disinfecting surfaces

Difference Between Sanitizing, Cleaning & Disinfecting

How to Stay Clean and Safe in Strange Times

There’s no doubt about it: this year has gotten off to a weird start. We’ve all experienced nasty viruses that seem to drag on and on and leave us hoping and praying for a quick recovery, but this disinfecting surfacesyear’s flu season morphed into something nobody was prepared for. It has turned our streets into ghost towns and substantially changed how we look at healthcare, how we interact with each other and how business is conducted. COVID-19 is a nasty virus on many levels. As well as wreaking havoc on us, its presence highlights a glaring gap in our knowledge of how cleaning stems the progress of a virus, whether it’s through a household or through a community.

With that in mind, let’s start with some cleaning definitions…

What’s the difference Between Sanitizing, Cleaning and Disinfecting?

Sanitizing is an odd term, since it’s basically just a fancy way of referring to the act of cleaning or disinfecting. Basically, by sanitizing a surface, you are reducing the number of germs on that surface to what’s considered to be a safe level according to national health authorities.

Cleaning refers to the physical act of removing germs and other nasty things from a surface, using specific cleaners or soaps, such as our Nature Power and our Soft Shine Dish Soap. Without the presence of a disinfectant, cleaning simply removes germs instead of killing them.

Disinfecting is where the tough love comes in. A disinfectant is a chemical or natural substance that is used specifically to kill germs/microbes. It’s important to know that a disinfectant may not clean a surface or remove the germs from it; it just kills the germs, so it’s a good idea to either use a cleaner with a built-in disinfectant, or a simple scrubbing solution followed by a separate disinfectant.

What Can You do to Stay Safe?

When there’s a nasty virus making the rounds, no matter what kind of virus it is, there are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of exposing yourself and your loved ones to it. Here are a few proactive steps you can take to lower the risk of infection:

  • Be proactive. Some viruses, like your average influenza, have vaccines. Even if you are the sort of person who gets sick only once in a while, getting vaccinated for known viruses is always a good idea because it can help slow the progress of a virus through a family or a community. You can also keep yourself home if you start to feel sick, as well as cover up your coughs and sneezes and regularly wash your hands.
  • Disinfect. Surfaces like countertops, stair railings, door handles, household appliances and faucets should be cleaned and disinfected frequently, since viruses can travel through contact with surfaces carrying the germs for that virus.
  • Regular cleaning. If you can stay on top of your regular household cleaning, then disinfecting your surfaces will be a cinch because the tough work is already done. If a surface comes in contact with bodily fluids, then that surface needs to be cleaned and disinfected immediately. You can choose to use your favourite multi-surface cleaner, or you can choose to use a cleaner that is formulated for a specific area of your home, such as our Red Marvel Bathroom Cleaner. To make sure you are cleaning and disinfecting properly, make sure you follow the instructions laid out on the label of your cleaner. If you want to disinfect your electronics, you’ll need to spray some cleaner on a soft cloth instead of spraying it directly onto the item.
  • Product Safety. Our environmentally sensitive cleaners are safer to use than most regular cleaners but, as with anything, you should still make sure to read the label carefully and follow the instructions. For general safety, it’s not a good idea to mix cleaners (unless the label says it’s OK). If you happen to be using regular store-bought cleaners, then paying attention to the label could mean the difference between you being safe and you landing yourself in the hospital.
  • Proper Waste Disposal. If there’s a virus going around, proper waste management can get a bit tricky. Since there’s a good chance your wastebasket will fill up with used tissues and disposable items that might have come in contact with a sick person, you should make sure you line your basket with a bag and either use gloves to remove it or keep your hands away from the waste. If you make sure that a series of no-touch baskets are available in convenient spots around your home, you can reduce the chance of used tissues and other disposables being left lying around.

The biggest part of combating a virus is simply being active in fighting it. If you pay attention to how you are cleaning and disinfecting your home and business, you stand a much better chance of fighting off a nasty virus.

It’s a strange world we live in these days, folks. Stay safe by staying clean!

Hand Sanitizer Now in Store!!!

We are very pleased to announce we now have 60 ml (perfect purse or pocket size) hand sanitizer in stock.  Made in Vancouver, the Alpha Handrub contains 75% Ethanol and is both scent free and dye free.  Alpha Handrub also has Health Canada approval.  Along with the Ethanol, Alpha Handrub contains Glycerol, Hydrogen Peroxide and Distilled Water.

Over the next few months, we hope to secure a reasonably priced Canadian bulk provider of Sanitizing Gel as we would love to be able to offer a re-fill option for customers.  Purchasing in bulk will also hopefully result in us being able to pass on savings to our customers……stay tuned on our progress.  Please continue to practice social distancing and remember to wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day if possible.

Product Deliveries Now available!!

In an effort to assist those of you that are self isolating or that have mobility/transportation issues,  we are now offering a delivery/re-fill service.  We are happy to offer this service until  our health authorities are convinced we are safe to return to normal social activities.   We will not be charging customers for this service however we ask that orders placed be above $30.00 to help offset costs on our end.  The service provided will be “re-fill only” as we are currently experiencing packaging supply shortages throughout Canada.   We also ask that you insure the outside of powder buckets and liquid bottles have been thoroughly cleaned prior to re-filling.  If you would like to take advantage of this service, simply contact us at 250-475-0033.  At this time, delivery days are scheduled for Thursdays and Fridays only. Rest assured that credit card information provided over the phone will be destroyed once the transaction is complete.

