Decontamination methods for medical equipment are based largely on bacterial studies yet enteroviruses are more resistant to disinfection than most vegetative bacteria and other viruses. To study the elimination of enteroviruses from endoscopes, poliovirus was aspirated into the suction-biopsy channels of five gastroscopes. Endoscopes were cleaned in detergent and disinfected in 2% alkaline glutaraldehyde. Contamination was measured before and after cleaning and after various periods of disinfection by irrigating the channels with viral medium and quantifying surviving virus by plaque assay. The effectiveness of glutaraldehyde against cell-free and cell-associated polio virus, dried to a surface in a protein coagulum, was also studied. Cleaning reduced virus by a mean of 4.6 log10 plaque forming units (pfu) ml-1. Samples were virus-free after 2 min disinfection. Virus dried on surfaces was inactivated in 1 min by 2% and 1% glutaraldehyde, with a reduction of > 6 log10 pfu ml-1. Thus, cleaning was effective against heavy viral contamination while glutaraldehyde rapidly inactivated poliovirus even when dried to a surface in serum.