Get to Know the Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the best practice to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections is through routine cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. Disinfecting surfaces with bleach and other disinfecting products is one of the ways to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Some if not all may not know the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting. However, Clorox differentiates these three as follows:

Cleaning – This removes dust, debris and dirt from a surface by scrubbing, washing and rinsing.

Sanitizing – This reduces the bacteria identified on the product’s label on surfaces and in laundry.

Disinfecting – This destroys or inactivates both the bacteria and viruses identified on the product’s label on hard, nonporous surfaces. Examples of these bacteria and viruses are influenza and rhinovirus.

The above data from Clorox indicates that Disinfecting is important in terms of eliminating bacteria and viruses. Reason: Disinfectants are the only products approved by the EPA to kill viruses on hard surfaces.


A written article from Michigan State University says that the words cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are being used a lot. Most if not all do not know the difference and mixing up these terms can result in poor cleaning practices and the spread of illness. Michigan State University based their differentiation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC differentiate the three as follows:

Cleaning – This removes germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces and objects. It is done by using soap, detergent or another cleaning product and water. Then, it is done by physically scrubbing to remove the germs from the surface. Notable is that cleaning does not kill germs, fungus or molds. Cleaning just removes the visible dirt. But, the dirt and debris must be removed first before sanitizing or disinfecting.

Sanitizing – This reduces the number of germs on a surface to safe levels. Sanitizing is done by using a commercial sanitizing product like chlorine bleach mixed with water with the proper mix ratio.

Disinfecting – This kills the germs on surfaces by using a stronger cleaning chemical solution. This can lower the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting is more important during COVID-19 crisis. According to WebMD,  there are a number of home cleaning supplies that may be effective against Coronavirus as per the experts. It further states that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends daily disinfection of frequently touched surfaces. Prior to disinfection is to clean the dirty surfaces with the use of detergent or soap and water.

Disinfecting can be done with the right concentration of bleach diluted in water or alcohol diluted in water. Even the right concentration of hydrogen peroxide diluted to water is also effective against coronaviruses.







If you are worried about the spread or contamination of the Coronavirus, it is good news that Club Clean can help you.

Club Clean is a commercial cleaning company that is composed of staff well trained to Clean, Sanitize and Disinfect your hospitals, gyms, health spaces, offices, warehouses and other commercial spaces.

Club Clean is serving satisfied clients with the trusted janitorial services in Chicagoland, NWI, Michiana, Fort Wayne, Kokomo, Indianapolis and surrounding counties.

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