Sanitation Guidance Policy

Sanitization of Equipment (not sanitized by DLAR)


Sanitation of materials that come into direct contact with laboratory animals is required by federal regulations.  Effective sanitation generally requires both cleaning (the mechanical removal of organic debris) and disinfection (the removal or reduction of micro-organisms from surfaces) of contact surfaces and can be achieved via a variety of methods.  While most of the animal caging used on campus is sanitized with automated cagewash equipment, it may be necessary for certain items to be processed using alternative methods.  It is important that these methods are well defined and periodically evaluated to ensure that sanitation standards are met.  The purpose of this document is to provide guidance to investigators utilizing equipment that is not sanitized by DLAR.


  1. Sanitation of primary enclosures 

The primary enclosure encompasses all of the items used during housing, including the cage, wirebar lid, cage top, enrichment, and feeders/water bottles. 

    1. All items must be cleaned with soap and water to ensure removal of any visible organic debris including feces, food, and bedding.  Scraping or soaking may be required to remove dried or mineralized residues.
    2. All clean items must be treated with a chemical disinfectant at the appropriate concentration and contact time, as specified by the manufacturer.  Examples of appropriate sporicidal disinfectants utilized by DLAR include 10% bleach, Peroxigard, and LabSan CPQ.  Alcohol is NOT a sterilant or a high-level (sporicidal) disinfectant.
    3. Validation of established sanitation procedures must be performed annually.  Validation must also occur whenever procedures change.  DLAR utilizes ATP monitoring (i.e. CHARM swabs) and can coordinate with laboratories to perform this testing.  To evaluate sanitization efficacy, DLAR and the IACUC will coordinate to test all housing apparatuses via CHARM testing, to be coordinated during either PAM visits or semi-annual facility inspections.  Investigators can also contact DLAR to request CHARM testing if any procedures or equipment change within the lab.
    4. NOTE: It may be necessary to obtain sanitization guidance from the equipment manufacturer for sensitive materials.  If it is not possible to utilize a method that employs both cleaning and high-level disinfection, this must be described and justified in an approved IACUC protocol.
  1. Sanitation of other equipment 

Other equipment with direct animal contact may include anesthetic induction and euthanasia chambers, experimental equipment (e.g. elevated plus maze, behavioral chambers), and surgical platforms. 

  1. Contact surfaces should be wiped with a disinfectant after each animal or as often as experimental need allows. 
  2. Validation of these practices must be performed annually, and will be coordinated through PAM visits or semi-annual facility inspections similar to the methods described for primary enclosures mentioned above.


Approved: October 2020

Revised: November 2020