The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting | Maid4condos

The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting
March 28, 2022

The pandemic has made many people hypersensitive to how clean their surroundings are at home and when out and about. If this sounds like you, this can lead to heightened cleaning at work or even at your workstation. Because not all products are suitable to sanitize and disinfect, it can be difficult to understand how you should be cleaning your home or office. Here, we examine the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting, and when you need to do each.

What is the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing?

What is cleaning?

Cleaning does not do much to remove germs. Instead, this is more along the lines of a Monica Geller approach where everything is organized, surfaces are wiped down, and the room appears spotless and orderly. Although some people might use disinfecting cleaners when cleaning, it is not the main focus of the job. Instead, you’re focused more on dust and dirt, as opposed to the unseen issues like germs and bacteria.

However, cleaning is also an important step prior to disinfecting or sanitizing, as you want to remove dirt and greasy buildup that can provide a safe harbour for germs and bacteria to hang out. So, while cleaning makes everything look nice, it doesn’t kill germs, viruses, bacteria, or things like fungi or mould spores.

When to clean: Cleaning should be done on a regular basis to keep your home comfortable, and also reduce buildup where germs and bacteria can hide. It is also required before you sanitize or disinfect.

What is sanitizing?

Sanitizing is the act of removing germs and bacteria. It is most associated with the proper cleaning process in places like kitchens or healthcare facilities where germs are more likely to occur on surfaces. You also require special cleaning products to sanitize, as you can’t remove germs and bacteria by simply washing surfaces with day-to-day all-purpose cleaners.

On the flip side, you don’t always need sanitizers to sanitize. For example, very hot water, such as during steam cleaning or dishwashing cycles, can kill most germs and bacteria. As long as the heat applied to the surface reaches at least 170 degrees Fahrenheit, you can kill germs and bacteria quite effectively. Steam cleaning is very popular because it is a more natural way to sanitize surfaces.

When to sanitize: Sanitizing is a must in your kitchen or anywhere food is prepared and served. It removes the bacteria and germs that can make people sick if it comes into contact with their food. Sanitizing is safe for kitchens, as sanitizing cleaners do not contain harsh chemicals that can be hazardous. Cleaning things like chicken juice or sauces first, and then using a santizing cleanser is required to sanitize properly.

What is disinfecting?

Disinfecting is the ultimate level of cleaning to keep surfaces clear of all germs, bacteria, spores, and fungi. While you do kill germs when sanitizing, disinfecting is the full gamut, ensuring nothing is left behind. It requires specific chemical products and is not recommended on surfaces that come into direct contact with food.

When to disinfect: If your family has COVID-19 or any other infectious diseases such as cold and flu, using a strong disinfectant spray on frequently touched surfaces is recommended. These products kill 100% of microorganisms found on your surfaces. This would include:

  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Faucets
  • Countertops
  • Fridge doors

Some examples of disinfecting cleaners would be bleach sprays and wipes. Just keep in mind that bleach products come in different dilutions, which makes some more effective than others.

Why is cleaning important before sanitizing or disinfecting?

The dirt and other organic material that can build up in your home make disinfectants less effective. You should always thoroughly clean surfaces before you try using your bleach or antibacterial types of cleansers. There are some all-in-one antibacterial cleaners available, but it is more effective to first clean, and then use a dedicated sanitizing or disinfecting cleaning product to do a thorough job.

Although it seems like a lot of work, it is the only way to do the job right. However, it is also important to know that if you use disinfectants too often, they can actually cause mutations of germs to form. This is how “superbugs” are produced. So, disinfecting is only required when someone in your home is actually sick in order to reduce the spread to others.

If you would like a Toronto cleaning service to help keep your home clean and santized, speak to our team at Maid4Condos today. You can call us at 647-822-0601 or contact us online.

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