Cleaning Before Disinfecting

Cleaning Before Disinfecting

It’s a common misconception that disinfecting is the same thing as cleaning or sanitizing. A quick glance is usually enough to assess if something is clean, but it’s harder to determine if something has been properly disinfected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, disinfecting is especially important when dealing with viruses because they may remain viable for hours or days on some surfaces. Disinfecting surfaces kills traces of microbes and disease, which is a big concern right now, especially for businesses. Some believe that simply cleaning a surface is enough to sanitize it. However, cleaning and disinfecting are both crucial parts of a thorough sanitizing process for janitorial and custodial workers. By cleaning prior to disinfecting a surface or object, you lower the risk of spreading infection. In this blog, we’ll explain why you’ll want your staff to clean before disinfecting and what products are best.

  • Cleaning - removing dirt, dust, crumbs, and germs from the surfaces. When you clean, you likely use a detergent and water to physically wash objects or surfaces. Although you’re removing dirt, grime, and other contaminants, you aren’t necessarily killing all the germs. Cleaning reduces the germs, but it doesn’t eliminate them. The germs left behind can spread infection.
  • Disinfecting - the use of chemical disinfectant to kill germs. Bleach and alcohol solutions are common disinfectants, but peroxide-based products can disinfect as well. Typically, you’ll need to leave the disinfectant on the surfaces for a certain period of time to effectively kill the germs. Disinfecting removes germs, but it doesn’t automatically make it clean. Dirt and debris can be left behind even if the germs are gone.
  • Sanitizing - reducing the number of germs to a safe level. This can be accomplished by either cleaning, disinfecting, or both. The level considered safe is usually based on public health standards or requirements at a workplace, school, etc. The approach to sanitize varies, depending on your needs. For example, sanitizing a floor can include mopping a floor using a mop, a chemical solution, and water. A dishwasher can sanitize the dishes. You could use antibacterial wipes to clean remotes or light switches.

The CDC recommends cleaning before disinfecting to reduce the germs. Cleaning is key to making the area appear clean, which is also important. After cleaning, there are fewer germs and you can effectively disinfect. Objects touched often should be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Doorknobs, faucets, toilet handles, light switches, remotes, etc. are common examples of things janitors will want to ensure are disinfected.

There are products available designed to both clean and disinfect, which can help save your staff time and energy. At Allston Supply Co. Inc, we have a wide array of cleaning supplies - both all-natural and chemical-based to suit every client. Visit our site to explore product options for cleaning and disinfecting.