Teresa asked: Can I combine my snake’s salmonella covered accessories in the dishwasher with my dishes? My intuition says no, but it seems like the hot water from the dishwasher should kill the salmonella bacteria. Is it okay to wash my dishes with pet dishes, all in the same load?
Reptiles are notorious for spreading salmonella, so particular care is required for cleaning and disinfecting their gear. When cleaning reptile accessories, it’s extremely important to keep them, the cleaning solution, and even the container you clean them in separate from other items, particularly children’s toys and any food containers or dishes. Here’s how to get the job done safely.
You Will Need:
- Large plastic tub
- Liquid soap
- Clean rag
- Household bleach
- Rubber gloves
- Safety goggles
Steps to Clean the Accessories:
- Begin by protecting yourself with rubber gloves and safety goggles.
- Organic matter, including food and feces, will prevent the bleach from doing its job, so before you disinfect the reptile accessories, you need to clean them.
- Wash each item in a solution of hot, soapy water. Use a sponge or soft cloth to scrub away any debris. Rinse well with water before moving on to the disinfecting process.
- Once the reptile gear is clean, remove the contaminated water and rinse the large plastic tub. Refill with water and add 1 cup of bleach for every gallon of water.
- Soak the reptile accessories in the solution for at least 10 minutes for hard plastic pieces and longer for porous or wooden objects to allow for full penetration of the disinfectant.
- Remove the items from the bleach solution and rinse thoroughly with clean water. Ensure that all of the soap/bleach is removed so that it does not harm the reptiles when it is placed back in their environment.
- Allow the disinfected reptile accessories to dry thoroughly before resuming use. It is best to air dry them.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Hot water alone will NOT disinfect reptile gear. It needs to be cleaned and then disinfected.
- Never reuse the cleaning solution used to clean the gear. It is contaminated and should be disposed of properly.
- Keep reptile accessory cleaning supplies separate from household items. A separate bucket or tub used for cleaning these items is best.
- Wash your hands with hot, soapy water after handling reptiles and reptile accessories.