Difference Between Disinfecting, Sanitizing, and Cleaning 

Nowadays, it is extremely crucial to know how to protect yourself properly from illnesses, diseases, and infections. Unluckily, when it comes to cleaning methods, there is a lot of confusion around which are and aren’t suitable.  


People have a tendency to utilize the terms sterilizing, disinfecting, sanitizing, and cleaning interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between all methods.  

Before you hire a professional cleaning service company, it’s best to know the differences between all four. That’s why we are here to help you. 

What is Sterilizing? 

Sterilizing is a cleaning method that removes or destroys all types of microbial life. This includes both viruses and bacteria. Sterilizing is not something a regular homeowner will have to do in his/her house. Typically, it is more common in laboratories and surgical rooms. 

What is Disinfecting? 

Disinfecting can inactivate or kill both the viruses and bacteria on the surface. Typically, you can read them the label of the product. The only products approved by the EPA to get rid of viruses on surfaces are disinfectants.  

One of the most dependable methods to prevent the spread of germs and infection is disinfecting. However, not every disinfectant is made the same. As of today, we are fighting a virus that we have not faced before. This is also known as an emerging pathogen. If you want to disinfect against the Coronavirus, make sure you utilize disinfectants with emerging pathogen claims. You can find these disinfectants on the N-list of EPA. 

While sanitizers are used more often on surfaces that come into contact with food, you can use disinfectants as well. However, they should contain chemicals that are safe. For instance, the PUR-TABS of Earth Safe is safe to utilize on food contact surfaces, such as kitchens. Thus, a lot of cleaning companies use them. 

There is a range of circumstances to conduct disinfection. This is particularly true today as we fight Coronavirus. However, it’s extremely crucial in medical facilities and hospitals.  

What Is Sanitizing? 

Sanitizing lowers the number of bacteria found on any surfaces. However, it doesn’t destroy or kill bacteria. This cleaning method also doesn’t destroy or kill viruses from surfaces. Instead, it reduces the number of bacteria on a surface to a safe level. This depends on the health standards of the public. 

Oftentimes, sanitizers are utilized on food contact surfaces. The reason for this is that they do not contain harmful ingredients compared to disinfectants. Still, you’ve got to always inspect the label to confirm that the sanitizer you’re utilizing is safe to use on food surfaces. This is particularly true if you’re going to use it in a food prep area or kitchen. 

What is Cleaning 

The process of getting rid of noticeable dust, dirt, and other debris from surfaces is called cleaning. Usually, it’s done using a wipe or cloth together with a solvent, soap, or detergent.  

On its own, cleaning doesn’t get rid of viruses or bacteria. However, it’s still important. You need to conduct cleaning first before you can sterilize, disinfect, or sanitize a surface 

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