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The Key Differences Between Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing

While “cleaning”, “sanitizing”, “disinfecting” may be used interchangeably, there are clear distinctions between the three. Understanding these differences can help you make safer decisions when creating a safe reopening plan for your business. As COVID-19 continues to spread throughout the country while retail and commercial operations begin the process of recovery, maintaining truly sanitized surfaces is imperative. 

What are the differences between “sanitizing” and “disinfecting?” Don’t both of them fall under the heading of “cleaning,” anyway? Find out why this is not the case, and how you can apply this knowledge when you establish a routine in your place of business. 

A Closer Look at Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sanitizing

When you clean a surface, you probably assume that killing bacteria, fungi and viruses are part of the process. On the contrary, a surface can be visibly clean of any debris, staining or discoloration and still harbor a shocking amount of microbial activity. 

“Cleaning” simply refers to the process of removing visible dirt or impurities. Using soap and water or certain detergents will not physically kill bacteria or viruses, though the process may remove some of them.

“Disinfecting,” on the other hand, uses dedicated chemicals to kill microbial growth on objects and surfaces, including bacteria and viruses. When surfaces are disinfected regularly, the risk of transmitting infection via touch is reduced. Disinfectants do not necessarily clean surfaces or remove debris, but when they’re used after cleaning, they have a significant impact.

“Sanitizing” a space means taking steps, through both cleaning and disinfection, to bring the number of germs to a level deemed acceptably safe by public health standards. Your sanitization plan is the combination of cleaning and disinfecting steps instituted to maintain a low presence of microbial activity. 

Building a Better System for Sanitization

Reopening your business during a global health crisis can feel like a difficult needle to thread, especially when there is still so much unknown. When facts seem thin on the ground, one thing you can rely on is that it’s never a bad idea to invest in sanitizing your space. Our innovative 2-step process for disinfecting both hard and soft surfaces while actively discouraging future microbial growth can help. Contact us today for more information.

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