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The University’s approved disinfection agent is ‘Virkon’. Virkon has a broad spectrum bactericidal and virucidal activity, is of low hazard to human health, has good cleaning properties, has a colour activity indicator and results in reduced metal tarnishing.

  • General Laboratory disinfection:
    • Wash down benches, centrifuges, etc. and deep clean microbiological safety cabinets using freshly prepared 1% CHEMGENE or DISTEL.
    • Use 70% alcohol (industrial methylated spirit or ethanol) to swab down microbiological safety cabinets before and after use.
    • The floor can be mopped with very dilute (0.1%) Virkon.
  • Experimental material:
    • Mix discarded phage, viral, bacterial, yeast or cell culture with 1% Virkon (final concentration) using freshly prepared stock Virkon solution or by adding Vikron powder directly. Treat for 1 hour.
    • Material can then be discarded down the drains.
    • Treated disposable plasticware should be autoclaved as per Local Rules.
  • Blood from low risk population:
    • Blood from risk groups and other blood should be disposed of via the Clinical Waste system in sealed tubes.
  • Hazard Group 2 or 3 organisms:
    • Work with such material has the disinfection procedure clearly specified in the risk assessment and posted in the laboratory.
    • Virkon may be appropriate for work but is not necessarily effective against all micro-organisms and an appropriate disinfectant must be used for each pathogen.
  • Biological Spillage:
    • Sprinkle Virkon powder liberally over the spill. Do not add Virkon in solution as this will increase the size of the spill.
    • Cordon off the area and leave for at least 30min for all fluid to be absorbed by Virkon and disinfection to occur.
    • If spill involves CL2 genetically modified micro-organisms or other hazardous micro-organisms: place in autoclave bag and send to be autoclaved.
    • If spill involves blood: place in clinical waste bag (yellow bag) and dispose of via clinical waste system.
    • For all other biological spills, place in sink and run the tap to dilute and drain.

N.B. Containment CL3 laboratory has specific emergency procedures in place.

Decon and other similar cleaning agents are NOT disinfectant and should not be used for disinfection purposes.

Hypochlorite-based solution (bleach, Chloros) pose hazards to human health and are corrosive and should not be used unless specified for a particular organism.

Domestic bleach should never be used as a disinfectant as the concentration and effectiveness can vary widely.


Beware!!   Virkon's  main active ingredient, peroxymonosulphate, is a strong oxidising agent. Strong enough to form Chlorine from chloride. Therefore stick to the concentrations and contact times below and dispose of promptly.




Plastic ware / Glass ware 1% solution or 2% if heavily soiled At least 30 minutes (fully immersed)
Liquids e.g. Samples, Culture supernatant Final concentration of 2% 1hour
Surfaces, including benches and floors 1% solution Wipe over
Minor surface contamination 1% solution 30 minutes
Large spills including body fluids Powder 30 minutes