Sanitizing vs Disinfecting – When to Use Each

Did you ever think that not all cleaning jobs are created equal? Or that there are some major distinctions between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting your home?

Kadi Dulude, owner of Wizard of Homes affirms: “Cleaning refers to organizing and wiping down surfaces, like countertops, so that they appear neat and spotless.” “All-purpose cleaners are built to lift and remove visible smudges, spots, stains, and debris from surfaces.” The goal of cleaning is about the look and feel, although the cleaning products can potentially remove germs from surfaces (along with dirt and other organic material) and wash them away.

There are some places at home (like your kitchen counters, faucet handles, and doorknobs) where you want to follow up your cleaning with a sanitizer or a disinfectant, although there are cleaners that will help make your surfaces look nice and shiny. Cleaning by itself won’t kill germs like bacteria, viruses, or fungi, so you’ll need to find other solutions.

Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

The difference between sanitizing and disinfecting is a matter of semantics. They both aim to reduce the amount of contamination present on a surface by killing germs, but it is safe to affirm that by definition, disinfecting kills more germs than sanitizing. Usually, disinfecting is made through a solution or a device that reduces the number of germs on a surface by 99.9 percent or more. They use the word “disinfecting” for chemical products that are designed to “kill virtually everything” on a surface.

When it is necessary to sanitize?

Dalude affirms: “Sanitizing is necessary for surfaces that come in contact with food,”. “Created with pathogens that reduce germs and fungi, sanitizing sprays will make your surfaces safe to touch again.”

If you don’t want to use chemicals to sanitize, you can use an appliance that resemblances a dishwasher or a steam cleaner. This device will bring contaminated surfaces into contact with extreme heat (at least 170 degrees) to kill bacteria and other germs. It is the best solution for porous surfaces like carpets and upholstery, which can’t be effectively disinfected with a chemical product.

When do you need to disinfect?

You’ll need a good disinfectant spray to get the job done if you absolutely need to remove every last bit of contamination in a space. Dulude affirms: A quality disinfectant spray should remove 100 percent of the microscopic organisms on your surfaces,” “While it may not be that helpful in the stain-removing department, it will effectively stop the spread of diseases and viruses—like colds and flus—wherever you use it.”

Overuse of disinfectants

Don’t use the disinfectants all the time. It is recommended you use them only when you absolutely need to, for specific tasks.  According to EPA “Studies have found that the use of some disinfectant products is creating microbes that can mutate into forms that are resistant to particular disinfectants or that become superbugs,”.

In conclusion

Given the international context, we think it is good to know the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting and when you should use them. Also, be aware of the overuse of these disinfectants, you don’t want to transform the bugs in superbugs.

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