How Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Function

January 23, 2023 by Staff

Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are all important processes for maintaining a healthy and safe living environment. Even though the words “cleaning,” “sanitizing,” and “disinfecting” are frequently used interchangeably, their meanings are very different. 

Understanding these concepts can help you utilize products correctly and stop germs from spreading on your surfaces. 

In a nutshell, cleaners remove dirt and grime, sanitizers reduce germs on a surface to a level deemed safe for the public, and disinfectants are more successful than sanitizers at killing practically all microorganisms.

To guarantee optimal effectiveness, the cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting procedures are broken down below.


To ensure that you get rid of the majority of germs, dirt, and pollutants from surfaces, cleaning is a crucial initial step. Depending on the item to be cleaned, the cleaning technique, and the kind of soiling discovered on the item, different cleaning agents are employed. 

While cleansers remove visible filth and grime, they do not always get rid of viruses or bacteria. Cleaning agents come in four different categories.

Use the proper cleaning product for the object to be cleaned, the cleaning technique you’ll employ, and the level of soiling on the item to ensure effective cleaning.


After cleaning, sanitizers aid in reducing the number of bacteria and germs on surfaces. Sanitizing makes use of chemicals, but it’s not meant to eradicate infections. 

Sanitizer, according to the CDC, is a substance that lowers the quantity of bacterial pollutants to levels deemed safe by public health standards.

Hospitals, schools, and other public locations where there is a high risk of bacterial exposure frequently employ industrial sanitizers. Compared to household cleaners, industrial cleaners are different. 

They are made to kill a greater variety of bacteria and enhance overall cleanliness and industrial hygiene.

Food-contact surfaces and areas where food may be cooked, served, or kept require extra vigilance. Disinfectants must be washed with water after the required dwell time, even if they can be used on surfaces that come into contact with food. 

On the other hand, sanitizers are separated into groups for use with and without food.

For use on food-contact surfaces without rinsing, most food-contact sanitizers provide instructions. They are frequently preferred for locations where food is served.


Viruses and bacteria that persist on surfaces after cleaning can be killed by disinfectant solutions. For particular diseases, the EPA gives a list of disinfectants that are approved. The quantity and kind of germs that sanitizers and disinfectants kill are what differentiate them most from one another. 

In contrast to disinfectants, which virtually eradicate all organisms and can also kill viruses and fungi, sanitizers just destroy enough bacteria to make surfaces safe.

Apply a disinfectant to high-touch surfaces—those that people frequently touch, like doorknobs, handles, and trash can lids. Cleaning high-touch surfaces is beneficial, but disinfection eradicates pathogens. 

To use a disinfectant effectively, the surface must first be cleaned if it is obviously unclean. One-third cup per gallon of water, or 1,000 PPM, is the suggested bleach concentration. 

To determine the proper contact time or how long a disinfectant must remain wet on a surface to provide optimal efficacy, read the product label instructions.


Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are all important steps in maintaining a healthy and safe living environment. Understanding the variations among the procedures is important, as is ensuring that each is carried out appropriately and successfully. 

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