Detailed Guide – How to Read a Urine Test Strip

Whether you want to test for bacterial infections or you are testing for pregnancy, knowing how to use and read and use a urine test strip is never a bad idea. 

Using a urine test strip is easy as it sounds, and you don’t need a medical doctor to help you do a urine test. However, if you are new to using a urine test strip, stick around because this article provides step-by-step instructions on how to use and read a urine test strip.

What is a Urine Test Strip?

Typically, A urine test strip is a specially treated paper strip dipped in a urine sample to help display diseases and health complications. 

When immersed in the urine, the strip changes colour, indicating bacterial infections, proteins, hemoglobin and nitrites. A urine test strip can be used at home or in a hospital.

How to Read a Urine Test Strip

Did you know you don’t need a medical professional to help interpret urine test strips results? You can do it all by yourself, without the help of your doctor. All you need to do is follow the following steps:

  •  Understand What You are Testing for

Before you start the Urine Testing, it is essential to understand the kind of results you want to achieve after the test. Do you want to test for dehydration, pregnancy, or an infection? Get a suitable Urine Test Strip depending on what you are trying for.

Commonly Used Urine Test Strip

  • Dehydration Urine Test Strip

 Those who wish to know their hydration status use urine test strips for hydration. The urine test strips for hydration are designed to measure the level of fluid intake in your body.

  • Pregnancy Urine Test Strips

These pregnancy urine test strips measure a hormone that only develops during pregnancy- The hormone (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin) develops two weeks after fertilization. The urine test should be done at the specified time.

  • UTI Urine Test Strips

They are mainly used to test for bacterial infections in adults. The urine test strips are primarily done at home.

  • Collect Urine Samples in a Sterile Cup

After getting a suitable urine test strip based on your desired results, Clean your hands, get your sterile cup ready, and wear gloves. Follow this guideline while collecting your urine sample.

  • Use a sterile cup and fresh urine for accurate results.
  • Make sure you directly pie on the cup. Transferring urine to a different container may tamper with the results.
  • Remove the container once you get the right amount of urine.
  • Slowly mix the urine through shaking or swirling, and wash your hands once you are done.
  • Dip Urine Test Strip in Sample Urine

For first-timers, take caution, not too deep the dipstick in the wrong side. Make sure you hold the thick end of the deep stick and submerge the other strip until urine covers all the test squares in the urine test strip. Allow the strip to get saturated, and slowly remove it from the urine. The urine test stripes have 5-7 test squares that change colour in the presence of a substance in the urine.

  • Soak Off Excess Urine

Once the urine has dripped off the urine test strip, an absorbent paper towel is used to absorb the excess urine. Make sure that you hold the test strip horizontally and avoid shaking it for more accurate results.


  • Read The Test Strip Results

If you think reading urine test strips results is complicated, reading this will completely change your mind. Even though medical practitioners mostly read test strips, ordinary people can also read them. It’s an easy step because you have a chart to guide you.

The test squares change their colours 2 minutes after the urine test strip is removed from the urine. However, different time specifications depend on what you are testing for.

  • Use a Colour Chart to Guide You

All urine test stripes have a colour chart that is used in the analysis of results. The charts can be in the product’s description or on a separate sheet. The analysis using the chart helps you know which substances are in your urine.

  • Read the Chart in a Sequential Order

The test squares should be read in order because the chart has different colour shades that show the amount level of the various substances in your urine.

  • Record Your Results

After comparing the colours using the charts, ensure that you record your results and seek medical assistance if pathogens are present in the urine.

As you have seen, reading urine test strips is easy. You only need to be cautious of contaminating the sample urine. The rest of the process is not rocket science if you have urine test strips and colour charts to help you do the analysis.