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Are You Familiar With the New Sanitization Guidelines?


Earlier this year, the Animal Care & Use Program introduced two new guidelines to help formalize the cleaning process for ALL equipment that does not go to cagewash (i.e., not cleaned by ULAM).

These guidelines were specifically developed as a resource to help Principal Investigators (PIs) and their labs remain consistent with guidance for equipment cleaning and sanitization as outlined in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals (Eighth Edition), which states, in part:

“The maintenance of environmental conditions conducive to health and well-being – involves bedding change (as appropriate), cleaning, and disinfection.

Cleaning removes excessive amounts of excrement, dirt, and debris, and disinfection reduces or eliminates unacceptable concentrations of microorganisms.

The goal of any sanitation program is to maintain sufficiently clean and dry bedding, adequate air quality, and clean cage surfaces and accessories.

The frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfection should depend on what is necessary to provide a healthy environment for an animal.”

(p. 69, Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals)

We anticipate that these guidelines will be especially relevant for labs who perform their own surgeries as well as groups who conduct behavioral studies.

If you have not yet done so, you are strongly encouraged to review both the Guidelines for Manual Sanitization of Caging and Equipment and the Guidelines for Validation of Mechanical and Manual Sanitization of Caging and Equipment to familiarize yourself with the procedures and expectations for conducting and submitting equipment sanitization testing.

Generally speaking, labs may continue to use whatever sanitization chemicals and materials they deem necessary as long as:

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The materials have been discussed with, and approved by, the facility’s ULAM Faculty Veterinarian IF they differ from those outlined in the new guidelines,

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Materials are used in accordance with all manufacturer instructions, and

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All objects and equipment being cleaned show at least a 90% reduction in Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) levels once sanitized

For more information, including a comprehensive list of suggested sanitizing solutions and dilutions, please review the new guidelines.

Detailed instructions on the proper procedures and validation techniques for ensuring that your equipment is appropriately sanitized, whether manually or mechanically, can be found in the second set of guidelines.

Have Additional Questions?

If you would like to request an in-person consultation/lab visit to discuss proper caging and equipment sanitization procedures, please email Animal Safety Coordinator Lisa Steiner at

For assistance with selecting the appropriate disinfectant and/or sanitization testing techniques, please reach out to your ULAM Faculty Veterinarian. If you don’t know your faculty veterinarian, send an email to and your question will be routed to the appropriate contact.

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