Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing

Recent global events have garnered increased attention to cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing. Sometimes, these terms are used interchangeably, but is this truly the case? What are the differences between these words and how might this have an impact on you?


As it turns out, there are some small but important distinctions to be made. Cleaning is the most general of the terms and refers broadly to removing dirt and “impurities” from a surface. By itself, cleaning does not imply that a surface is virus or bacteria-free, and may remove germs but won’t necessarily inactivate or kill them. Soap and water is a commonly used cleaning reagent.


Disinfecting refers more specifically to inactivating or killing the germs on surfaces. This can include bacteria, viruses, and other particles like spores, and requires the use of a good disinfectant. At a more extreme level, something is considered to be sterile when it is deemed completely void of any contaminating germs. However, just because a surface is disinfected does not mean that it has been cleaned. Good practice usually involves first cleaning off surfaces to remove grime, dust, and dirt, then following up with a disinfectant. 


Sanitizing something is a bit of a combination of cleaning and disinfecting and refers to lowering the levels of germs by removing them or killing them. A good cleaning company will sanitize surfaces and pay special attention to frequently touched areas, like keyboards and doorknobs. Keeping a place sanitary can also refer to keeping the level of germs at a safe level as determined by public health professionals. 

Proper cleaning and disinfecting will help protect you against harmful germs and virus particles. Of course, this should always be paired with good personal hygiene, including washing your hands and being mindful after touching shared public surfaces. Regency Cleaning is here to support you remotely during these difficult times. You can reach us by phone at 403-520-7788.