Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing: What's the Difference and Why It Matters
Keeping our homes and workplaces clean and free of germs is more important than ever. But with so many cleaning products on the market, it can be difficult to know what we should use and when. Two terms that often get confused are disinfecting and sanitizing. While they both help to kill germs, they are not the same thing. In this article, we’ll discuss the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing, why both are important, and provide some tips on the dos and don’ts of each.
Disinfecting vs. Sanitizing: What’s the Difference?
Both of these practices involve the use of chemicals to kill germs, but there is a difference between the two. Disinfecting refers to the process of using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Disinfectants are designed to be stronger than sanitizers and are meant to eliminate a wider range of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens. Sanitizing refers to the process of reducing the number of germs on surfaces to a safe level, as determined by public health standards.
The Importance of Disinfecting and Sanitizing
Both disinfecting and sanitizing are important for keeping our homes and workplaces clean and free of germs. Disinfecting is particularly important in high-traffic areas and places where people may come into contact with bodily fluids, such as hospitals and schools. Sanitizing is important in all areas, as it helps to reduce the spread of germs and prevent illness.
Dos and Don’ts of Sanitizing and Disinfecting
To get the most out of your sanitizing and disinfecting efforts, here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
Read and follow the instructions on the label of your cleaning products, including the contact time required for disinfecting and sanitizing.
Use disinfectants and sanitizers that are appropriate for the surface you are cleaning. For example, some disinfectants can damage certain types of materials, such as wood or marble.
Focus on high-touch areas, such as doorknobs, light switches, and countertops.
Allow surfaces to air dry after disinfecting or sanitizing. This ensures that the chemicals have enough time to work effectively.
Wear gloves and other protective gear when handling cleaning chemicals.
Don’t mix different cleaning products together. This can create toxic fumes or other dangerous reactions.
Don’t use expired cleaning products. Expired products may not be as effective at killing germs.
Don’t rely solely on sanitizing wipes or sprays. These products may not be as effective at killing germs as other types of disinfectants.
Don’t use disinfectants or sanitizers on food-contact surfaces unless they are explicitly labeled as safe for use on these surfaces.
Disinfecting and sanitizing are both important for keeping our homes and workplaces clean and free of germs. While they are not the same thing, they both play a critical role in preventing the spread of illness. By following the dos and don’ts of sanitizing and disinfecting, you can ensure that your cleaning efforts are effective and safe.