The Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing
In light of all the questions surrounding how to protect yourself from novel coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have issued clarifications on the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing:
Cleaning removes germs and dirt from surfaces. You can use soap and water to clean surfaces. This doesn’t always kill germs, but removing them lowers their numbers. It’s suggested to clean surfaces before you disinfect them.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces. Disinfectant chemicals are stronger than soap but do not necessarily clean visibly dirty surfaces or remove germs. Killing germs lowers the risk of infection. To properly disinfect, products need to remain on a surface for a specific amount of time — usually 3 to 5 minutes.
Sanitizing also kills germs, but disinfecting kills more of them. Some products are capable of doing both, but disinfecting requires a bit more work. Still, sanitizers effectively lower the risk of infection.
If you need to enlist the help of professionals to handle your home or place of business, search for a cleaning professional in your state.