What is the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

What is the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting?

Coronavirus is sweeping thru the country. What is your strategy to keep your office building, bank, apartment complex or restaurant thoroughly cleaned.

Coronavirus is sweeping thru the country. What is your strategy to keep your office building, bank, apartment complex or restaurant thoroughly cleaned. TMG Companies can get the job done for you. We are a coronavirus cleaning company near you and we are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week to keep our community safe.

So what is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting? Cleaning is not sanitizing. Sanitizing is not disinfecting. Although these words are often used together,  there is a big difference between them. It is now, more the ever, extremely important to know the difference.

Let’s start with the dictionary terms:

  • CLEANING – to make something free of dirt, dust, marks or filth, especially by washing, wiping or brushing.
  • CLEANING PRODUCTS – products used for the routine cleaning of an indoor built environment. They include, but are not limited to, glass cleaners, general-purpose cleaners, floor cleaners, laundry detergents, dishwashing detergents, deodorizers, hand soaps and wax strippers.
  • SANITIZING – to make something clean and healthy, especially by killing bacteria.
  • SANITIZER – an antimicrobial agent that kills or renders inactive 99.9% of all known bacteria, viruses and fungi that are present on a surface.
  • DISINFECTING – to clean something so as to destroy disease-carrying microorganisms, pathogens and bacteria and thus prevent infection.
  • DISINFECTANT – an agent that destroys, neutralizes or inhibits the growth of disease-carrying microorganisms. Descriptions of products of this type include the suffix “cide”, meaning to “kill” e.g., bactericide, fungicide, virucide.


Cleaning with household cleaners typically removes dirt and grime from a surface and make things look shiny and clean but they are not developed to remove the pathogens that can cause an illness. Sanitizers and disinfectants both reduce or remove and is most cases kill the bacteria count on a surface.

Always start with a general-purpose cleaner. A surface should be clear of dirt and debris before sanitizing or applying a disinfectant. By itself, a general-purpose cleaner won’t kill bacteria or viruses but you should always start here. After the surface is properly cleaned, it’s then important to decide whether to sanitize or disinfect.

Sanitizers reduce microorganisms on a surface to a level considered safe by public health standards, which is 99.9 percent within 30 seconds. A disinfectant kills nearly 100 percent (99.999 percent) of bacteria, viruses and fungi on a surface in a 5 to 10 minute period. That difference may seem In a lot of instances, if a surface is truly clean, you only need to disinfect high-touch or high-germ exposure areas, unless you are in a healthcare or hospital setting. In such places, it’s vital to disinfect in critical areas where there are bodily fluids or blood present, or in areas where certain medical procedures can lead to a higher risk of infection. In general, those in Janitorial services can apply a general-purpose cleaner 95 percent of the time, and utilize a disinfectant on high-touch surfaces and restroom floors.

There are some areas where using a sanitizer to kill the majority of germs is fine. For instance, in the foodservice industry, sanitizers are sufficient to clean dishes and utensils, as well as tables and surfaces in a restaurant. The sanitizer kills germs quickly and effectively so that surfaces and tableware are ready for repeated use.

Where building occupants are more vulnerable to germs, there will be a greater need for disinfecting, such as in healthcare, education settings or apartment buildings. At the same time, those servicing office buildings will still find it useful to disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as elevator buttons, door handles and toilet flush handles. Disinfectants are also recommended in areas where occupants come in direct contact with a surface, such as a shower floor in a gym, where athlete’s foot might be a concern.

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Don’t worry if you happen to have the need for our coronavirus cleaning company near me and are searching for coronavirus cleaning near me near me choose TMG Companies. We are a full service residential cleaning company and commercial cleaning company equipped to keep your home or business in top shape for years to come. Our hundreds of happy clients can testify to the quality of our work, the efficiency of our professionals, and the beautiful clean that they experience. If you’re ready to see how a professional can upgrade your home or commercial building and keep your space sparkling, contact TMG Companies today and schedule a professional cleaning for your home or office or fill out the form on this page and we’ll contact you!

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