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Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting- Do you know the difference?

Many individuals use the terms sanitizing and disinfecting interchangeably, however, you may be surprised to learn that there is a difference. Confusion when implementing hygienic practices can lead to cleaning practices that are not effective and can ultimately result in the spreading of germs. Protect your family from harmful germs, viruses, and bacteria by learning when to use sanitizer or disinfectant in your home.


We all know cleaning to be the act of eliminating dirt, marks, or messes by washing, wiping or brushing surfaces. We are taught to clean low-risk surfaces such as floors and windows where the likelihood of pathogens transferring from the surface is very low. Cleaning differs from sanitizing and disinfecting in that it does not use harsh chemicals to eliminate germs from surfaces, and can often times spread germs around. However, cleaning does reduce the number of allergens and microorganisms that are tracked in from outside.

What should you clean?

  • Tables

  • Chairs

  • Floors

  • Hard Surfaces


Sanitizing is a chemical process that kills bacteria, viruses and fungi on surfaces in order to make them safe for contact. Sanitizing reduces the amount of germs on surfaces, however it does not eliminate them entirely. In the United States, sanitizers are agents that destroy 99.999 percent of bacteria in 30 seconds when put through the Official Detergent Sanitizer public health test. Sanitizing is mostly used to clean up any surfaces where food may come into contact. Sanitizing does not offer anti-viral claims and does not kill the flu, or other viruses found on surfaces.

What should you Sanitize?

  • Food contact surfaces

  • T.V Remotes

  • Computer Key boards

  • Dishes/utensils

  • Cutting boards

  • High Chair Trays

  • Children's Toys


To disinfect a surface it requires a stronger solution in order to kill the microscopic organisms that, in return, can make us sick. Disinfectants destroy organisms in 10 minutes. This means, the disinfecting solution must be left wet on surfaces for 10 minutes to completely lift the germs from the surface. After the 10 minute cycle, the surface can then be wiped clean with a paper towel and disposed of properly. Frequently touched surfaces should be disinfected in order to eliminate the pathogens and kill viruses. While it’s very important to make sure you are disinfecting surfaces in your home, it’s also important to understand that if you disinfect too much you can actually lower your body’s defenses against germs and viruses.

What should you Disinfect?

  • Frequently touched surfaces (light switches, door handles, car steering wheel, etc.)

  • Surfaces likely to harbor pathogens

  • Dog/Cat Bowls

  • Cell Phone

  • Kitchen Sink/Counter

  • Toilets

Many people don’t know the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting and the effects that either process have on your overall health. Learning how sanitizing and disinfecting differ can help protect your family from harmful bacteria and viruses that can be found throughout your home.

Questions?! Comment Below!

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