What's The Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

Understanding proper infection protection is now more critical than ever. Keeping employees and customers safe is top of mind more than ever. However, there is a lot of confusion surrounding appropriate cleaning methods.

Although cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are often used interchangeably, each has distinct differences. This article will help describe some differences that can clarify the topic. Knowing the differences will help you determine what type of cleaning services are needed for your specific office location.

What is Cleaning?

Cleaning is removing visible dirt and other soil from surfaces with detergents, solvents, or soap, but it does not eliminate bacteria and viruses. Simply cleaning a surface does not eliminate germs and dirt, rather it just eliminates them from the top layer.

By using cleaning agents combined with the proper cleaning procedure, the majority of bacteria and dirt on surfaces can be eliminated.

Remember, if you’re using a cleaner to kill harmful germs, you actually haven’t killed anything.

If you want to kill the organisms that are left behind from cleaning, a disinfectant must be applied to the surface.

This means any germs that have been missed during the cleaning process have a greater potential to breed and propagate, resulting in the further spread of the germ.

What is Disinfecting?

Killing germs is the sole purpose of disinfecting, but it’s important to note that disinfectants alone cannot rid surfaces of dirt and grime.

In fact, disinfectants should be used after a proper cleaning, as they are unable to penetrate through stubborn soils.

A quick tip: don’t be fooled into thinking disinfectants are a quick fix for those pesky soda spills or food stains. They simply won’t cut it when it comes to removing soils effectively.

In fact, attempting to use disinfectants for this purpose will leave you with an unpleasantly sticky and unpleasantly scented surface.

Final Thoughts

Although reducing germs is important in any type of office, each facility requires different cleaning products and procedures depending on foot traffic, types of surfaces, surfaces, and cleaning frequency.

Pairing the right chemicals, methods, and dwell time can also improve the effectiveness of your cleaning and disinfecting efforts.