Know the Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

In a post-pandemic world, we recognize just how important it is to keep our spaces as germ-free as possible. But as you’re looking through the services of commercial cleaning companies, you may be wondering what the difference is between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. If you’re hoping to fight bacteria and viruses, you need to be sure you’re getting the level of hygiene you need

What is Cleaning?

While it’s a word used to describe a lot of services, cleaning is, by definition, to remove visible dirt, dust and other debris from surfaces. Typically, it’s done using a cloth, wipe, or sponge in combination with soap and water.

So cleaning is the most basic level of building hygiene, but it shouldn’t be discounted. On its own, cleaning doesn‘t kill or thoroughly remove bacteria or viruses from surfaces. However, it’s still essential, as removing dirt and debris should always be done before sanitizing or disinfecting. These two other processes would not be nearly as effective without a surface being properly cleaned beforehand.

What is Sanitizing?

In the general hygiene pecking order, sanitizing is something of the middle ground. It reduces the amount of bacteria on a surface, but doesn’t completely kill or destroy it. Sanitizing is also generally ineffective against viruses. But while it doesn’t completely kill everything, it does lower the amount of bacteria to a safe level as judged by public health standards.

If you work in a food processing facility or restaurant, you’re more likely to have things sanitized. Why? Because sanitizers often contain less harsh chemicals in comparison to disinfectants. This is important when there’s the chance of something getting into food, and thus into the human body. That being said, it’s important to ensure that any sanitizer used is food safe.

What is Disinfecting?

To kill or inactivate both bacteria and viruses on your building’s surfaces, disinfecting is the way to go. Disinfecting is one of the most reliable ways to stop the spread of infection and germs, which is vital for healthcare facilities like doctor and dentist offices. This is especially important when new strains of the flu, Covid-19, and other illnesses start spreading.

Disinfectants are the only products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill viruses on hard surfaces. However, not all disinfectants are the same. Make sure your cleaning service determines that the solution they are using is in fact effective against certain viruses. For example, if you’re specifically looking for disinfectants that are effective against Covid-19, you can check the EPA’s N-List to ensure your chosen disinfectant will work against it.

It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. This way you can decide what services will be best for your facilities. We will work with you to schedule the exact services that suit your unique needs, bringing you the top-level equipment and level of hygiene you would expect.