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The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Cleaning. Sanitizing. Disinfecting. These are all words that can be thrown about when it comes to cleaning services. In fact, there are very clear definitions for each of these words. Each represents a different level of removing substances from a surface or fabric. Let’s talk about what each of these terms actually means, the difference between them, and how to avoid germs.

How to Clean

Think of cleaning as a first step. Cleaning is wiping or sweeping away any visible dirt, dust, crumbs, or other substances. Usually you clean with a cloth, soap and water.  Using other detergents is possible as well. You should be sure to clean before any further steps. Cleaning on a regular basis helps remove many of the germs but does not kill them. After some time, it will be important to make a further effort to remove microbes from the surface or fabric. 

How to Sanitize

Once you’ve done a good cleaning, you can sanitize. Sanitizing does not kill germs. It would not kill either bacteria or viruses, but will greatly reduce the amount on the surface. Sanitizing is used to remove germs and bring a surface up to the public health standards. Sanitizing is often done in laundry or food prep surfaces. If you sanitize laundry or surfaces that will handle food, it is important to ensure the chemicals you are using are safe for touching the skin or ingested. 

How to Disinfect

After you have cleaned, if sanitizing isn’t enough, you can disinfect the surface. In order to disinfect, you need to use chemicals that will kill viruses and bacteria. Not all disinfectants will kill the same viruses or bacteria. Check the label of the product you plan on using in order to see what kinds of microbes it will kill. Some of the most popular disinfectants use either a bleach or alcohol-based solution. Some products will give you the option of cleaning and disinfecting at the same time. Disinfectants should be left on a surface for a period of time in order to kill bacteria and viruses.  

But wait… what is sterilization?

The chances are that you will not need to sterilize an area, especially not a home. This is done in laboratories and surgical rooms. Sterilization will kill all microorganisms on a surface, not just bacteria and viruses. This is done with chemicals that can be destructive if used in an incorrect way. If sterilization is necessary, you should contact a professional cleaning service in order to ensure you will be protected and that the surfaces are properly sterilized.

Avoiding Germs

First of all, germs have a bad reputation, when in fact they are a part of life. Germs can be found everywhere, from the water we drink, to inside our bodies. Many microbes are good, and some even help. However, they do have their bad counterparts. These bad germs can cause illness, so it is important to do what we can to prevent contact with these germs. Keeping our homes and workplaces clean is incredibly important when it comes to avoiding germs. The places you interact with others the most will have the most germs. 

We can make your workplace clean at Zia, whether you need cleaning, sanitizing, or disinfecting. Get in touch today to get started and feel cleaner.