How to properly disinfect clothing, footwear and other items

The highest risk of new diseases like African swine fever being introduced to Canada is from travellers coming in contact with the virus and bringing it back on their clothes and footwear, and people bringing in infected pork and pork products. If you travel, learn how to properly clean and disinfect the items you bring back with you.

Wipe down with a disinfectant wipe any cameras, phones and personal effects that were taken onto the premises;  

Clothing should be laundered using hot water and laundry detergent (use the hot water or sanitary cycle setting on the washing machine). To ensure adequate disinfection, the water temperature should reach 60 degrees Celsius, and the wash cycle should be at least 60 minutes in length. Clothes should be dried on the highest heat setting for a minimum of 30 minutes.

Footwear should be cleaned to remove visible dirt and then disinfected using a solution of one part household bleach and nine parts of water (for example 10 mls of bleach added to 90mls of water). The disinfectant solution should remain in contact with the surface for 30 minutes. Rinse surfaces with cold water to remove bleach solution.

Travel tips: Cleaning and disinfecting

If you are traveling and planning on visiting farms or agricultural sites, find out if there are any current suspected or reported occurrence of animal disease. Modify your plans accordingly.

  • During your visit, avoid direct contact with animals, their excrement and feed. Do not remove anything from the premises.
  • After your visit, clean and disinfect your footwear and all items brought onto the farm.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.
  • Shower, wash your hair, and change into clean clothes. Keep dirty clothes separate from other items using a heavy duty garbage bag.
  • Dry clean or launder and heat dry any clothing and underclothing worn during your visit.

Clothing and footwear worn on the farm/agricultural site in a foreign country should be cleaned, washed, dried and/or disinfected a second time as soon as possible after entering Canada.