Cleaning and Disinfecting
MRSA spreads easily in athletic facilities, locker rooms, gyms, and health clubs because of shared equipment and skin-to-skin contact. Keep surfaces clean to prevent MRSA from spreading.
- Always keep athletic facilities, such as locker rooms, and shared equipment clean whether or not MRSA infections have occurred among the athletes.
- Shared equipment should be cleaned after each use and allowed to dry.
- Repair or dispose of equipment and furniture with damaged surfaces that do not allow surfaces to be adequately cleaned.
- Clean equipment, such as helmets and protective gear, according to the equipment manufacturers’ instructions to make sure the cleaner will not harm the item.
- Review cleaning procedures and schedules with the janitorial/environmental service staff.
- 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. The products effective against Staphylococcus aureus are sufficient to kill MRSA. See the list of EPA-registered products effective against MRSAExternal (List H).
- Follow the instruction labels on all cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, to make sure they are used safely and correctly.
- 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.
There is little 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.
You should read the label before using products. The labels will tell you:
- How the cleaner or disinfectant should be applied
- If you need to clean the surface first before applying the disinfectant (e.g., precleaned surfaces)
- If it is safe for the surface. Some cleaners and disinfectants, including household chlorine bleach, might damage some surfaces (e.g., metals, some plastics).
- How long you need to leave it on the surface to be effective (i.e., contact time)
- If you need to rinse the surface with water after using the cleaner or disinfectant
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. However, they can be effective in reducing MRSA. 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.
If you are using household chlorine bleach, check the label to see if the product has specific instructions for disinfection and sanitizing surfaces. Dilution of product will vary slightly depending on whether you are using commercial 5.25, 6.0, or 8.25% bleach. If no disinfection instructions exist, use 1/4 cup of regular household bleach in 1 gallon of water for product containing 5.25-6.0% bleach (a 1:100 dilution equivalent to 500-615 parts per million [ppm] of available chlorine) or 8.25% bleach use 1 oz (0.125 cups) in a gallon of water for disinfection of pre-cleaned surfaces.
Cleaners and disinfectants should not be put onto skin or wounds and should never be used to treat skin infections.
Cover wounds to reduce the risks of contaminating surfaces with MRSA.