Poultry Service Industry Biosecurity Guide
Appendix 3: Cleaning and Disinfection

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The cleaning and disinfection process for vehicles and equipment used on poultry premises comprises six steps.

  1. Dry cleaning
  2. Wet cleaning
  3. Rinsing
  4. Drying
  5. Disinfection
  6. Weathering

Step 1: Dry cleaning

Remove large accumulations of organic debris from all surfaces of equipment and vehicles (including the vehicle's undercarriage and interior) with brushes and/or scrapers, or other tools.

Step 2: Wet cleaning

Select a location with the following characteristics:

  • supply of hot water and electricity;
  • hard surface (concrete, asphalt, gravel);
  • appropriate distance from environmentally sensitive areas (for example, streams, aquifers, animal habitat, storm sewers); or
  • area for wash water and disinfectants that can be discharged to an appropriate collection system.

Using low pressure, thoroughly wet the undercarriage and other more heavily soiled areas of vehicles and equipment with a solution of hot water and a detergent. (Dish detergent is suitable.) Wash the vehicles and equipment from the top down until the surfaces are visibly clean. When cleaning the lower portions of vehicles and equipment, ensure debris and material from these surfaces or ground is not re-deposited on the surfaces.

Note: Soaking the surfaces with hot water and detergent reduces the time and effort required for cleaning and inactivates some bacterial and viral pathogens.

Inclement weather:

Wet cleaning and disinfection is best performed in a building or shed to prevent freezing of surfaces, pumps, water lines, etc. Alternatively, temporary shelters can be erected and supplemental heat provided, using portable heaters; ensure gas-fuelled heaters are properly vented.

Add propylene glycol to pressure washers to prevent freezing of solutions: the volume of propylene glycol required depends on the temperature.

Best Practices

Avoid using Ethylene Glycol (antifreeze).

It is highly toxic to animals.

Step 3: Rinsing

Rinse the surfaces with water to remove any remaining detergent and debris. Use low to medium pressure at this time. Rinse surfaces from the top down. Move the vehicle and equipment ahead to a dry area.

Step 4: Drying

Allow all surfaces to thoroughly dry. Supplemental heat may be required in cold and/or wet weather.

Step 5: Disinfection

Select, mix, and apply disinfectants according to the manufacturer's recommendations on the label. It is important that the appropriate concentration and contact time are observed in addition to other factors. (Refer to the information on "Selecting a Disinfectant," provided below.)

Many disinfectants can be applied using a hand-operated orchard sprayer or pressure washer. Apply the disinfectant from the bottom up. Ensure the surfaces are visibly wet to the point of run-off of the disinfectant. The disinfectant may need to be reapplied as the surfaces must remain wet during the required contact time that is listed on the disinfectant label.

Note: The effectiveness of disinfectants is reduced in the presence of soil and other organic debris, and surfaces must be visibly clean prior to application.

Inclement Weather:

The effectiveness of disinfectants is reduced in cold weather, as the chemical reactions that are required slow down and, consequently, some disinfectants cannot achieve a sufficient enough "kill" of the pathogens. A decrease in disinfectant activity will be noted, even when temperatures drop below 15°C. When the temperatures are between 0°C and 5°C, increase the concentration and contact time. In general, by doubling the recommended concentration of disinfectant and extending the contact time to 1 hour, reapplying the disinfectant and keeping the surfaces of the equipment damp, the necessary reduction in pathogens can be achieved for some products (for example, bleach has been tested).

Note: It is important to contact the manufacturer of the disinfectant for directions on using their products in these conditions.

Use propylene glycol to prevent freezing of disinfectant solutions, as described under "Wet cleaning."

When applying a disinfectant in rainy weather, reapply the disinfectant during the contact period as the solution becomes diluted and is removed from the surfaces by rainwater. Apply disinfectant in a covered area or building.

Wear appropriate safety equipment when mixing and applying disinfectants; they may be hazardous in both concentrated and diluted forms. Gloves and goggles are recommended. Extra care is required when applying disinfectant in windy conditions.

After they have been mixed, many disinfectants in solution degrade rapidly, and fresh solutions should be mixed on a weekly basis. Contact the disinfectant manufacturer for advice regarding the appropriate time frame.

Disinfectants – Product regulation

Health Canada regulates the registration of disinfectants in Canada and provides a drug identification number (DIN) prior to their marketing; this number is listed on the disinfectant container.

Selecting a disinfectant

Disinfectants are evaluated by Health Canada, using strict criteria; however, efficacy is determined under controlled laboratory conditions, and using disinfectants on-farm requires that they be used according to the manufacturer's recommendations. Disinfectant selection is based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the following:

  • the chemical properties of the disinfectant, presence of other chemicals (soaps/detergents), and cleanliness of the surfaces to be disinfected;
  • the type(s) of organism targeted;
  • composition (wood, metal, rubber etc.) of surface to be disinfected;
  • temperature of surfaces and temperature of disinfectant;
  • method of application – contact time and concentration; and
  • characteristics of water used.

There are many factors that may affect the ability of a disinfectant to perform as indicated by the manufacturer. Choose broad spectrum registered disinfectants (DIN) with minimal toxicity, which are easy to apply and are effective under a variety of environmental conditions.

Step 6: Weathering

Weathering refers to the processes that follow the application of a disinfectant. After observing the applicable contact time, follow the manufacturer's recommendations on whether to rinse-off. It is advisable to allow surfaces to dry before using the equipment and/or vehicle for another task. Park vehicles and equipment in a clean and sunny location to take advantage of the disinfecting properties of sunlight.

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