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What is Sanitising? Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitising

Posted On: April 17th, 2020 Author: Stephen Matthews

The whole world is going through a tough time when only cleaning is not enough to keep humans alive. Cleaning needs proper support, support of something that disinfects the surface and kills all the viruses and nuisance bacterias. And that’s where Sanitising is becoming a godsend help for the human race.

As per various reports, Sanitizers and disinfectants are effective enough to prevent the spread of deadly viruses, germs and bacterias. So in this article, we are going to talk about Sanitising, and Difference between Cleaning and Sanitising.

What is Sanitising?

Sanitising or sanitization is the process of sterilizing any surface from Viruses, germs and bad bacterias. Sanitization is different from normal cleaning because it is performed with a vital aim of killing viruses, germs and bad bacterias and not just cleaning. Additionally, You can understand it in this way that, Sanitizing reduces the number of pathogens on any clean surface to a safe level. In the sanitizing process, a variety of sensitizing agents or chemicals are sprayed on the surfaces.  The main ingredient in hand sanitisers that will kill SARS-CoV-2 is ethanol, the alcohol in surgical spirit. But its concentration in the sanitiser is very important –- it has to be over 70 % or it will not kill the virus effectively.

In short, Sanitizing is a step beyond the cleaning process of applying or spraying (or using) heat and/or chemicals (or other approved process) to disinfect a clean surface to a safe level. The effectiveness of the sanitizing process is completely based on the method of sanitization and Sensitizing agents. You can check the chemical agents below. But now let’s talk about the Benefits of sanitising.

To be most effective, cleaning and sanitizing must be a 4-step process: Clean the surface, rinse the surface, sanitize the surface and allow the surface to dry. Meanwhile, It is important to know that almost every surface, utensil or piece of equipment must be cleaned and sanitised in a proper way.

Difference between Cleaning and Sanitising

People often get confused between cleaning and sanitising, they also use terms interchangeably, however, there is a very huge difference between both the terms. So, let’s see how cleaning and sanitising differ from each other.

Basic difference

Basically, Cleaning is a process of removing dirt such as dust particles, clutter and bad odours from any surfaces. On the other hand, sanitisation is a process to make something hygienic and free of germs. Sanitisation is also considered as the post-cleaning process. 

Additionally, we can differentiate both on the basis of Methods, surfaces, and components.

Differences on the basis of Surfaces

There is a very fine line of difference between the surfaces both cover, but due to the Covid-19 Outbreak, the same fine line is getting wider.

Surfaces that need cleaning:

The areas that have higher traffic need to be cleaned as regularly as possible. Normally, hot soapy water is used to clean these areas.  Surfaces like kitchen equipment, door handles etc.need to be wiped down. Floors, windows, door handles etc. are surfaces which need to be cleaned regularly.

Surfaces that need sanitisation: 

Sanitisation needs to be regularly done on surfaces which come into contact with food, bathrooms, high traffic or communal areas etc. Sanitisation is more often done in hospitals, schools, and public health places to get rid of viruses and bacteria that might cause some serious health problems. However, at the present time, homes and commercial places also need to be regularly sanitised to ensure the health and hygiene of the people.

Differences on the basis of Methods

Methods make differences even more clear, Below are the methods of Cleaning and Sanitizing.

Cleaning Methods

Dusting– It is the easiest method of cleaning. Use a microfiber cloth for dusting different surfaces. It can be used to easily clean the tops of fans, doors, light fixtures, picture frames, etc.

Scrape– It is an important part of cleaning because it takes out all the filth, grease and food particles from the item that you are cleaning.

Mopping – It is the best cleaning method, It doesn’t take a lot of time and sweeps the floor in one go. It involves very less fuss than taking out the vacuum.

Vacuuming – It can be used for cleaning floors, couch, furniture, carpets, etc. It is the best way for cleaning all the dust and other loose litter that gathers on the floors and other surfaces.

Rinsing – You can rinse a place using lukewarm or hot water. You can also use detergent before rinsing a particular item to remove any residue.

Sanitising Methods

Here are some methods that are used for sanitising:

Heat– Heat is used in different forms of sanitisation. One method is by using hot water, because hot water kills the bacteria. Using hot water is most commonly used in the food industry.

Steam– In this method, the surface is exposed to steam. The higher the temperature will be, the less time it will take to kill germs and viruses.

Radiation- This method is used in some minor cases due to the adverb effect it causes.

