Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Prior to the pandemic, janitorial services were primarily responsible for cleaning, rather than cleaning and disinfecting. Now, there is a much greater focus on both. What’s the difference? In short, cleaning = removing germs, while disinfecting = killing germs. One keeps germs alive, just at a lesser amount, as opposed to destroying them completely.

What is Disinfecting?
Typically, there was disinfecting that occurred in restrooms and break areas, but little elsewhere. To properly disinfect, a surface must be cleaned first, and then a disinfectant must “dwell” on the surface for between 1 and 10 minutes to properly kill the germs. Different products have different “dwell” times, causing the process to take longer than just cleaning alone. Disinfecting surfaces is one of the most reliable ways to help lower the risk of spreading germs from surfaces by touch.

What Surfaces Need Disinfecting?
In a commercial setting, it is especially important to disinfect high-touch areas and any areas or items that are shared between a large number of individuals. For example, doorknobs, light switches, and working spaces are touched often by a variety of folks. Tools or shared spaces, like break rooms, copiers, bathrooms, and even pens and keyboards also benefit from thorough disinfecting given the range of individuals they serve.

Why is Disinfecting Important?
The reason disinfecting surfaces has become so important is because disinfectants are the only products approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to kill/destroy viruses on hard services. Sanitizers or cleaning methods often only deal with bacteria removal, while disinfectants have been shown to be effective at actually breaking down both bacteria and viruses.

Remember the Difference
Cleaning removes dust, debris, and dirt from a surface by scrubbing, washing, and rinsing. Germs are not necessarily killed, just fully or partially removed, so there are fewer remaining that could potentially spread infection.

Disinfecting destroys or inactivates bacteria and viruses on hard, nonporous surfaces through the use of Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectants. This process doesn’t necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but instead kills germs left on the surface after cleaning to lower the risk of spreading infection.

And, no matter which you need for your space, the skilled team at BCC can help.