Cleaning vs Disinfecting: Difference?

Alliance Formulations

Cleaning vs Disinfecting: The difference

Cleaning is the process of removal. Cleaning entails chemicals, equipment and services (labor), cleaning is accomplished using a cleaning agent (chemical) that is designed to soften, emulsify, break down and suspend the items such as soil and other deposits it comes into contact with.

The right chemical (cleaning agent) must be selected and used for the type of soiling (just as a disinfectant must be selected on the type of bugs that it is intended to be killing).

Cleaning chemicals, as well as disinfectant chemicals, need to be products that are not just designed for the specific type of soil or microorganisms that they need to kill or clean up, but they must also be designed not to damage the type of surface that they will be coming into contact with; not all cleaning or disinfecting chemicals can be used safely on all types of surfaces.

Disinfecting is the process of killing pathogenic organisms and it is not the process of cleaning or removing residues.

Remember that an EPA registered disinfectant is a registered bug killer/pesticide and it is not a cleaning chemical. If using a disinfectant and cleaner all in one combination product to both disinfect and clean a surface such as a floor or wall, check with the product/chemical manufacturer for assurances and guarantees that their product is safe for use on the particular type surfaces being cleaned. If the product manufacturer cannot provide assurances of the products safety for use on the surfaces then a thorough cleaning and rinse of the product must take place after its use and in particular after terminal cleaning.

A facility must develop and have a well written plan of both disinfection and cleaning, and that these plans must be accompanied by simple and easy to understand written procedures that can be followed by the personnel that will be performing the work. The very most important part of this document is to provide the understanding that surfaces must be cleaned (residues removed) and surfaces such as floors in particular, be rinsed after disinfecting!

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