Chemical Sanitisers– It is the most common way of Sanitizing, in which some tested chemicals such as chlorine, iodine, and quaternary ammonium etc. are used for sanitisation. This is used in Hand sanitizer as well and Sanitizing spray.

It is advised to read the instructions before using a chemical sanitiser so that the correct amount of time and sanitiser can be used.

Differences on the basis of Compound Used

In cleaning, cleaning agents are used to soften and remove the residue whereas in sanitizing 

Cleaning Agents germ killer chemical agents are used. Here is the basic difference on the basis of compounds used in particular methods.

Cleaning Agents

In cleaning methods, it is suggested to use more eco-friendly products for cleaning such as vinegar, baking soda, lemon, etc. because they give the best results without damaging the environment. Here is the list of Cleaning agents or compounds.

  • Detergents
  • Soaps
  • Hot soapy water
  • White Vinegar
  • Cleanser & Polish
  • Baking soda
  • Lemon etc.

Sanitizing agents

Sanitizers or sensitizing agents is defined as a chemical agent that is able to kill around 99.99% of viruses, bacterias and germs. Here is the list of all the sanitizing agents:

  • Alcohol (ethyl alcohol, alcohol ethanol, and isopropyl alcohol), 
  • Chlorine and Chlorine Compounds (sodium hypochlorite, calcium hypochlorite), 
  • Formaldehyde,
  • Glutaraldehyde,
  • Hydrogen Peroxide, 
  • Iodophors,
  • Ortho-phthalaldehyde (OPA)
  • Peracetic or peroxyacetic acid
  • Peracetic Acid and Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Phenolics
  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds

Differences on the basis of Benefits

Both have their own benefits and it will be not fair to compare the benefits, but just to differentiate both here we present some major benefits of cleaning as well as sanitizing.

Benefits of Regular Cleaning

  • Cleaning Reduces Mold
  • It lowers Risks of Injury
  • Clean surrounding Reduces Stress
  • It reduces the chances of pests infection in your surroundings.
  • Reduce Allergies

Benefits of sanitising

Benefits of sanitising extend well beyond reducing the risk of spread of deadly viruses and bacterias. These include:

  • Reducing the Spread of Viruses, germs, bad bacterias, intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma, which transmit the diseases from one to another that causes suffering and even death for millions
  • It requires less time than cleaning
  • Sanitising acts quickly to kill microorganisms on surfaces of any type
  • It reduces bacterial counts
  • It does not promote antimicrobial resistance
  • It doesn’t cause major irritating to the human skin
  • some can even improve the condition of the skin
  • It not just contaminate spread of disease but also reduce the severity and impact of malnutrition

It is essential to mention here that, Sanitisers which have the active ingredients such as Peracetic Acid, Hydrogen Peroxide, Organic Acids 70% Alcohol solutions that do not contain Quaternary Ammonium Compounds are considered to be organic:

Why Hiring Professional Cleaning Services is Vital For Cleaning and Sanitising

Hiring a Sanitizing Service Provider is important and almost compulsory during the typical cold and flu seasons when viruses and germs can quickly spread if not treated on time, hence it’s also imperative to sanitise a place thoroughly after cleaning it.

If a surface is infected with some type of dangerous viruses then it is possible that you can be infected while cleaning or sanitizing that surface. Additionally, there is a huge possibility that your DIY sanitizer can be not as effective as commercial sanitizers so it is always a good idea to hire a Professional Cleaning Service Provider such as Clean Group to do the Cleaning and Sanitising for you.

It is notable that even if you are cleaning your house regularly, the bacteria have the tendency to quickly build upon these apparently clean surfaces. Regular sanitising is essential for maintaining standard health and reducing the possible transfer of germs, viruses and bacteria.

A Professional cleaning service provider will clean and sanitise your house properly to ensure the health and hygiene of your place and family and also eliminate the risk of being infected while cleaning.

The bottom line is that, We are living in uncertain times but it’s reassuring to know that we have some weapons we can use to fight against germs, bad bacterias and viruses, even COVID-19 in our homes and offices. Open the window to let in the spring air, Call Clean Group on 1300-073-089 and use our cleaning and sanitising services to make your Home and office germ free.

Category: Cleaning Glossary

About the Author

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This is Stephen from Clean Group. I work as a full-time commercial cleaning manager and part-time writer with Clean Group - a commercial cleaning company based in Sydney, Australia. I have over 10 years of experience in working with different cleaning companies around Sydney, providing as well as managing office cleaning, carpet cleaning and other commercial cleaning jobs for both households and individuals in Australia. I also share cleaning tips and write about my experience on this website.

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