Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

by Lawton Brothers | Jul 02, 2018

sanitizing vs. disinfecting
When it comes to sanitizing and disinfecting what is the difference? It depends upon the surface and the location. Some surfaces only need to be cleaned, meaning to wipe dirt, debris, or dust away, but other surfaces, such as in the food industry, are sanitized. Where the killing of all dangerous pathogens is essential, such as inside a hospital, surfaces should be thoroughly disinfected to prevent the spread of disease.

What is Sanitizing?

If a cook drops a metal spatula on a floor, that person will sanitize the tool before cooking with it. That means the cook will wash the spatula with a chemical solution and rinse it well under running water to get rid of any bacteria. Sanitizing is a process, usually involving chemicals, that kills 99.9 percent of all pathogens on a surface, such as the metal spatula.

Why Do Restaurants Sanitize Food Prep Surfaces Instead of Disinfecting?

According to the food safety codes used in restaurants, surfaces where foods are prepared, cooked, or served should be sanitized instead of disinfected. Sanitizing kills pathogens such as bacteria, which can quickly grow on surfaces used to prepare food. Frequently sanitizing these surfaces prevents dangerous pathogens from spreading to the food, causing the restaurant’s customers to become seriously ill or even die.

Some sanitizers are food-safe, and the residue doesn’t need to be rinsed away after use, but others must be rinsed off. Cooking and eating utensils and dishes are an example. They are washed and sanitized and then rinsed in the final stage of cleaning to remove all traces of the sanitizer.

Do Sanitizers Kill All Pathogens?

Sanitizers kill all bacteria that can grow and multiply on a surface. The only types of pathogens that sanitizing doesn’t kill are fungus and viruses.

What Is Disinfecting?

Disinfecting uses much stronger chemicals than sanitizing. Using more potent chemicals means that not only are viruses and fungus killed on a surface, but the pathogens are destroyed with a slower process as well.

Why Do Hospitals and Clinics Disinfect All Surfaces?

Hospitals and medical clinics have different cleaning needs than restaurants. A constant stream of sick people coming into a medical facility, as well as constant exposure to blood and other body fluids, means the medical staff needs to be able to keep the pathogen level under control as much as possible. It is the medical community’s job to halt the spread of potentially fatal diseases such as MRSA , so disinfecting all surfaces is very important, to patients and staff.

Completely disinfecting heathcare tools and surfaces correctly can mean life or death to patients undergoing care or other medical procedures, and so it should be undertaken as seriously as possible. Thoroughly disinfecting all surfaces means killing all bacteria, viruses, and fungus, leaving nothing behind to invade an open surgical wound.

Some pathogens are so dangerous to human life, such as Ebola, that if not kept away from the general population the death toll would be devastating. The constant threat of these deadly pathogens is why disinfectants are so crucial to preserving human life on this planet.

Why You should Disinfect Your Company’s Restrooms

A restroom is a high traffic place. The perfect spot for a pathogen breeding ground. It’s important to disinfect restrooms to prevent the spread of colds, flu and other viruses that can keep employees sick at home instead of at work doing their job.

Keeping a restroom fresh and clean has a great psychological effect on employee morale as well. It conveys the message to employees that the company they work for values their health and wellbeing.

Contact Us with All Your Cleaning Needs

At Lawton Brothers, we are proud to be a family-owned company with over 60 years of serving our community’s janitorial needs. After years of careful research, we developed our private line of cleaning chemicals that deliver superior performance for your business at an unbeatable price. From wood to tile or stone floors, in gyms, lobbies, or restrooms, our janitorial products will keep your building looking its best.

Contact one of our highly-trained staff today concerning your company’s janitorial needs and don’t forget to ask about our green products! We are also proud to offer on-site janitorial training for your employees.

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