Cleaning & Disinfecting Stables

How to clean and disinfect stables
It is essential to implement high standards of hygiene to eliminate the virus from the horse’s environment and prevent transmission to other horses. Stables and horse transporters must be cleaned and disinfected before they are used between horses.

Cleaning and disinfecting stables is a multi-step process:


Remove all bedding and stable fittings such as feed and water buckets, haynets and rubber matting.


Sweep the walls and floor of the stable to remove as much organic matter as possible.


Wet all surfaces of the stable using a hose. It may be necessary to leave the stables for 30min before continuing to soften caked-on organic matter to allow for easier cleaning.


Clean the stables walls and floor with a detergent to make organic matter easier to remove. It may be necessary to scrub the walls and floor to loosen organic matter. Alternatively, a low pressure power washer can be used however it must be used below 120psi to prevent the production of aerosols that spread infectious agents into the air.


Rinse the walls from the top downwards, starting furthest away from the drain or door. It is necessary to pay close attention to corners and crevices and to rinse the floor well.


Leave the stable to dry.


Dilute disinfectant according to the manufacturer’s instructions and apply it to the walls and floor. This can be carried out using a hand held sprayer or garden sprayer. Always ensure that suitable protective clothing is used when handling disinfectants.


Do not rinse the stable with water after applying the disinfectant. The stable should be left to dry as the contact time between the disinfectant and surfaces allow it to work effectively.


Ensure the stable is dry before filling it with clean bedding.


Remember to clean and disinfect and stable fittings before replacing them e.g. rubber flooring, feed and water buckets.

Which disinfectant should I use?
There are a number of disinfectants available for use however it is important that the most appropriate and effective disinfectant is used with respect to the horse’s environment.

The ideal disinfectant must be biodegradable, safe for animals and humans, ensure it is suitable for farm use, effective in the presence of organic matter and effective with respect to the local water hardness and ambient temperature.

Phenolic disinfectants are the most preferred for use in the equine environment. Iodophores are not often used in the equine environment and more suitable for the washing of hands and equipment. Quaternary ammonium compounds, hypochlorites (e.g. bleach), chlorhexidine and pine oil are not recommended since they are ineffective in the presence of organic matter. Formaldehyde disinfectants are highly toxic and not recommended for use in the equine environment.