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Cleaning & Disinfecting Athletic Facilities for MRSA

sports equipment

Shared equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry.

Shared equipment that comes into direct skin contact should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry. Equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, should be cleaned according to the equipment manufacturers’ instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.

  • Athletic facilities such as locker rooms should always be kept clean whether or not MRSA infections have occurred among the athletes.
  • Review cleaning procedures and schedules with the janitorial/environmental service staff.
    • Cleaning procedures should focus on commonly touched surfaces and surfaces that come into direct contact with people's bare skin each day.
    • Cleaning with detergent-based cleaners or Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered detergents/disinfectants will remove MRSA from surfaces.
    • Cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, can be irritating and exposure to these chemicals has been associated with health problems such as asthma and skin and eye irritation.
      • Take appropriate precautions described on the product's label instructions to reduce exposure. Wearing personal protective equipment such as gloves and eye protection may be indicated.
    • Follow the instruction labels on all cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, to make sure they are used safely and correctly.
      • Some key questions that should be answered by reading the label include:
        • How should the cleaner or disinfectant be applied?
        • Do you need to clean the surface first before using the disinfectant (e.g., precleaned surfaces)?
        • Is it safe for the surface? Some cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, might damage some surfaces (e.g., metals, some plastics).
        • How long do you need to leave it on the surface to be effective (i.e., contact time)?
        • Do you need to rinse the surface with water after using the cleaner or disinfectant?
    • If you are using household chlorine bleach, check the label to see if the product has specific instructions for disinfection. If no disinfection instructions exist, then use 1/4 cup of regular household bleach in 1 gallon of water (a 1:100 dilution equivalent to 500-615 parts per million [ppm] of available chlorine) for disinfection of pre-cleaned surfaces.
    • Environmental cleaners and disinfectants should not be put onto skin or wounds and should never be used to treat infections.
    • The EPA provides a list of registered products that work against MRSA (List H):
  • There is a lack of evidence that large-scale use (e.g., spraying or fogging rooms or surfaces) of disinfectants will prevent MRSA infections more effectively than a more targeted approach of cleaning frequently-touched surfaces.
  • Repair or dispose of equipment and furniture with damaged surfaces that do not allow surfaces to be adequately cleaned.
  • Covering infections will greatly reduce the risks of surfaces becoming contaminated with MRSA.

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