The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

As world continues to grapple with the effects of Coronavirus, it’s becoming more important to understand how you can properly keep yourself healthy and free from infections.

The best way to ensure you live a healthy life is to maintain a clean environment. You need to clean, sanitize, and disinfect your home and office regularly.

People use cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting interchangeably, although there’s a distinction between these three important terms.

Understanding how each of them work will help you know which one you need at what time.

Here is the basic difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.


To clean means getting rid of all solid particles on the surface of your space. Such visible particles include dirt, food particles, spills, and dust.

Cleaning can be done through washing, brushing, and wiping the area to remove these visible particles. However, cleaning your surfaces doesn’t mean that you’ll remove all the dirt, but you can reduce the number of these germs.

Cleaning is generally the first step you should incorporate in your cleansing process. You can carry out cleaning using a detergent, soap, vacuums, and solvent.

You should always clean before sanitizing and disinfecting because cleaning improves the effectiveness of each of these processes.


Sanitizing helps reduce the number of microorganisms on your surface, although it doesn’t kill these microorganisms. By sanitizing your surfaces, you’re not killing or destroying viruses. Instead, you’re lowering the number of microorganisms on your surface.

A sanitizer helps reduce the number of bacteria by almost 100 percent. Sanitizing can be used effectively in restaurants, schools, hospitals, and corporate offices as a preventive measure. Whenever any of your surfaces contact food, you should use sanitizer to keep germs away.

Besides using chemicals to sanitize, you can also use home solutions such as dishwashers or laundry machines to kill microorganisms.

But if your dishwasher lacks a sanitizing cycle to sanitize your clothing, you can use a liquid laundry sanitizer with a normal detergent to kill microorganisms.


By disinfecting your surfaces, you’re able to kill both bacteria and viruses that are on the product’s surface. So the best way to ensure your frequently touched surfaces remain clean is by disinfecting using the recommended disinfectants.

You should disinfect surfaces such as restrooms to wade off pathogens that can lead to the spread of infections.

Some of the common disinfectants include bleach, alcohol, and chlorine. Although not all disinfectants are created equal, they are all capable of stopping the spread of diseases.

As we battle with this coronavirus, it’s important to perform disinfection, especially in all medical facilities. For disinfectant to be effective, you need to let the solution remain in contact with your surface for a set time.

You can also use disinfectants on food contact surfaces if you don’t have a sanitizer, although disinfectants must contain food-safe chemicals.

Also, do not disinfect before cleaning. This is because dirt and visible materials can make disinfectant less effective. You can contact disinfecting service providers to help you apply disinfectants in the right way.

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