What Is The Difference Between Sanitizing & Disinfecting? The words disinfect and sanitize, when it comes to cleaning are often used interchangeably. However, in reality, there is a huge difference between the two terms.
If you do not know the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting, then you should read on. Knowing the difference will help you to know exactly what cleaning products you need to buy.
Knowing the difference will also help you to know how to use them effectively so that you can keep your home a safe and clean environment.
The two major ways to protect yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic are cleaning commonly touched surfaces and washing your hands regularly. Experts have suggested that you should sanitize your hands when you are not near water and soap.
On the other hand, experts have mentioned that in order to be safe from this virus, you need to disinfect your home. This begs us to question what is the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a different definition for clean, sanitize and disinfect:
So, if you consider the relationship between cleaning, sanitize, and disinfect as a spectrum. Then cleaning will be at one end and disinfecting will be on the other.
While cleaning means simply removing dirt and other impurities from any surface, sanitizing and disinfecting go far beyond this. They are meant to eliminate harmful germs, bacteria, and viruses.
As judged by public health requirement or standards, sanitizing means the number of germs from any surface will be lowered to a safe level. This happens to be a little gentler than disinfection.
On the other hand, disinfecting means there will be removal of nearly 100% of germs, bacteria and viruses from any surface or object. To disinfect, most people use different chemicals that are known for killing germs, bacteria and viruses.
Disinfection does not necessarily mean that the surface has been cleaned. It means only that germs, bacteria, and viruses have been eliminated, and now there is a lower risk of infection.
There are certain procedures for cleaning your hands, groceries, and surfaces in your home like doorknobs. In the time we are living in, it is crucial to get it right. You want to save disinfectants for highly-touched areas and bigger messes of your home.
So, areas and places like the toilet, doorknobs, handles, and even the sinks need to be disinfected.
Many people use disinfecting wipes to clean the countertops of their kitchen, but it is highly advisable that you do not do this. Your food is being prepared on the surface of the countertop.
The residue of the disinfectant can be potentially harmful to you. Thus, you should sanitize your countertop. When you are using disinfecting wipes on different surfaces, you might get the urge to clean your hands with them.
It is highly advisable that you do not give in to such temptation. Disinfecting products have chemicals in them that can cause side effects on your skin if you use them. If washing your hands with soap is not an option, then it will be best to sanitize your hand.
It is suggested to give your hands a wash as there are some “good” bacteria living on your skin. So, when you are using something that kills off all bacteria, then you are potentially killing off some bacteria that are natural and helpful.
For this reason, experts suggest using hand sanitizer that contains about 60-70% alcohol only. When you bring groceries home, you do not have to sanitize and disinfect your groceries. You have to clean them using water only. Do not use soap on your groceries.
According EPA, a product needs to reduce bacteria from the surface by at least 99.9%. Depending on concentration of bleach in a solution, the solution will be called a disinfectant or a sanitizer. Solution with lower concentration of bleach will be considered as a sanitizer.
On the other hand, a solution with a high concentration of bleach will be considered a disinfectant.
Disinfectant needs to kill around 99.999% of bacteria according to EPA. Compared to sanitizer (99.9%) it has the capability to kill around 99.999% of germs. It may seem to be minimal, in reality, it makes a huge difference when it comes to reducing the spread of infection.
This was the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. Use the information provided here to accurately use different cleaning products on appropriate surfaces.