Getting Your Barn Really Clean
Learn how to properly disinfect your horse’s environment.
Many stable managers and horse owners hold the common misconception that a stall, barn aisle, or horse trailer can be easily disinfected with a quick spritz of Clorox spray. In a hospital environment full of stainless steel surfaces, this practice might work. But on the farm, raw wood, dirt floors, and other porous surfaces contaminated by organic debris render Clorox bleach totally ineffective. Pine oil is merely a deodorant and will not disinfect.
For farm and stable use, phenolic compounds are the weapons of choice. These compounds can be recognized by the suffix -phenol or -phenate at the end of words on the active ingredients list. Tek-trol and Synphenol (available at GVEC) are two common phenol disinfectants.
Here's the way to properly disinfect an equine environment:
1. Remove all bedding and sweep out completely.
2. Scrub surfaces thoroughly with a detergent solution (powdered Tide works well). SCRUB HARD!! Elbow grease will remove more than 90% of the contaminants. If you skip this step you will be wasting your disinfectant.
3. Rinse or wipe off the detergent solution and remove excess water.
4. Put on appropriate personal protective equipment such as gloves, goggles, and facemasks.
5. Apply the phenol disinfectant according to label directions and allow it to dry on the surfaces.
6. Don't forget to disinfect other sources of contaminants in the horse's environment. These include stable tools, halters, tack, brushes, buckets, and feed tubs.
7. Wash contaminated personal clothing, horse pads, and blankets.