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Lab Cleaning and Disinfection COVID-19 Guidance

What lab personnel are responsible for cleaning

Lab personnel are responsible for cleaning the surfaces in their laboratories and offices.


SARS-CoV-2 is a lipid enveloped virus and can be inactivated using many disinfectants from the list Products Registered in New York for Use Against COVID-19.

  • Disinfect shared equipment in the lab before and after each use.
  • Label or place a sign near the equipment with a reminder to do this.
  • Place a spray bottle with disinfectant and wipes near the equipment. (Don’t forget to properly label the bottle and keep a small trash can nearby for disposal of the wipes).
    • Be careful to use proper PPE as many of these are toxic chemicals.

Disinfect benches and high touch surfaces in the lab at the start of, halfway through, and at the end of the workday. Many of these high-touch surfaces are obvious, like door handles/knobs in the lab, drawer, and cabinet handles, while others are less obvious like the outside of shared reagent bottles. Other surfaces include:

Examples of high-touch surfaces

  • Equipment handles, latches, and touchscreens
  • Hood sashes or airfoils
  • Growth room or greenhouse tools
  • Pipettors/pipetman and other hand tools
  • Chair backs and armrests
  • Freezer, refrigerator, incubator, water bath handles, and knobs
  • Whiteboards, pens
  • Light switches
  • Computer keyboards, tablets, and cellphones

Equipment corridors and shared equipment spaces

Shared facilities and equipment, including fume hoods and biosafety cabinets, procedure rooms, instruments, and instrument/resource facilities, will require coordination with other lab groups. Locally, research groups should consider both a sign-up sheet and reservation system to book time as well as which personnel are responsible for disinfecting the space. Disinfect equipment and all touchable surfaces. Place a spray bottle with disinfectant and wipes near the equipment.

Special note: Equipment logs, such as the kind used for shared equipment use become very important as a source of contact trace data in the eventuality a user does test positive for SARS-CoV-2 and Tompkins County needs data for contact tracing.

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