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Chemours Animal Health Solutions provides world leading biosecurity products and solutions developed specifically for disease prevention and control in livestock production facilities.

Clean Properly Before You Disinfect!

Pig Topics Technical Bulletin, 06 May 2008

For a disinfection programme to work to its full potential it is necessary to clean to the maximum levels before disinfecting. Disinfecting without cleaning properly is just a waste of money, and doing the job well enough will generate better pig performance plus other benefits.

Cleaning starts with removal of gross contamination and bedding. Next moveable equipment is removed and cleaned. This is followed by pressure washing of the building and equipment, and this is where many farmers go wrong. They wash with a powerful pressure-washer without using a heavy duty detergent. The final result might look clean, but work done at Chemours Animal Health Solutions shows it is not.



Bacteria per cm2 (TVC) 

Immediately after pigs removed  50,000,000 
After plain washing  20,000,000 
After hot wash and heavy dutydetergent.  100,000 
Target after disinfection  Less than 500 


So you can see that washing reduces contamination by 60%, but using a heavy duty detergent first (Biosolve™ Plus) decreases the original burden by 99%. In fact 2000 times more bacteria are left if you don’t use a suitable detergent, and we haven’t even looked at viruses and other microorganisms.

So does this really matter? Researchers in Canada showed it had profound effects on productivity, with real life reductions in the time it takes pigs to reach slaughter as shown below.


Washing Method Disinfectant  

Days to Market

% Improvement
from plain wash

Plain wash    None 



Plain wash   Hyperox  



Wash + Detergent (Biosolve) None 



Wash + Detergent (Biosolve™) Hyperox  92.96   5.2  


Hurnik,D., (2005) Proc. Swine Conference, London, Ontario

Notice that benefits from washing with a detergent, and washing (no detergent) and disinfecting are similar, but half the benefits of the complete programme. If you just wash and disinfect this work shows your pigs may take two and a half days more to slaughter.

The benefits of using a detergent don’t stop there. Further work by the Canadians showed that the wash time for a pre-soaked finisher room was reduced by 12.1% when detergent was used. This represents a time saving, but also reduces energy used, water used and slurry produced, all of which will have a financial benefit.


What are the ideal properties of a heavy duty detergent?

A pig house is very heavily contaminated and much more difficult to clean than say a food processing room. You need to use a specialist heavy duty detergent to get it properly clean.

  • This must be rapidly acting and work on all surfaces found on a pig farm.
  • It needs a good degreasing action and must help remove contamination from poorly accessible places.
  • Ideally it should be applied through existing equipment, preferably as foam to increase contact time and allow staff to see where it has been applied.
  • It must work in hard water situations, and leave no residue which could make the floor slippery or harbour micro-organisms.
  • Except where there are special problems with lime scale it should be alkaline to help dissolve fats and proteins within pig dung.
  • Importantly it must be non-toxic to pigs and operatives.
  • It must have minimal environments impacts.

Finally the detergent used must not interfere with the disinfectant’s subsequent activity. To achieve this use an integrated programme, the Chemours Animal Health Solutions Pig Biosecurity programme. At a practical level there is no interference between their products and Biosolve™ Plus is the detergent of choice before Virkon™ S and Hyperox™. If special problems are occurring with lime scale and buildup of inorganic salts you would use the acidic detergent Biofoam™, which is again compatible with the other products.


Can you afford not to?

So there you have it. Can you afford not to clean properly, or would you use a heavy duty detergent in your programme and gain time, reduce water use, produce less waste water and save up to 5.2 days to slaughter? These benefits don’t just apply to the finishing herd, but right through production as shown by Australian workers.


Class of Pig  

AIAO, Cleaned Buildings
DLG (gm/day) 

AIAO, Uncleaned
DLG (gm/day) 

% Improvement  





Growers 1  




Growers 2  













Cargill, C., and Banhazi, T. (1998) Proc 1st IPVS 3, 15.

Jake Waddilove, MA, VetMB, MRCVS