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Disinfecting dishes.

Species: Cat
Breed: n/a
Age: Less than 3 mon
Hello Marie,

I am contacting you again to ask a question about a part of my cat cleaning protocols that I recently set up to prevent and manage diseases such as parvo and upper respiratory diseases such as calicivirus. I tried calling my local vet but he is way too busy to answer a question in depth. My question is about dishes protocol.

For dishes: I have heard that soaking dishes in a 4:128 dilution of bleach is best after dishes are pre-cleaned with dawn dish soap. However, wouldn't that require getting a tote big enough to completely soak litter boxes and bowls in and adding enough water for that purpose? I can arrange for that, but wouldn't that require 5 gallons of water and 25 ounces of bleach? Just want to be certain.

What I am doing alternatively (let me know if this actually is a good idea or not) is pre-cleaning dishes then I spray them with a power washer that is attached with a 1:32 bleach sprayer. I bleach all the dishes and let them set for 10 minutes then I rinse them and let them dry for several hours. Occasionally I will wet them again before rinsing if they dry too fast.

The bad thing is the humane society I work for have a very tight budget so I usually clean 50-70 cats per day in addition to dishes, sweeping and mopping and more alone, so time is a factor if you think of a more time efficient and cost effective method or can tell me the one I'm using now is appropriate.

Thank you much!


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

It sounds like you are doing a good job in trying to prevent the spread of viruses. I generally recommend a 1:32 solution of bleach which is the same thing as 4:128. To accomplish this, you would use 1/2 a cup of bleach for each gallon of water you are using.

According to one article that I read, a good thorough clean with dish detergent will get rid of 99% of the virus that is present on the dishes. They then recommend exactly what you are doing - bleaching them, and then letting them sit for 10 minutes. I think the drying step is a good one too. It is not a bad idea to give the dishes a rinse again once dried as any leftover bleach could be caustic to the animals' mouths.

I wish I could give you a more efficient schedule but I think that what you are doing is excellent and I wouldn't change it.

Keep up the good work!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.