Pool shock contains Calcium Hypochlorite, the main ingredient also found in Wysiwash, an EPA registered and USDA approved disinfectant. Both Wysiwash and diluted pool shock are 100% effective against the upper respiratory infection complex which includes feline calicivirus and feline rhinotracheitis. Upper respiratory infection is very common in shelter cats who are stressed out. Pool shock will also kill ringworm and any ringworm spores.
As with using regular bleach, you must thoroughly clean anything prior to disinfection by removing all organic matter like cat litter, and sneeze marks. Pre-cleaning is done by thoroughly scrubbing the cage with detergent water followed immediately by rinsing and drying. Detergent residue can prevent your disinfectant from working and sneeze marks resist disinfection.
Pool shock is comparable to bleach when following the same principles for proper dilution and application that you do with bleach. Any disinfectant must sit for at least 10 minutes to fully disinfect the surface you are wanting to sanitize. Like bleach, pool shock is both light and heat sensitive after being diluted. Pool shock must be remade every 24 hours with warm water.
Unlike bleach, pool shock has not been found to be that corrosive to stainless steel or plastic after being diluted. However, the powder is corrosive to anything it has contact with and that the vapors can reach. You want to make sure to store the pool shock powder well and have a warning label on it. Surprisingly, this disinfectant does not have a bleach or chemical like smell to it after it is mixed.
Pool Shock Dilution
Pool shock is diluted at 1/8 tsp to one gallon of water to equal the same killing power as 6% bleach. Make sure to buy the 78% Calcium Hypochlorite with 22% inert ingredients in the granular formulation. Skip the 60% version. The estimated cost of making a gallon of pool shock is about 5 cents which is much cheaper than bleach.
Pool shock can prove to be a game changer for shelters that would otherwise not afford to make a bathtub or tote full of disinfectant to properly soak dishes in each day for the required 10 minutes. Some shelters freak out when I tell them this but every item should be submerged for 10 minutes or sprayed and allowed to sit for 10 minutes. You do have to respray if dishes dry too fast. The granular form, not diluted, can be stored up to seven years.
I have personally used pool shock for remedying outbreaks and disinfecting cages after suspected cases of upper respiratory infections with no problems when I had little money allotted to me at the shelter I previously worked. I first heard about it after talking to a vet clinic that did about 5000 surgeries per year, using this product as their primary disinfectant.
I also did my own investigation after talking to that clinic and found the same results. I talked to a veterinarian from Cornell to confirm my findings. The dilution ratios were found using bleach test strips and the efficacy of the disinfectant verified using RODAC (Replicate Organism Detection and Counting) plates. Glo-germ was used so that two methods or reliability could be referenced in the future.
Please note that due to the the small dilution size, you may need to purchase a special measuring tool to measure 1/8 of a teaspoon which can be found online. I bought my stainless steel measuring instrument on Amazon for about $5.
Pool shock cannot be mixed safely with ammonia cleaners or it will create a toxic gas. Label pool shock like you would bleach to prevent this problem. I have used this product for stainless steel cages, plastic cages, laundry and for dishes without any trouble.
Using pool shock as my primary disinfectant was back when the shelter manager I was working for gave me a monthly budget of $35 which is as crazy as it sounds – but I eventually convinced the manger to switch to Trifectant. You have to be creative if you are a shelter worker who has limited decision making power until you have more of that power to make decisions.
Is Pool Shock Right For You?
This disinfectant is ideal for a shelter or clinic that has trained staff who are capable of making sure this disinfectant is diluted, applied, and stored correctly. I would make sure the area is well vented if possible. This disinfectant solution has the capability of being very cheap for a shelter or clinic if they cannot afford to use bleach or a commercial disinfectant like Trifectant.
I prefer to use Trifectant as my primary disinfectant for reliable disinfection and Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide as my secondary disinfectant for when there is resistance to Trifectant. Both are one step disinfectants because they have a detergent property to them that does not deactivate the disinfectant properties that they utilize.
Both Trifectant and Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide kill everything, including ringworm so there is no reason for bleach. Their efficacy in the face of organic matter like cat litter is substantially better than bleach and they work faster. The smell is much better too which does not require venting.This is good if your staff can be a bit sloppy at pre-cleaning or are very inpatient. I will write an article on both disinfectants and compare them at a later point so shelters can make an educated decision.
Not The Best But Necessary
At the end of every article I always tell people to avoid quaternary ammonium based compounds that claim to be effective against feline viruses but are really not. I would avoid these expensive and ineffective disinfectants at any cost because they are also toxic to both cats and the people that have contact with it.
Some shelters will not use a disinfectant if it costs more than $1 per gallon. I am not kidding because some shelters I have visited do not so there is a definite need even if it is not the best option by far. Or I find that the shelter is using an expired disinfectant since most are only good for a year after purchase. Pool shock eliminates that fear since it is good for 7 years in powder form.
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