Are you Cleaning or Disinfecting?
Do you know the Difference?
Cleaning: Refers to the physical removal of dirt and grime on a surface. During cleaning, tools such as cloths or sponges simply move germs from one location to another, a major factor in cross contamination.
Sanitizing: Reduces the germs on a surface to a level considered safe by public health codes.
Disinfecting: Refers to killing a high percentage of germs on a surface or rendering then incapable of reproducing.
Did you know?
That a cleaner does not disinfect and a disinfectant does not clean?
This means if you use your ‘all purpose cleaner’ to wipe away germs in your kitchen or bathroom you are wasting your time; likewise if you use your disinfectant to clean up spilled juice, food stains or dirt.
Cleaning is a one step process, where an all purpose cleaner is used to lift dirt from a surface. Some germs will be removed by this process, and it may be enough for many areas in the home but cleaners will only ‘clean’, they certainly do not disinfect.
Disinfection is a two step process, the first being the cleaning portion, where a cleaner is sprayed, wiped or applied to a cloth or surface and is quickly wiped away. Once complete the second step can begin, it may be using the same product in the case of a 2in1 (Cleaner/Disinfectant) but ideally a true disinfectant would be preferred. In this second process the chemical is sprayed or applied to a surface liberally and must be left ‘wet’ for a period of 10 minutes as per the instructions on the label. Once this is complete the surface can be deemed disinfected.
True disinfectants are designed to destroy bacteria, germs etc. because of special ingredients. They are not designed to lift dirt, make shiny or leave a pleasant scent behind. Bleach has no cleaning ability.
The spray and wipe consumer products we all have in our homes do not disinfect, they are simply for cleaning, EVEN though they show “Kills 99.9% of bacteria”, on the label. What you may not have noticed is the little * next to the claim. If you read the label closely you will find the “*When used as directed”, disclaimer. It may be possible to disinfect with a wipe but none of the wipes we have tried could keep a surface wet for 10 minutes.
Below are some examples of common sprays and wipes that we use in our homes and businesses. With the exception of Lysol wipes, manufacturer directions state the surface to be disinfected must remain wet for 10 minutes. Curiously, for the Lysol Wipes, they claim 4 minutes even though the chemicals appear the same as in the sprays.
(Click on an image and scroll down to see manufacturer’s website and suggested directions)
Lysol Aerosol Lysol Spray Lysol Wipes Clorox Wipes Clorox Spray
The purpose of this document is to spread the word on the improper use of household cleaners/disinfectants so we can educate each other and through proper cleaning practices we can reduce the bacteria and viruses in our daily lives creating a healthier atmosphere with less illness.
A No-Touch Disinfection UV-C or UVGI (Ultra Violet Germicidal Irradiation) light treatment combined with proper cleaning and disinfection is the best and most effective way to destroy viruses and bacteria in your home or workplace. The most thorough attempt at cleaning and disinfecting using sprays or wipes still cannot penetrate the areas that a light can (ie. Floor, walls, ceiling, air, surfaces, etc.).
The CDC (Centre for Disease Control) states that manual (spray and wipe) cleaning/disinfection is at best 55% effective.
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