One parting thought……..as a community we are all longing for the day that life returns to “normal”.  To help you with what might seem to be a daunting time period ahead, may we suggest you think of it in terms of “recycle days” as opposed to the # of months i.e. “Just think…..only 4 -6 recycle days left until we can go to dinner and a movie or a Shamrocks game”.  Psychologically this sounds a lot sooner than “just think…..in 2 – 3 months we can go to dinner and a movie or a Shamrocks game”.  Don’t know if this helps….but it is sure worth a shot.   Please stay healthy and safe everybody.  We will beat this.

Hand’s a Little Dry these days?

With all the hand washing you are no doubt doing these days, it is more than likely taking it’s toll.  We have many moisturizing options in store to help heal your dry chapped hands.  From Salt Spring Island’s award winning “Dream Cream” to Lantzville’s line of “Simple Luxuries” moisturizers to North Saanich’s “Millstone Farm & Organics” shea butter to our very own refillable “Sensibility Hand Lotion”, we have you (and your hands) covered.

A few reminders (and a little bit of good news)

Over the coming weeks, we would like to offer a gentle reminder that the best thing you can to do for you and your family is stay home as much as possible (this includes your backyard).  The more we do this, the shorter the time period we will have to isolate ourselves from one another.  Be strong, be smart, be safe, stay healthy and remember to wash your hands throughout the day.

During this challenging time it is a real treat to be able to share some GOOD NEWS.  We have recently received a large supply of inventory so our levels are very healthy for the time being.  We will continue to have to “ration” some products and we ask that you keep this in mind when making your purchase.  We want to be in a position to help as many customers as possible and we ask that you ensure you are purchasing for your short term needs only.   Also, we now have a small amount of toilet paper in stock and, for the time being,  must limit purchases to no more than 10 rolls at a time (remember these are 500 sheet 2 Ply rolls).   Our store continues to be open seven days a week (Monday – Saturday from 9:30 – 6:00 and Sundays from Noon – 4:00).    If you have any special needs, please reach out to us via phone or e-mail and we will see how we can help you out.

Updated Store Policy Update during the Covid-19 Outbreak

During these highly unusual times, The Soap Exchange will be enforcing the following personal safety measures until further notice.  We would also like to thank all of our customers (new and old) for your support over the past few busy weeks.  It is our intent to remain open for business and we will be keeping with our normal business hours until we are directed otherwise by the various health authorities.  Over the past few weeks we have been experiencing inventory shortages due to the spike in demand for our products and we greatly appreciate your patience and support.  The great news is we anticipate that our inventory levels will be returning to “close to normal” by March 25 (except for our toilet paper supply which we anticipate will be addressed around the 9th of April).  Effective immediately, the following personal safety measures will be followed:


  • We have enabled the “tap” feature on our POS  system, and ask that when possible, customers utilize this payment feature if paying by debit card or credit card.
  • We will be limiting the number of customers within the store to 5 at any given time.
  • Prior to bringing in packaging for re-filling, we ask that you only bring containers that have been thoroughly cleaned.
  • When you are within the store, please respect the social distancing guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health (minimum of 2 metres).

Once again, we thank you for your support over the past few weeks and look forward to serving you for many years to come.  Please stay safe, wash your hands thoroughly throughout the day (minimum of 20 seconds per wash) and sneeze or cough into your sleeve or onto a tissue .  Please be supportive of each other as we are all in this together and deserve compassion, mutual respect and safety.  WE WILL GET THROUGH THIS STRESSFUL TIME and be stronger as a community as things get back to normal.


Thank you and please stay healthy and safe.

Christmas Store Hours

The Soap Exchange will be closed December 25 & 26.  We will re-pen normal hours on Friday, December 27 (9:30 – 6:00).  Thank you to all our customers and supporters over the past year.  It has been a great pleasure serving you and we look forward to serving you for many years to come.  Merry Christmas to all of you and all the best in health and happiness in 2020.

Labour Day Weekend Hours

In recognition of Labour Day, The Soap Exchange will be closed on Monday, September 2nd.   We will be open our normal hours over the weekend.  Thank you and we hope you have a fun and safe long weekend.

Happy Canada Day

In celebration and recognition of Canada Day 2018, we will be closed Sunday July 1 and will re-open regular hours July 2 (9:30-6:00).  Enjoy the festivities and have a great and safe Canada Day long weekend.

New Westshore Distributor and Re-Fill Centre

We are very pleased to announce the opening of our new distributor/re-fill centre in the WestShore on May 9, 2018.  Please join us in welcoming Oak Tree Naturals to our Westshore community as well as to our growing distribution network.  Oak Tree Naturals is located at 705 Goldstream Avenue (near Maygold Restaurant) and will be re-filling and carrying many of our most popular products.  If you are unable to find the product of your choice, we will happily offer a special order service to avoid you having to make your way into our main store on Hillside Avenue.  Next time you are in the neighborhood of Goldstream Avenue and Veteran’s Memorial Parkway, be sure to drop by Oak Tree Naturals and say hello.  All the best in your new venture Aman, Bryony and family.