Cleaning VS. Disinfecting VS. Sanitizing...Are You Using the Correct One?

Cleaning VS. Disinfecting VS. Sanitizing...Are You Using the Correct One?

Erin Deller2/19/20

Despite using the names interchangeably, cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants are not interchangeable.  Insuring the proper use of chemicals saves you time, money, and potentially health!

  • Cleaners remove soil or dirt.  By mixing with the soil, cleaners allow for the soil or debris to be wiped away. We recommend Hardcore Everything Cleaner or Todo by Hardcore. While both of those are sanitizers, they are great options for general cleaners.
  • Sanitizers are hygienic, reducing the growth of bacteria.  They do NOT completely eliminate bacteria! They are required to reduce microorganisms on a surface to a level considered safe by public health standards. Give Hardcore Everything Cleaner or Todo by Hardcore a try.
  • Disinfectants are the germ killers.  The job of a disinfectant is to totally eliminate nearly 100 percent of germs, bacteria, or virus from a surface. Vital Oxide is our recommended option.

In order to reduce or eliminate germs from surfaces, all surfaces must first be cleaned.  Step one must always be to use a cleaner to remove dirt or soils.  Next, it should be determined whether to sanitize or disinfect. The distinction is an important one! If a sanitizer removes 90 percent of bacteria, it is not truly disinfected. 

Think of this, if there are 102,465 commercial flights daily and 99.9 percent arrived safely, that would mean 1,025 planes crashed each day.  At 99.999 percent, only 10 would crash everyday.  When comparing to millions of microorganisms, the use of a disinfectant can mean the difference of millions of germs being left behind.

Disinfectants often require a dwell time to work completely.  Make sure the instructions are followed closely as to achieve true disinfection.  Some surfaces need only be sanitized, like those that people may not come in direct contact with. Other surfaces, like toilet flush handles or door handles, will need to be disinfected as they directly contact more offensive contaminants.  Proper training on effective cleaning is the best way to ensure the desired end result.  A restroom setting should always require cleaning and disinfecting, where as a desk surface may only need cleaned and sanitized.  A health care facility requires disinfecting and an office building may only need sanitized. 

Remember, not all chemicals are created equally and don’t provide equal results! If you ever have questions about what chemical should be used, we are always happy to help.


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