Guidance

Defra-approved disinfectant: when and how to use it

Find out when you must use a Defra-approved disinfectant, which product to use, and in what concentration.

Disinfectant use for notifiable diseases

By law you must use a Defra-approved disinfectant when there is an outbreak of a notifiable disease.

The list of Defra-approved disinfectants will show you which product to use, and the concentration of the disinfectant you must use. Some products can be used at different concentrations for different diseases.

Disinfectant use for routine cleaning and disinfecting

You must also use Defra-approved disinfectants at the dilution rate shown on the general order list when doing routine cleaning and disinfecting:

  • livestock transport vehicles
  • animal gathering areas (markets and fairs)
  • abattoir vehicles and animal holding areas as part of the regular cleaning routine

Disinfectant use for kennels, catteries and vet surgeries

There is no legal need to use a Defra-approved disinfectant if you run a vet surgery, kennel or cattery, unless there is an outbreak of a notifiable animal disease.

Disinfectant approval

There is more information on the Defra disinfectant approval process and on the product effectiveness tests (PDF, 152KB, 6 pages) used to assess products for Defra approval.

Laws on disinfectant use

The relevant laws on disinfectant use are called disease orders. There are 4 specific disease orders for the following diseases:

A general order is issued to control an outbreak of notifiable disease not covered in this list. For example, Defra could order approved disinfectants to be used to control an outbreak of bluetongue virus.

Disinfectant enquiries

Email disinfectants@apha.gsi.gov.uk for further information.

Published 3 July 2014
Last updated 6 October 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated the list about laws on disinfection use. Added a new link to the Tuberculosis in Animals (England) Order 2021.

  2. A replacement disinfectants efficacy tests document has been uploaded.

  3. Updated link to Defra approved disinfectant system

  4. AHVLA documents have been re-assigned to the new Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

  5. First published.