Cleaning vs Disinfecting: What’s the Difference

It doesn’t matter if you are maintaining your house, a school, an office, or any other facility – you probably have many questions about what are the best practices to protect your property from COVID-19 and its spread. In a highly-contaminated time like the one we are living, cleaning and disinfecting is the most crucial part of your maintenance routine to help prevent the spread of viruses, and it is equally important to know the differences between cleaning and disinfecting.

The process of CLEANING refers to the removal of germs and dirt from surfaces. Cleaning will not kill germs; it simply removes them or reduces the number of germs in order to lower the risk of infection.

The process of DISINFECTING uses effective chemicals to kill germs. In order to eliminate COVID-19 and reduce the risk of spreading the virus, the CDC recommends that hard surfaces be cleaned AND disinfected frequently using household cleaners and EPA-registered disinfectants.

Differences between Cleaning and Disinfecting

CLEANING removes dust, debris, and dirt from a surface by scrubbing, washing, and rinsing. DISINFECTING destroys or inactivates both the bacteria and viruses on hard, nonporous surfaces. Areas that are commonly touched should be both CLEANED and DISINFECTED frequently.

The Order of Operations

If disinfecting a surface is the task at hand, the order of operations is crucial. You need to remember that just as in the alphabet; the letter “C” (CLEANING) comes before the letter “D” (DISINFECTING). First, clean the surface with regular detergent to remove any visible dirt or waste particles. Second, rinse the surface with water, dry, and then lastly apply disinfectant.

Why and When to Disinfect

You should always disinfect – not only clean or sanitize – because disinfectants are the only products approved by the E.P.A to kill viruses on hard surfaces. While in quarantine, it’s important to disinfect the hard, nonporous surfaces throughout your home at least 3 times per day. If someone in your household has COVID-19 or shows symptoms, disinfect the high-touch surfaces in the areas they enter as frequently as possible.

Select a Disinfectant That Can Be Effectively Used Against COVID-19

During this highly-infectious time, contamination prevention and control has never been more vital. Clean & Protect provides scientifically-proven and cost-effective disinfection methods to enhance infection prevention and control while at the same time being sensitive to the customer experience and minimizing the impact on service delivery and direct contact with bacteria.