How to Disinfect Your Foster Room

Cleaning and disinfecting is a crucial component of a fostering routine. It must be done thoroughly in order to prevent and stop the spread of illness, bacteria, and parasites. Gather the necessary supplies listed below and begin by cleaning every item, room, and playpen that was used or contaminated. Once cleaned, each item must be disinfected with a commercial product such as a bleach solution or Rescue. Continue reading for the full list of supplies and to learn how to disinfect specific items.

Why You Have to Disinfect Your Foster Room

The purpose of cleaning and disinfecting your foster room and supplies is to keep illness at bay. You want to prevent the spread of bacteria, parasites, and disease between different groups of foster kittens, and you also want to prevent reinfection if illness occurs when a kitten is still in foster care. 

Many foster kittens, whether due to stress or age, have compromised immune systems and require protection. Some are also too young to be vaccinated for deadly diseases, so bringing them into a completely disinfected environment will set them up for success until they’re old enough to receive those vaccines. 

The bottom line is that anything your fosters came into contact with (eg. toys, playpens, and litter boxes) or have contaminated (eg. supply cart, litter scoop, mini fridge) must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before you take on another group of fosters. 

Necessary Supplies

You’ll need:

You’ll want to clean everything first, and then follow up with a round of disinfectant. 

Clean the Room and Supplies First

Cleaning is the process of removing visible debris and making things look tidy.

How to clean your foster room

Start by gathering all of the items that your foster kittens contaminated. I like to put all of the items in the tub in my guest bathroom that serves as one of my main fostering areas. You can also use an empty bin to hold the items until they’re ready to be cleaned.

Once the counters and floors are cleared, wipe down counters and surfaces with soapy water or a gentle cleaning solution. Then, you’ll need to sweep or vacuum the floors to get rid of visible debris. If you have hard flooring in your foster room, your last cleaning step should be to mop or wipe down the floors with the cleaning product. 

How to clean your foster supplies

Consider all of the contaminated supplies you’ve gathered. Your list will look something like this:

  • Litter boxes
  • Litter genie/litter scoop
  • Food and water bowls
  • Toys
  • Scale
  • Cat carrier
  • Playpen 
  • Food and litter containers
  • Supply cart
  • Nail clippers
  • Snuggle Safe
  • Snuggle Kitty
  • Blankets
  • Flea combs, toothbrushes, and other grooming items 
  • Scratching boards and posts
  • Tunnels 

First, find the hard-surface items that are safe to wash with soap and water. Wipe them down thoroughly and rinse them off. If the items are electronic, you should of course be careful to avoid submerging them in water. You can set them on a towel, the recently cleaned hard surface floor, or the recently cleaned counter. 

Next, find the items that can’t simply be washed in the sink or wiped down with soap and water. Prep a load of laundry with detergent, bleach, and hot water. Include items like blankets and plush toys. At the end of the cleaning and disinfecting routine, you should add any towels and rags you used in the process to this load of laundry. 

Now you’re left with items that can’t be easily washed or thrown into a load of laundry. For me, these items include:

  • Scratching posts
  • Soft-sided playpens
  • Cardboard scratchers
  • Crinkle balls
  • Toy mice
  • Non-washable fabric toys, such as those that have catnip in them or feathers on them

To clean the scratching posts and soft-sided playpens, you can vacuum them first and then wipe down visible debris with a bit of soap and water. Unfortunately, everything besides the scratching posts and playpen must be discarded. Since these items can’t be cleaned, they will still contain plenty of organic matter from the previous foster kittens and therefore cannot be used with future groups of foster kittens. Some fosters send these items home with the kittens once they’re adopted. 


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Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

Any contribution is greatly appreciated!

– $6.00 allows us to buy a bag of litter
– $25 helps us buy 12 cans of cat food
– $100+ allows us to fund general medical procedures for any felines that we foster on our own

Thank you so much for considering a donation! 🙂

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Disinfect Everything That’s Been Cleaned

Disinfecting is the process of killing bacteria, parasites, and viruses. As long as you follow the product’s instructions and let the solution make contact for a sufficient amount of time, you can confidently take in another group of foster kittens knowing that all the germs have been banished.

How to disinfect the room

Start by choosing your disinfectant. You can either make a 1 to 32 ratio of bleach and water (very affordable but has to be rinsed afterwards) or dilute the Rescue disinfectant (more expensive but kills all viruses and doesn’t have to be rinsed). 

Put your disinfectant into a spray bottle and grab a clean rag. Whatever you disinfect, you’ll need to spray the disinfectant, let it sit for several minutes, and then wipe or rinse. 

Disinfect the walls first. You should disinfect up to three feet high for kittens and up to five feet high for adult cats. This is because when cats and kittens can sneeze or kick litter around, it travels far. Trust me. I can’t count how many times I’ve walked into my foster room or looked into a playpen and thought, “How in the world did that speck of waste get all the way up there??” 

Follow that by disinfecting the counters and floors, and you’re set! You can use rags and a mop to get the job done. Just make sure you let the disinfectant come into contact with the surfaces for several minutes before drying or rinsing it off.

How to disinfect the supplies

Since the tub or bin you used has been emptied of dirty supplies, be sure to disinfect those. Next, spray down each item you cleaned and let the solution make contact for several minutes while the items sit on a dry, clean towel. My exceptions to this rule are food and water bowls – I prefer to rinse them after the disinfectant has made contact for at least ten minutes. 

Use the disinfectant to heavily spray down soft-sided playpens and scratching posts, and then let them sit on a towel to dry. If the soft-sided playpen you’re using has a removable top and bottom, you can add those to your load of laundry. 

Now that you’re just about finished, take any rags that you used to clean and disinfect and add those to the load of laundry. Once everything is in the machine, and you’ve made sure that there’s both detergent and bleach added, start the load with hot water. This will simultaneously clean and disinfect these items! 

Finally, be sure to disinfect any cleaning supplies once you’re wrapping up the process. Things like the broom, vacuum, and spray bottles must be disinfected because you’ll need to use them to clean the next group’s room and supplies every couple of days.

Congratulations! You’ve successfully cleared your foster room of all the nasties you could possibly imagine, and now you’re ready to take in the next group who needs your help. Props to you for taking the time to prevent the spread of illness!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Any purchases made through these links may help me earn a small commission.

Exploring animal welfare one foster kitten at a time

4 responses to “How to Disinfect Your Foster Room”

  1. […] is in a location that’s easy to disinfect. The reason for this is that not only will you need to disinfect your foster space and supplies between each group of fosters at the very least, but you will also need to disinfect anything your resident pets will regain […]


  2. […] is also a way to process the goodbyes. Cleaning and disinfecting the foster room has been a great way for me to provide some closure after the entire group of kittens has been […]


  3. […] quarantine protocols and disease control, read about common illnesses in foster care and how to disinfect your foster room. To reassure yourself that you’re already doing an amazing job as a kitten foster parent, you can […]


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