Cleaning -vs- Sanitizing -vs- Disinfecting

Published on 12 January 2023 at 10:19

Cleaning -vs- Sanitizing -vs- Disinfecting

Some people may believe that cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are all the same things. At Allbright Systems, we know that there is a difference and it involves the level of germs left behind when you are finished.



Cleaning is the removal of dirt and grime. This process can be done with with or without soap. Cleaning may remove some germs, but does not kill germs or even gaurentee that germs are at a safe level. However, cleaning does make things look nicer, and should always be completed before sanitizing or disinfecting. Dust, dirt, and grime left on surfaces make it harder for germ fighting chemicals to do their job effectively.


Sanitizing removes some germs, and therefore lowers germs to a safer level. Sanitizing does not kill germs. Antibacterial solutions, sanitizing sprays, or highly diluted bleach are the most common chemicals used to sanitize objects and surfaces. What most people do not realize is that in order to be effective, most of these products should be left on surfaces for up to 60 seconds. With that in mind, it is always important to read the instructions on any cleaning products.



Disinfecting will actually kill germs. Disinfecting sprays, chlorine, alcohol, and bleach that is at least ¼ cup per gallon of water are common chemicals used for disinfecting objects and surfaces. Any objects and surfaces that are touched often should be regularly disinfected to prevent the spread of diseases. In order to effectively kill germs, some of these chemicals may need to be left on a surface for up to an hour, while others should be allowed to air-dry.



The difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting is the levels of germs left behind when you are finished.

** Germs are microscopic bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoa that can cause disease

** One germ can multiply into over eight-million germs in just 24 hours

Grems and Bacteria

** Bacteria in temperatures from 40°F to 140°F can double in number in as little as 20 minutes

by Stacey Renfro

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