To Clean, Sanitize or Disinfect?

To Clean, Sanitize or Disinfect?

23 May 2023

These days disinfecting our Healthy Environments takes up  lot of time and energy.  It's  important to know the options available to you and the difference between types of products.  Below is an easy read on the difference of Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting. 


Cleaning is the process of removing food and other types of soil from a surface, such as a dish, glass, or cutting board. Cleaning is accomplished using a cleaning agent that removes food, soil, rust stains, minerals, or other deposits. The right cleaning agent must be selected because not all can be used on food-contact surfaces. (A food-contact surface is defined as a surface of equipment or utensil with which food normally comes into contact or a surface of equipment or a utensil from which food may drain, drip, or splash into a food or onto a surface normally in contact with food.)


Sanitizing is the process of reducing the number of microorganisms that are on a properly cleaned surface to a safe level. A safe level is defined as a 99.999% reduction of the number of disease microorganisms that are of public health importance. Sanitizing is accomplished by using heat, radiation, or chemicals. Unless the item to be sanitized is effectively cleaned first, it is impossible to obtain close contact between the sanitizing product and the surface to the sanitized. Also, some chemical that sanitize, such as chlorine and iodine, react with organic matter and so will be less effective when the surface is not properly cleaned.


Disinfectants are products that destroy all organisms in 10 minutes during the AOAC Use Dilution Test, a test regulated by the EPA to determine the efficiency of disinfectants. In a hospital situation it's more important to kill all germs even if it takes longer rather than to kill most of them quickly.  Your Healthy Environment deserves to be disinfected.  

Now that we have defined cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting, let’s look to some practical examples of when we want to use each of the options.

When cleaning is a good option

We all have times when we spill something. Our instinct is to grab a wet rag or paper towel and wipe up the mess. We are removing the actual spill which is great. This reduces the stickiness and the intrusion of ants drawn to the area. Cleaning something is just addressing the surface dirt. The area may look better, but in reality underlying germs are still present. Cleaning is a good option for a day to day wipe down of areas. In a pinch clean it. But if all we ever do is just clean, our environments will never be in a truly healthy state.

Sanitize for a better options

Sanitizing is a chemical process that lessens and even kills germs on surfaces to make them safe for contact. Usually you sanitize in kitchens and other areas that come into contact with food. We want to sanitize areas like the kitchen, utensils, children’s toys and other objects that come in contact with our mouth. Sanitizing is a quick way to remove many of the germs on objects. The bartender sanitizes the glasses in between customer usage.

Disinfect for a truly healthy environment

Disinfecting requires a stronger solution to destroy germs rather than simply reduce them. Disinfecting takes more time as the chemicals will sit on the surface longer providing the most germ free surface. Areas that require disinfecting are usually high traffic, high germ areas such as homes, businesses, baby changing tables, bathrooms, and areas that germs can linger and build up.

Sanitizing and disinfecting are both much better than just cleaning, because cleaning only removes surface dirt. When you sanitize or disinfect, you are removing potentially harmful bacteria that might not be visible to the naked eye.

ABC Sales & Services Specializes in Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting all of your Healthy Environment surfaces.

We build these processes into our services so you always are assured the most germ removal every time.

Whether you want one room cleaned or your whole environment,

we will deliver you a sanitized and disinfected result.

Give us a call at 340-774-1073 or visit our Services Page.

Let’s talk about your options.

Make This Your Germ Free Year!!!!

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