Cleaning vs disinfecting: Must know terms



Often cleaning and disinfecting are thought of as one of the same, however the processes are completely different. In order to better differentiate between the two you need to know these terms.

Cleaning: The act of removing dirt or something undesirable.

Disinfection: The process of killing pathogenic organisms or rendering them inert.

Disinfectant: Kills 100% of the germs claimed on a disinfectant label when used as directed. It does not kill spores.

Terminal disinfection: Disinfection of a sick room and its contents at the termination of a disease, procedure, and/or end of day.

Sanitization: Reduces germs to a safe level, as judged by public health standards. Sanitizing must reduce the number of germs by 99.99%. 

While 99.99% sounds like it should be good enough, it still can leave a significant number of germs on a surface. There can be several billion germs on a dirty surface, such as a dirty plate. If you have 5,000,000,000 germs on a surface, and you are able to take away 99.99% of them, you are left with 500,000 germs on the surface. Again, sanitization reduces germs to safe levels. Sanitization Is Not Disinfection.

Residue: A small amount of something that remains after the main part has gone or been taken or used. Something that remains after a part is taken, separated, or designated or after the completion of a process.

From the above definitions it is clear that the process of disinfection is much different than the process of cleaning and that it is very important to understand the definition of residue and that a residue can be anything that is left behind after the process of cleaning or disinfecting; it is these residues that create the problems.

Discover more about cleaning vs disinfecting from the Altro blog
Posted: 6/12/2018 7:38:45 PM by Jesse Wade | with 0 comments