Jul 2020

Cleaning vs Disinfection

Cleaning and disinfecting is the best way to reduce the spread of germs throughout hard surfaces in your facility.
Not sure if you should be using a cleaner or disinfectant in your facility? If you are disinfecting, you should be using both.
Cleaning and disinfecting are two different procedures that should be used together to remove and kill germs.
Always Clean Before you Disinfect
It is important to clean or remove any visible soils before disinfecting. Cleaning removes loose soils, preparing the surface or object to be disinfected.
Disinfecting kills germs on the surface, preventing them from spreading. If a surface is not cleaned first, germs can hide under soils and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant.

What is Cleaning?

Cleaning is the process of physically removing germs, dirt, and other impurities from surfaces.
To clean a surface, use an all-purpose cleaning agent and a microfiber cloth or terry rag to lift soils away.

What is Disinfecting?

Disinfecting kills germs.
Disinfectants do not clean soils from surfaces.
Disinfectants need to be used after cleaning agents because they can not break through soils on surfaces.
Pro Tip: If you are using a disinfectant to clean soils such as a soda spill or leftover food stains, you are not effectively removing the soils.
Trying to clean with a disinfectant will leave you with a sticky and smelly surface after the disinfectant dries.
To kill germs, most disinfectants contain either quaternary ammonium chloride (QUATS), peroxide (Hydrogen-Peroxide based), or hypochlorite (bleach-based).
Each type of disinfectant has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Disinfecting can be done in a one or two-step process.

One-Step Process

In the one-step disinfecting process, cleaning and disinfecting are performed at the same time with a product labeled as cleaner/disinfectant or disinfectant/cleaner.
Cleaners/disinfectants remove and kill germs at the same time.
Make sure to let the cleaner/disinfectant dwell for the recommended dwell time. The proper dwell time is critical to ensure the killing of all organisms (listed on the products label) on a surface.
Pro Tip: Sometimes the use of combined cleaners/disinfectants are not as effective as the two-step method.
Cleaners/disinfectants cannot properly remove heavier soils, which is needed to allow the disinfectant to fully kill all (labeled) organisms on the surface.

Two-Step Process

In the two-step disinfectant process, the surface is cleaned and disinfected using two different products.
First, a cleaning agent is applied to remove visible and loose soils from the surface or object.
Use a microfiber cloth to apply disinfectant to the surface.
Choose color cloth for each different surface in your facility to avoid potential cross-contamination.
Second, a disinfectant is applied to the surface or object.
Make sure you let the disinfectant remain wet on the surface for the recommended dwell time.
Dwell time, listed kill claims, and the removal process will determine how effective your disinfecting procedure actually is. If you are not adhering to the manufacturer's recommended dwell time for labeled organisms, the product will not reach its stated efficacy.
A reduction in the number of germs your product is actually killing will allow germs to reproduce and continue spreading throughout your facility.


Bonus Tip -

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