The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Chemical Screening of Urine by Reagent Strip. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Reagent Strip Procedure: Manual or Semi-Automated Methods

  1. Using a fresh, well-mixed uncentrifuged urine, hold the reagent strip by the opposite end from the test areas and dip the stick into the specimen so that all test areas are immersed in the specimen. Remove the stick immediately. Prolonged immersion in the sample may wash out the test reagents.
  2. Hold strip in a horizontal position and run the edge of the strip against the rim of the urine container or touch the long edge of the strip to absorbent towel or gauze to remove excess urine (do not blot the strip).
  3. If you are using a dipstick reader, place the strip immediately onto the tray of the reader.
  4. Replace the cap on the container to prevent deterioration of remaining strips.
The video on this page demonstrates correct technique when a dipstick reader is used.
If you are reading the tests manually, proceed with these instructions. Each laboratory may have a slightly different urinalysis procedure for manual chemical reagent strips. However, the procedure below is a general version that should apply to most laboratories.
  1. Maintain the strip in a horizontal position to prevent mixing of reagent chemicals and observe the reagent pads at the specified time periods as indicated on the chemical reagent strip container or procedure. Color changes that occur after the stated maximum read time are not valid.
  2. Hold the strip close to the chart and compare the colors to read the results. A good light source facilitates accurate reading.
  3. Carefully record results on pre-printed worksheets upon observation of each reagent pad result.