Difference between Disinfecting, Sanitizing and Cleaning

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Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing are three terms commonly used in order to prevent infectious diseases from arising or spreading.

Its very important to know the difference between these three terms, as all cleaning jobs are very different and remove different types of bacteria and germs. All three terms are very important and used differently dependent on the situation and reason for cleaning.

Disinfecting vs Sanitizing

Cleaning removes germs from surfaces by using water and soap.  This process doesn’t necessarily kill germs but rather lifts and removes visible stains and bacteria from the surface area. The goal of cleaning is about the look and feel of the area and surface, rather than killing all the bacteria that’s lingering underneath.


The difference between disinfecting and sanitizing comes down to the minuscule details.  Both sanitizing and disinfecting are the most effective ways of killing germs, but if it comes down to it- disinfecting kills more germs by .1 percent. The word disinfecting by definition means to kill virtually everything that’s on the surface area. Most cleaning disinfecting cleaning supplies will clean literally every germ infectious disease that is lying around. Disinfectant cleaning is best used to treat high-touch point areas like light switches, doorknobs, bathroom faucets, computer screens. Its important to note that ‘cleaning’ becomes highly important before disinfecting a surface area as its important to wipe and clear any visible dirt or items on a surface before placing the chemical on or the effect wont be as strong.


The difference we see between sanitizing and disinfecting is the amount of germs being killed off on any surface. Sanitizing kills off 99.9 percent, which is still amazing results and considered safe by the public. The other difference is the fact that sanitizing can be done without the use of chemicals, and safer as more natural products can be used. When it comes to food, sanitizing is a great way to disinfect surface and counter top areas that come in contact with food, leaving the surface areas safe to touch and eat on. Sanitizing is also great for appliances like the dishwasher, laundry machine or a steam cleaner, daily uses for everyone while keeping safe and getting rid of almost every bacteria.

It’s important to understand our business and the chemicals being used within our commercial cleaning business. In order to fight this infectious disease and make everyone feel safe where they work and eat, we make sure to do a full disinfection of every building we clean from top to bottom, as leaving any germs behind on surface areas will not suffice. All three uses of cleaning are very important and depending on the type of clean and where we are cleaning we will use our best ability and judgment on the most efficient and top notch clean for every facility.

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