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Cleaning, Sanitizing & Disinfecting: Compared

woman cleaning table with solutions

important. When most of us go into a shop, restaurant, or office, we look around to see if things are clean. We don’t want to see dusty shelves, clutter, or stains and debris on the floor.

Cleanliness promotes physical and mental health. Too much dust can aggravate allergies, and dirty glass, in some places, can actually make customers and workers unsafe. Also, think about the last time you gave your room or your home a good toss, and think about how happy and accomplished you felt.

How To Clean A Room

Cleaning refers to removing dust, dirt, trash, stains, and clutter from a physical area. Cleaning a room means wiping down glass and hard surfaces, usually with chemical sprays. Typically, cleaners begin towards the ceiling, wiping dust away from light fixtures or crown molding. Then they can clean waist level areas, like countertops. Finally, to finish the process, cleaners will sweep, mop, vacuum, use steam injectors or shampoo the hard floor or carpet. By cleaning the high areas first, cleaners gather all the dirt and dust on the floor, where they can then remove it easily.

person cleaning room properly

Sanitary Precautions

Cleaning is a regular task for most of us, often a daily task. Sometimes, though, you need more than a clean area. You will need to sanitize bathrooms and kitchens periodically. Sanitizing means using a chemical solution that will kill bacteria to ensure nobody gets sick from contaminated surfaces. Restaurant workers sanitize kitchen areas daily, including sinks, counters, prep surfaces, and floors.

To sanitize, you would use a chemical regulated and inspected by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), that is guaranteed to kill bacteria. Sanitizing solutions are only effective when label directions are followed. This means diluting the chemical with water and testing to make sure the solution has the right proportion of chemical to water. Once the solution is sprayed or wiped on the surface, it must sit for a minimum amount of time to make sure all the bacteria is removed.

Disinfecting is Super Sanitizing

disinfecting bathroom sink with chemicals

Disinfecting an area means treating it with solutions that will quell both bacteria and viruses. Consumer sanitizing products are not always formulated to stop viruses, which are hardy and persistent microscopic life forms that can make people very sick. The process for disinfecting is similar to that for sanitizing, but the chemicals are stronger and there are usually tests afterward to ensure no viral or bacteria presence. Disinfecting is a daily practice in medical facilities.

Putting it All Together

While cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are all specific processes, they typically go hand in hand. It doesn’t do much good to disinfect a countertop if the floor beneath it is covered in spills. Knowing the steps for these three key processes helps keep you, your family, and your customers safe.

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