We have a responsibility to keep our facilities clean and sanitary for the pets in our care, as well as for staff and clients. On one hand, we don’t want to be exposed to noxious chemicals several times a day as there are many studies that link long-term use of such products to chronic health concerns. On the other, we need to be thorough. Any facility should choose at least two different types of disinfectants that are alternated. It will help to prevent contagions becoming resistant to one disinfectant in particular.
It Begins With Cleaning
Cleaning removes the most common vectors of transmission for contagions. Contagions are bacteria, viruses, and spores that have the potential to spread disease. They are biological in nature and common vectors for their transmission include hair, dander, dirt, blood, urine, and feces. Cleaners do not necessarily disinfect. You need a disinfectant to disable the contagion to prevent cross contamination. But disinfectants work better on clean surfaces.
What Are Your Options For Cleaning And/Or Disinfecting?
To efficiently clean the air without neurochemicals, air circulation fans, and salt lamps are effective. Effective air circulation needs intake and outtake fans. The larger the facility, the more complicated this becomes and you may need to hire an HVAC company to install a system. Salt lamps neutralize positively charged bacteria, dust, and pollen when they are heated by lamp or candle. The heat attracts water in the air and separates the salt ions. There is now more loose negatively charged chloride ions that can bind with those positively charged bacteria in the air. That’s the flaking you see on the counter around salt lamps.
Air cleaners do not disinfect.
10% bleach kills everything. Not 9.9 %. Higher concentrations are not more effective. It is very corrosive and toxic. Use with safety gear.
Chlorohexidine Based Disinfectant
Effective disinfectant that kills most everything. But not 100% everything.
These spray cleaners utilize enzymes to break down bacteria and dirt. In addition, they penetrate porous surfaces such as grout, floor and wall seams.
Essential oils such as Lemon, Wild Orange, and Eucalyptus are great for cleaning. You can find many cleaning recipes online. Essential oils will leave a residue when dried. They should not be used around cats, as cats cannot metabolize most essential oils.
50/50 Vinegar to Water Mix
Vinegar is mildly acidic and as such has anti-bacterial properties. However, the EPA does not list it as a disinfectant. Vinegar is also abrasive and breaks up dirt and oils. If you want it to smell better, then add some orange or lemon rinds to the bottle. You can add essential oils as well, but make sure any cats do not have access to those surfaces. Oils may leave a residue that can be absorbed through cat’s pads.
One cup of hydrogen peroxide to a gallon of water can be used as a cleaner. Hydrogen peroxide is listed as antibacterial and antiviral from the EPA. In order to take advantage of those disinfecting properties it must:
- Be undiluted in the brown bottle. Once opened or used in clear containers will start the degradation process. Hydrogen peroxide will turn into water.
- Remain on the surface for 20 minutes.
Portable Steam Cleaners
The reservoir is filled with water and the steam cleaner heats the water hot enough to produce steam. Unlike many liquid cleaners, a steam cleaner can get into porous surfaces such as grout and floor and wall seams.
Plain old soap and water as it removes the biological that may cause transmission of disease when washing our hands and rinsing down the tub in between pets.
Store Bought Cleaning Products
As cleaning products are not for human consumption, the terms “Green” or “Natural” may not mean much as the terms are not regulated. There may be “greenwashing” going on the label. Greenwashing is a term used to describe a product as natural and healthy, when in reality it’s not. It sounds good, but that’s it. Nothing more than marketing. It’s important to read labels and visit websites. The EPA has a program called Safer Choice. In order to be on their list, manufacturers must follow strict guidelines. You can look up companies at https://www.epa.gov/saferchoice/productsto easily find safer alternatives.
Quaternary Ammonium Products
Aka Quats are very effective against most everything and should be one of your two disinfectant choices. Brand names usually include “ 256” in the name.
Undiluted 70 % Rubbing Alcohol
Rubbing alcohol is considered a solvent and dissolves dirt and oils. It is used in hospitals. Even though cats cannot metabolize alcohol, it dries almost instantly and without residue, therefore it can be used around cats once the alcohol has dried. If used as a disinfectant, the surface must remain wet for 10 minutes.
This technology has come a long way. There are smaller units for equipment and reasonably priced units that will disinfect an entire shop.
Many of these products require the use of specific safety equipment, directions, and OSHA will have requirements you need to follow. If you are not sure if you are OSHA compliant, contact them and request an inspection. If you request it, rather than a spot inspection, they will give you time to become compliant.
Resources For You
Mary is a business, wellness, and safety strategist who specializes in the pet industry. She has contributed to the professional pet industry as a consultant, speaker, writer, and progressive leader. And has been recognized by the pet industry as such.
You can contact Mary by dropping a message or email her at Mary@PawsitivelyPretty.com