Cleaning & Disinfecting Products
Soaps & detergents are not the same as disinfectants. It is important to understand how these two groups of products work and to use them appropriately.
- Soaps & 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 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. In general, disinfectants must be applies to already cleaned surfaces and allowed to remain in contact with the surface for a minimum period of time in order to effective.
Choosing Detergents and Disinfectants for the Home
When making the choice of a particular product for your foster home, it is necessary to understand the active ingredients, strength, required contact time, effect against typical shelter diseases and any potential side effects.
You also will want to check on the product’s availability, since there are many products but (with the exception of standard household bleach) very few can be bought at the grocery store, are safe for felines and effective against common diseases. For this reason, we recommend using a basic dish soap and water wash followed by thorough rinsing and then disinfecting with diluted bleach.
Using Bleach as a Disinfectant
The recommended dilution of standard non-color safe 5.25% household bleach for most agents of disease is 1-part bleach to 32 parts water (1/2 cup bleach to 1-gallon water). Bleach needs to be mixed fresh daily. The recommended contact time is 10 minutes. Bleach is then rinsed off and the surface allowed to dry.
Do Not Use
Phenol-based products are known to be toxic to cats and should not be used. If unsure about a product, a good rule of thumb is to avoid if the name contains “sol”, such as Lysol.