Often times when it comes to the words clean, sanitize and disinfect they are used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between these terms and knowing what they mean can help keep your home or workplace a clean and safe environment.
Cleaning physically removes germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects. It involves using soap or detergent and water along with a mechanical action such as wiping to remove germs from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. In order to kill germs properly, chemicals need to be applied according to the label as each product is different. Disinfecting 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.
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. In order for a product to be considered a sanitizer, it must reduce bacteria on a surface by at least 99.9 percent. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.