Disinfecting, Sanitizing & Cleaning : What are the differences?

The global pandemic has been ongoing for 2 years. We have certainly gotten used to practicing the new normal in our daily lives to not only protect ourselves but also the people around us. As much as the world is entering the endemic phase, it is also important to be vigilant with the pandemic situation to stay safe and healthy. 

Oftentimes, when it comes to cleaning in general, the words cleaning, sanitize and disinfect would be used interchangeably. However, there is a significant difference between these three terms and knowing the difference can help you to know how to keep your home hygienic and safe. So, what exactly are the differences?

Cleaning vs Sanitising vs Disinfecting

Cleaning removes germs, visible dirt and dust of a space or surface. Usually can be done with just water or with the aid of cleaning agents (soap, detergent), mechanical agent (scrubbing tool) and the temperature of water. 

Sanitizing reduces the amount of germs and bacteria that could be harmful to one’s health to a safe level according to public health standards. Sanitization is crucial for health and hygiene and should be done on frequently touched spots such as doorknobs, switches or tabletops.

Disinfecting kills bacteria, viruses and fungi on surfaces. It is usually done with the aid of chemical agents that kill organisms or technology such as ultraviolet light to make the environment sterile and not suitable for germs and bacteria to reproduce.

How should I clean, sanitize and disinfect my home?

Overall, house cleaning should be done on a daily, weekly or monthly basis along with basic housekeeping to keep the house tidy and comfortable. However, general cleaning may only be sufficient on the surface level but it still can’t completely eliminate the presence of germs and viruses in the space. Hence, sanitization comes in place as an additional measure to reduce the presence of germs and bacteria on communal touch points such as door knobs, switches or taps. Disinfecting the house should take place whenever there is a presence of virus-linked sickness occurring in the household. Especially in these pandemic period, it is highly recommended to conduct regular home disinfection to eliminate and reduce the presence of not only the COVID-19 virus but also airborne or foodborne germs and bacteria that may cause harm to one’s health. 

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