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Policy#: 529-347

Title: ANIMAL USE PROCEDURE: Monitoring the Effectiveness of Manual Sanitation

Effective: 3/12/2024


I: Background and Purpose:

The Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals indicates, "The frequency and intensity of cleaning and disinfection should depend on what is needed to provide a healthy environment for an animal.” This policy aims to ensure that equipment and instruments used with research animals are sanitized appropriately before and after animal use and that the efficacy of that sanitation is verified.

II: Policy

A) General Information:

Equipment that comes into direct contact with animals and cannot be sanitized in a cage or rack washer, such as most behavioral apparatus, must be sanitized by hand washing. 

B) Responsibility:

·       The Principal Investigator must ensure all equipment (caging, behavior, imaging, stereotaxic apparatus, feeders, sipper tubes, etc.) used with laboratory animals is sanitized with each use.

·       The equipment must have a surface that can be effectively sanitized and not be made of porous material; wooden surfaces are unacceptable unless painted with a smooth, non-porous material.

·       For disinfection, the laboratory should develop an SOP that describes:

o   Appropriate PPE and any other relevant safety procedures.

o   The contact time of disinfectant and appropriate removal of residual chemicals on surfaces.

C) Assessing the Efficacy of Sanitation:

According to the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, “Whether the sanitation process is automated or manual [e.g., hand washing], regular evaluation of sanitation effectiveness should be performed.” 

The Guide also indicates that the test can be: “microbiologic culture, the use of organic material detection systems (e.g., adenosine triphosphate [ATP] bioluminescence), and/or by confirming the removal of artificial soil applied to equipment surfaces before washing.”

The IACUC Office completes ATP testing during semiannual inspections. All laboratory equipment used with animals must be swabbed to determine the efficacy of laboratory sanitation procedures. If an item is ineffectively sanitized, a collaborative evaluation of the laboratory sanitation procedures will be scheduled with the IACUC and the Principal Investigator to determine the best sanitation method. Once selected, the efficacy must be tested again.

The Office of the Campus Veterinarian or the IACUC Office ( may be contacted for assistance and consultation regarding the sanitation method.

III: References:

Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals, (Guide) Current edition


Created on 11/16/20. Revisions: 02/12/2024