What's the difference: Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting.

There is a big difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. If your home or business has been exposed to dangerous pathogens, it is imperative to know the difference so that you can make sound decisions. An area can look spotless, but can actually be teaming with bacteria and other harmful pathogens.

Cleaning: free from foreign matter or pollution. Cleaning doesn’t get rid of germs, but it does reduce the overall number of germs by removing visible debris.

Sanitizing: a chemical process that lessens and/or kills 99.999% of bacteria in 30 seconds during the Official Detergent Sanitizer Test (a public health test). Sanitizing is used in bar and restaurant situations where areas must be treated quickly.

Disinfecting: kills ALL organisms in 10 minutes during the AOAC (Association of Analytical Communities) Use Dilution Test, (a test regulated by the EPA). Disinfecting requires a much stronger solution than sanitizing. Taking 10 minutes to disinfect a restaurant booth would not be efficient or practical, but in a hospital room where blood and other bodily fluids have been present, it is essential.

Be aware, you cannot sanitize or disinfect an area if it is visibly dirty. So, cleaning an area is always the first step. In order to effectively sanitize or disinfect an area, all dirt, dust, grease, food particles and other debris must be removed first.

Given the above information, how do you make a decision whether to clean, sanitize, or disinfect? In many situations, all three are done. Take again, a restaurant, as an example. When a restaurant is busy, staff will clean and quickly sanitize tabletops, glasses, etc. After the restaurant is closed, staff can take more time to disinfect areas. A good rule of thumb is: sanitize places where food has been, disinfect places where bodily fluids or fecal matter have been.

All of the above holds true for normal everyday cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. If, however, you have to deal with a hoarding situation, contamination from death and decomposition (link to blog article), or other more extreme situations, it is best to – at the very least – have a professional assess the situation for you. 

At Bio-One Raleigh, we use a myriad of methods, chemicals and processes to ensure the area is safe; hospital-grade cleaners, fogging, ozone treatments and others. Contact us for a free, no obligation evaluation and estimate. 

Karen & Rick Jacobs are the owners of Bio-One Raleigh and Raleigh Hoarding. We offer trauma, mold and hoarding cleanup services including biohazard, blood cleanup, suicide/homicide, feces & bodily fluid, animal waste, undiscovered death, and mold testing & remediation.

 

We proudly serve North Carolina’s Triangle & surrounding areas including Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary, Apex, Pittsboro, Holly Springs, Clayton, Carrboro, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Hillsborough, Mebane, Morrisville, Wake Forest, and Wendell; as well as the following counties; Wake County, Durham County, Cumberland County, Guilford County, Orange County, Chatham County, Harnett County, Johnston County, Nash County, Franklin County and Pill County. We also provide services to Greensboro and other areas throughout North Carolina.

 

Bio-One Inc. is the world's first crime scene cleaning franchise. Nationally respected and locally owned, Bio-One has earned its reputation through being trusted to handle the Mandalay Bay mass shooting in Las Vegas in 2017, the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida in 2016, and consulted on the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre in 2012. In 2019, Bio-One was once again included in the best and most comprehensive franchise ranking list – Entrepreneur Magazine.

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