The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting

What’s the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting?

cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing

With the current health pandemic, businesses and individuals have more responsibilities when it comes to cleanliness. Institutions and gathering places are receiving recommendations from public health organizations to increase disinfection procedures to further protect the health of people who work, visit, or occupy a building or public environment.


Cleaning procedures generally include 3 steps: cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection. Whether you do the cleaning yourself or entrust this responsibility to a professional cleaning company, make sure you know the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting:

  1. Cleaning: Removes debris and dirt from surfaces. Think of this as cleaning the stuff you can see. This operation still reduces the presence of germs by 80%. Cleaning should be done in all areas of a business or home.


  1. Sanitizing: reduces the presence of germs to a level deemed acceptable by public health authorities. It is recommended to sanitize in places where there is contact with food such as kitchens and dining areas.


  1. Disinfecting: kills and eliminates viruses and bacteria at a rate of 99.999%. It is recommended that you disinfect areas that are in contact with contaminants and bodily fluids such as washrooms, and all frequently touched areas such as door and cupboard handles, light switches, faucets, coffee pots to name a few.


Remember, sanitizing and disinfection are ineffective if you haven’t cleaned first. Disinfectants can’t destroy germs that are under too much dirt! If you’re looking for complete commercial cleaning and disinfection services for your office, see how EnviroShield can help here.


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