Cleaning and Disinfecting your home or commercial property is more important than ever. High touch areas in homes and businesses are “hot spots” for germs and viruses. Deep cleaning to eliminate pathogens is an important part of cleaning and disinfecting.
So, what’s the difference?
Cleaning = Removing Germs. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection. Soiled objects or surfaces will block the effects of a disinfectant or sanitizer. Proper disinfection or sanitizing of a surface requires that the surface be cleaned before disinfecting or sanitizing.
Sanitizing = Reducing The Number Of Germs. Sanitizing lowers the numbers of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection. There are a few different methods used to achieve a sanitary surface: heat, radiation, and chemicals.
Disinfecting = Killing Germs. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting requires a stronger solution to destroy germs rather than simply reduce them.
Disinfectants are products that destroy all organisms in 10 minutes during the AOAC Use Dilution Test, a test regulated by the EPA to determine the efficiency of disinfectants. Sanitizing and disinfecting are a step up from regular cleaning because cleaning only removes visible dirt. When you sanitize or disinfect, you are removing potentially harmful bacteria that might not be visible to the naked eye.
Bleach (the sanitizer/disinfectant) and ammonia (the cleaner) should never be mixed, because the mixture produces a poisonous gas.