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Keeping Your Foster Home Clean!

Spring is here in El Paso Foster Families! Along with the blooming flowers and singing birds come pesky viruses and bacteria that plague our foster animals AND foster homes!

Spring is here in El Paso Foster Families! Along with the blooming flowers and singing birds come pesky viruses and bacteria that plague our foster animals AND foster homes! You and I know this is an inevitable part of foster care; animals get sick and need to be cleaned up after. But how do we clean correctly? How do we disinfect? And what the heck is the difference anyway?

Cleaning and Disinfecting Agents

Soaps and detergents are not the same as disinfectants. It’s important to understand how these two groups of products work and to use them appropriately:

Soaps & Detergents

Soaps and detergents are cleaning agents that work by suspending dirt and grease and breaking up organic matter. Soaps do not necessarily kill germs. Dish and laundry soaps are common examples of detergents.

Disinfectants

Disinfectants are chemical solutions that kill germs. The particular germs killed depend on the ingredients in the disinfectant. While some disinfectants serve a dual purpose and have some cleansing properties, many disinfectants do not effectively remove dirt and grease. Bleach is an example.

Cleaning & Disinfecting Objects and Surfaces in Isolation Area

Surface/Object

Suggested Procedure

Special Steps

When new animals are introduced (between animals) Thorough cleaning and disinfection between animal residents  
High contact surfaces Daily cleaning with a detergent and weekly disinfection  
Visibly soiled objects/surfaces Cleaning with a detergent and disinfection  
Litter boxes and food bowls  Daily cleaning and weekly disinfection Sanitize food bowls separately from litter boxes
All regular surfaces  Weekly cleaning and disinfection Increase frequency to daily or more when infection is present
Laundry Remove organic material before laundering Use soap and bleach Machine or sunlight to dry Take caution in moving soiled items to washing machine to prevent environmental contamination Throw away any heavily soiled items

If you were lent items from the HSEP Foster Program to use for your foster animals, it is vitally important that you bring these items back so that we can make sure they are properly disinfected in between uses (litter boxes, crates, pens, etc).

orange paw print

There are some other ways you can help cut back on the disease spread in your foster household!

Try to follow these practices:

  • Setting up an isolation area for foster animals
  • Practicing good hand hygiene before and after handing animals or objects in the isolation area
  • Cleaning and disinfecting items in the isolation area using the appropriate agents

The Isolation Area

Your area should include the following components:

  • Isolation from other pets in home
  • Surfaces that are easy to disinfect (vinyl or tile floor, not carpet)
  • Pet-proof
  • Stocked with supplies that are dedicated to the area and easy to sanitize
  • A good, ideally separate source of ventilation  Low human traffic

Hand Hygiene

Clean hands before and after handling animals or items in the animals’ environment

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers:

  • Can be used when hands are not visibly soiled
  • Provide a rapid kill of most transient microorganisms but are not recommended when risks of ringworm or panleukopenia are significant

Follow These Steps

  1. Ensure hands are visibly clean (if soiled, follow hand washing steps)
  2. Apply 1 to 2 full pumps of product 3. Spread product over all surfaces of hands, concentrating on fingertips, between fingers, back of hands, and base of thumbs (most commonly missed areas) 4. Rub hands until product is dry, for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds
  3. Spread product over all surfaces of hands, concentrating on fingertips, between fingers, back of hands, and base of thumbs (most commonly missed areas)
  4. Rub hands until product is dry, for a minimum of 15 to 20 seconds

Soap and water:

  • Recommended when significant soiling or risk is present

Follow These Steps

  1. Wet hands with warm (not hot) water
  2. Apply liquid or foam soap 1-2 full pumps
  3. Vigorously lather all surfaces of hands for a minimum of 15 seconds
    1. Removal of transient or acquired bacteria requires a minimum of 15 seconds mechanical action
    2. Pay particular attention to fingertips, between fingers, backs of hands and base of the thumbs (most commonly missed areas)
  4. Dry hands thoroughly

These routines are very important to implement into your foster home! Keep up a stringent cleaning routine and keep your home guarded against microscopic intruders!

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