Sample environmental cleaning and disinfection protocol

  1. Have all material safety data sheets or product safety data sheets for cleaning and disinfection materials available. Follow instructions for proper mixing, disposal, and PPE (e.g., gloves, eye protection). As able, ensure the area is well ventilated.
  2. Exam rooms and cages should be cleaned and disinfected immediately following use. Place signage at the room entry that it should not be used until cleaning and disinfection is completed.
  3. As applicable, remove all bedding and organic material (e.g., feces, feed, hair, linens, bandage, or other materials) and dispose in designated waste bin. Gloves should be worn during this procedure.
  4. Dry”-clean surfaces (e.g., sweeping, wiping with disposable microfiber cloth) to remove loose organic material.
  5. Wet”-clean surfaces with warm water and detergent. Scrubbing surfaces is often necessary to remove feces or bodily fluids, biofilms, and stubborn organic debris, especially in animal housing areas.
  6. Rinse with clean water. For all rinsing and product application procedures, care must be exercised to avoid overspray. High-pressure washing should be avoided. Higher pressures can help remove stubborn organic debris but may also force debris and organisms into crevices or porous materials, from which they can later emerge. Additionally, high-pressure washing causes aerosolization and overspray, which may spread organisms widely, even into previously uncontaminated areas.
  7. Allow the area to dry or manually do so. If excess water remains, subsequently applied disinfectants may be diluted to the point of inefficacy.
  8. Apply disinfectant solution at the indicated concentration and ensure the appropriate contact time (allotted time required for disinfectant to remain wet on the surface to kill the pathogens of interest; time is based on the product, concentration, and targeted pathogens but generally 5–10 min). Rinse thoroughly with clean water; this is especially important for disinfectants that leave a residue or for surfaces vulnerable to damage from the disinfectant. Always follow the disinfectant label for appropriate use, antimicrobial spectrum, concentration, and contact time. Click here for additional characteristics of certain disinfectants.
  9. Allow the treated area to dry as much as possible before reintroducing animals or reusing the area.
  10. In known contaminated or high-risk areas, a second application of a disinfectant with wide spectrum (e.g., accelerated hydrogen peroxide product) should be considered as a final decontamination step. Ensure appropriate contact time, rinse with clean water, and allow the treated area to dry, as stated above.

PPE, personal protective equipment.

These guidelines are supported by a generous educational grant from Virox Animal Health™.