Laundry and Washing

 

What can be laundered?

  • Towels
  • Bedding, blankets and sheets
  • Fabric toys
  • Leashes and collars
  • Scrubs, aprons and other clothing

Before putting it in the washing machine:

Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – Gown or lab coat, gloves.
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  • In case of heavily contaminated objects: remove as much organic material (dirt and feces) as possible before putting into the machine. Clumps of hair and feces can retain germs.
  • Do not overload the machine; this is very important for efficient laundering. A properly-sized load is important for the load to be mechanically cleaned, and for the soap to be effective.

What to clean with?

  • Soap (any commercial laundry detergent)

Dry in a dryer

Drying is the most important tool for killing any germs that may be left after washing. The heat is necessary and very efficient in killing germs. The following precautions should be taken:

 

  • Do not overload the dryer.
  • All laundry should be completely dry before folding and putting away.
  • Clean machine and wall vent filters between loads.
  • DO NOT HANG TO DRY.

When to discard rather than launder

The following germs are very easily spread and a good laundry protocol will not kill all of them; but more importantly the transport and handling of this dirty laundry may easily result in contamination of other areas and further spread of the disease.

 

Discard when the following are suspected or confirmed:

 

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Feline Panleukopenia
  • Ringworm (Dermatophytosis)
  • Coccidia

Other pertinent points:

  • Have a clear separation between clean and dirty laundry. These should not be in contact with each other.
  • Separate “surgical laundry” (surgical gowns and drapes) from the bedding and toys.
  • Change disposable gown or lab coat after handling heavily soiled laundry, before handling any other animals or the clean laundry

Dish Washing

  • Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) – gloves, and a plastic or rubber apron.
  • Commercial high heat dishwasher preferred (because of high temperature and mechanical cleaning, these are generally sufficient even for Parvovirus/Panleukopenia).
  • If washing dishes by hand, WASH before disinfecting.
  • Separate dishes, toys and litter pans and clean in that order.
  • Use stainless steel or disposable dishes and litter pans if at all possible.
  • Ensure that all dishes are thoroughly rinsed of all detergents and disinfectants (excluding Prevail) before storage or being reused.

Power Washers

Power washers have the potential to aerosolize harmful germs. This is particularly true of Parvovirus and several zoonotic infections, which by inhalation (versus oral contact) can cause more severe and rapid disease. Power washers should only be used when animals are not present. Staff using power washers also need protection (goggles and masks) from inhaling aerosolized pathogens.

Foot Baths

DO NOT USE THESE. Foot baths become quickly contaminated by organic matter, reducing the efficacy of disinfectants.

Footwear

  • Appropriate PPE consists of impermeable shoe covers, agri-boots or rubber boots.
  • Footwear worn at work must not be worn outside the Centre, and regular street footwear must not be worn in the Centre.
  • Footwear for all staff and volunteers in the Centre must have a closed toe, completely covering the foot, be easily cleaned, have a non-slip tread and non-porous soles.

Outdoor areas and other places that are impossible to completely disinfect

  • Contamination of hard-to-disinfect areas is prevented through quarantine and prophylactic treatment (vaccination, deworming etc.).
  • Outdoor areas of gravel (weather permitting): Flush with plenty of water, allowing area to dry thoroughly between bouts of irrigation. Prevail is a good product to have on hand to attempt to disinfect outdoor areas.
  • There is no guarantee you will eliminate all the germs by this method, as it is unlikely you will be able to fully coat every surface of gravel. However, reducing the amount of contamination will likely help.
  • Because prolonged contact time may be helpful, allow at least a couple of hours after application before irrigating an outdoor area.
  • There is limited disinfection of grassy areas therefore the animals allowed onto grass must be the healthiest and best protected (e.g. adoptable adults).
  • After removing all gross organic material, concrete outdoor surfaces can be cleaned with a detergent and water solution that is scrubbed onto the complete concrete surface. It is then rinsed with clean water and either allowed to drain or squeegeed to remove standing water. A disinfectant (such as the one being used in indoor dog areas) is then applied thoroughly to obtain a full disinfection wet contact time (as per manufacturer's recommendations).