COVID 19: Differences between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting
Updated: Aug 28
As lockdown begins to lift and we're taking steps to get back to normality again, we must be cautious and alert to prevent the spreading of Covid-19 causing another spike of deaths.
We are all in this together and I am sure we all want to do our part to be done with this virus once and for all, so as we get back to work, to our offices, or even to visiting grandparents what should we do to ensure that our homes or workspace are suitable and safe to be in?
Is cleaning enough? Should you have the place disinfected or sanitized? And what is the difference?
Follow Given Advice
The best way to avoid spreading Covid-19 is to follow governments rules and guidelines, which are currently (though a little confusing):
1. Stay Alert: keep your distance, wash your hands, think of others and play your part.
2. Control the Virus: to help control the virus stay at home and work from home if possible and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary.
3. Save Lives: by doing our part in the above two points we will help save lives.
But what else can you do to ensure your place or workspace is suitable to work or be in?
Here is where you have to decide what would be best for your property or situation:
Cleaning is defined as removing dirt, marks or stains from a given surface, this is done by using water and detergents, soaps, enzymes and the mechanical action of washing or scrubbing the object.
If you are looking to prepare your space to be workable or inhabitable, cleaning must occur before disinfection or sanitizing, this is because cleaning removes any dust or dirt that would get in the way of actually removing the bacteria or virus from the surface.
Think of it this way, cleaning is like removing all the clutter from your bed before placing in the sheet, if you don't remove the clutter you'll be placing in the sheet over the pillows, books and in some cases cups (like that cup of coffee or tea you have in bed). It would be impossible to place the sheet and even if you manage to do so it would not fit the purpose because you would hardly be able to have a goodnight sleep with things poking your back.
The definition of sanitizing is to free from dirt, germs and bacteria by 99.99%.
Sanitizing is meant to reduce, not kill, the occurrence and growth of bacteria and germs, this is done by using specialised sanitizing chemicals.
After thoroughly cleaning your home or workspace (because remember this must be done first) you could choose to sanitize any surface area which is most commonly used, however it is important to note that sanitizing won't actually kill the bacteria or virus but will reduce it.
Disinfecting is defined as the process of killing multiple types of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, fungi.
This is done by the use of specialised chemicals that destroy the microscopic organisms.
Disinfecting works best after cleaning the area you intend to remove bacteria or virus, in this case because you want to get rid of possible Covid-19 which is a virus, disinfection is the best option not only will it remove the virus but it gives you the certainty that it will kill the virus.
The best practice to avoid the spread and contamination of Covid-19 and care for your loved ones, colleagues or employees is to first clean the area and then disinfect.
Yes, it might cost a bit of money but it's worth your own safety and the safety of those around you.