University of Vermont

Healthy Farms - Healthy Agriculture

Boot Cleaning and Disinfection goose photo by Krista Cheney, link to home page

General Farm Biosecurity Practices—
Boot Cleaning and Disinfection

Farms set up footbaths with the goal of preventing mechanical transmission of pathogens among groups of animals. However, boot bath maintenance on most facilities is poor, with gross contamination by organic matter frequently observed. People commonly avoid stepping into boot baths or simply step through the bath without stopping to clean their boots.

boot cleaning station photoPhoto: National Biosecurity Resource Center

Organic material frequently inactivates or decreases the activity of disinfectants. Thus, it is important to remove visible contamination with soap and water to optimize the effectiveness of disinfection. Adopting the following best management practices will minimize the risk of tracking pathogens on footwear:

  • Clean visible dirt off boots before disinfecting.
  • Use water and a brush over a well-drained area. A boot cleaning station (as pictured at right), in which a hose is hooked up to a brush, is an option.
  • Soak boots in a clean solution of an appropriate disinfectant.
  • Use label recommendations for dilution rate and exposure time.
  • Select disinfectants based on on-farm efficacy, cost, ease of use, and environmental friendliness. (See Disinfection in On-Farm Biosecurity and Guide to Disinfectants)

Disposable boots work well if protection is only needed for brief time periods.

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Last modified October 06 2010 09:16 PM

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