Charcoal Swab

How to use a Charcoal Swab

Instructions for your do-it-yourself vaginal swabs. It is a good idea to read these instructions through before taking your swab.

Use the images and notes in the 9 steps below to help you to successfully take a vaginal swab.

Following discussion with your doctor you should have picked up 1 or 2 vaginal swabs. Each swab has a sample bag, a form, and a small rectangular label with a bar code on sticky-back paper. Do not mix up the samples/bags/forms/labels.

This guide is for a Charcoal Swab (the sample tube is long and the swab has a black handle). These swabs are used to test for thrush and/or BV.

swab pack

1 Prepare

This is what the pack looks like. 

Prepare yourself to take the swab(s). Ideally you need a clean, flat surface on which to place the parts of the pack.

peel open

2 Open Pack

Carefully open the swab packet just enough to show the top of the plastic sample tube and the black plastic swab handle.

remove sample tube

3 Remove Sample Tube

Remove the plastic sample tube. Leave the swab in the packaging for now.
break off lid

4 Remove Lid

Hold the tube firmly and twist off the white lid. Discard lid.
Ready to take swab

5 Ready to take Swab

Place the tube within easy reach; close to the swab.

take swab

6 Take Swab

Remove the swab from packaging. Hold it by the black handle, taking care not to touch the cotton bud end. Insert the cotton bud end of swab about 6 cm into your vagina and rotate it for 10 seconds.
place in tube

7 Place in Sample Tube

Remove and slide the swab all the way into the plastic tube.

8 Close and Add Label

Press until the lid is firmly on. After washing your hands, carefully stick on the correct label - lengthways around the sample tube. Try not to wrinkle the bar code.

9 Package up your Sample

Before moving on to take any other swabs, make sure you have stuck the label to the swab you have just taken.

Put it in the bag with the correct form and seal the bag so that you do not muddle up your swabs and forms.