they will not break down in the macerator or sewer system like toilet roll and pulp do, consequently causing drain blockages


A dry granule with rapid absorption properties which can be used with pulp items to stabilise bodily fluids and other medical waste into an easily transportable gel, that makes carrying items to the sluice room easier

Toilet tissue

Placing other items such as personal protective equipment and non-maceratable wipes in the macerator can cause drain blockages. To minimise the misuse of these machines, Vernacare provide visual posters which can be positioned close by informing users of what can and can’t be inserted.

What are the benefits of a Vernacare hospital macerator?

Not all hospital macerators are the same. Vernacare pulp macerators all incorporate our patented Smartflow™ technology to help ensure that your drains remain free-flowing and do not become clogged. Smartflow™ uses a unique closed-drum system, which ensures that water is pumped into a completely sealed drum and is not released until the end of the cycle. This differs to other macerators available, which use an open drum system.

The benefits of our closed-drum system include:

Waste is only released to the drain once it has been broken down into a fine consistency, ensuring no dry or bulky material can enter the drains

At the end of the cycle, the waste is discharged at a velocity 4x faster than alternative open drum machines, helping to ensure your drains do not get blocked

Vernacare hospital macerator range

With a range of options to suit your facilities needs, find out which macerator would be best suited to you.

Vortex Air: The newest platform in macerator technology - the Vortex Air is Vernacare's latest macerator. Combining all the best features of our previous macerators, the Vortex Air encompasses smarter diagnostics, sustainable design, and superior performance. It is able to macerate up to six small medical pulp items in one cycle.

Compact+: The Compact+ has an easy to clean aesthetic design, which helps to save space in crowded sluice rooms. Our Compact+ macerator is able to dispose of up to 4 pulp items in a 3-minute cycle.

Vortex Air, Human Waste Disposal, Infection Prevention