Office cleaning: Sanitising vs disinfecting, what are the differences?

Sanitizing and disinfecting are both important aspects of office cleaning, but they involve different processes and have varying levels of effectiveness in reducing the presence of germs, bacteria, and viruses. Here's a breakdown of the differences between sanitizing and disinfecting:

Sanitizing is the process of reducing the number of germs on surfaces to a safe level as determined by public health standards. It typically reduces bacteria, but not necessarily viruses, to a level that is considered safe for public health. Sanitizing is often used for surfaces that come into contact with food, such as kitchen countertops and utensils.

Key Points:
- Sanitizing reduces the presence of germs, but it may not eliminate all types of pathogens.
- It aims to lower the risk of infection by reducing the microbial load on surfaces.
- Sanitizing is effective for surfaces that need a lower level of germ reduction, such as food contact surfaces.

Disinfecting is a more intensive process that involves using chemicals to kill or inactivate a broader range of germs, bacteria, and viruses on surfaces. Disinfecting reduces the risk of infection by a more substantial margin than sanitizing. It's commonly used in medical and healthcare facilities and is important for high-touch areas to prevent the spread of illnesses.

Key Points:
- Disinfecting aims to eliminate a higher percentage of germs, including bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- It involves using stronger chemicals or disinfectants that are registered with regulatory agencies for their effectiveness against pathogens.
- Disinfecting is recommended for areas where there's a higher risk of disease transmission, such as restrooms and shared office equipment.

In the context of office cleaning, the choice between sanitizing and disinfecting depends on the level of germ reduction required and the specific areas being cleaned. High-touch surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, and shared electronics should be disinfected to effectively reduce the spread of illnesses. Areas where food is prepared or consumed might require sanitizing to ensure they are safe for use.

It's important to follow the instructions provided on cleaning products and to choose the appropriate method based on the intended purpose of the cleaned area. Additionally, maintaining proper hand hygiene and encouraging personal hygiene practices among office occupants can further contribute to a clean and healthy environment.