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 year’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!