Training Guide

Guide to Developing and Managing Syringe Access Programs

Appendix G: Cleaning Syringes


When a sterile syringe is not available, there are several other measures that can still be taken to reduce the risk of transmitting HCV and HIV. These are included as part of a hierarchy or risk reduction strategies and cannot guarantee the removal of risk.

A new, sterile syringe should always be the first option.

  1. Bleach
  2. Alcohol
  3. Peroxide
  4. Any kind of soap

Proper Bleaching/Rinsing Technique

Cleaning Works!: A safety manual from Exchange Supplies available here.

Does Cleaning Syringes Work? Video

How to Clean a Used Syringe Video

Additional References:

The Syringe’s Role in Transmitting Disease Between Drug Users – RTI

Ciccarone, D. and P. Bourgois (2003). “Explaining the geographical variation of HIV among injection drug users in the United States.” Subst Use Misuse 38(14): 2049-63.

Abdala, N., A. A. Gleghorn, J. M. Carney and R. Heimer (2001). “Can HIV-1-contaminated syringes be disinfected? Implications for transmission among injection drug users.” Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes 28(5): 487-494.