Cleaning and disinfection

In order to keep your farm and animals safe from disease, cleaning and disinfection are essential.   Dirt around the farm provides protection for disease causing organisms.  Cleaning removes this dirt, allowing disinfectants to kill these organisms. Therefore, cleaning and disinfection must always be done together.


Specific guidance

  • Regular careful cleaning prevents build up of dirt.
  • Buildings should be depopulated before cleaning and disinfecting, then adequately rested before re-stocking.
  • Pay particular attention to areas of animal traffic, for example pens, gates and passageways.
  • Carry out cleaning in good light so that you can see what you are doing.
  • Allow proper drying out with adequate ventilation.
  • When cleaning vehicles:
    • pay particular attention to compartments where stock are transported
    • also pay attention to wheel arches, mudguards and mud flaps
    • keep vehicle cabs clean
    • use disposable mats, or mats which can be disinfected, in the cab footwell
    • disinfectant cloths/wipes can be used to disinfect all areas of the cab after cleaning
    • don’t re-enter vehicle with dirty clothing or footwear


Important points regarding disinfectants

  • Disinfectants are rendered ineffective by dirt or other organic material so for contaminated surfaces cleaning (physical +/- detergent) should be carried out first before disinfectants are used.
  • Not all disinfectants kill all disease-causing organisms.
  • Disinfectants must be used at specific dilution rates to be effective.
  • Disinfectants need time (contact time) on surfaces to allow them to be effective. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  • Discuss your farm’s everyday disinfection needs with your vet, as part of your health and biosecurity plans.
  • Defra issues a list of approved disinfectants, detailing the diseases they protect against and appropriate dilution rates.
  • In the event of a disease outbreak, your disinfection needs may change.