What Is the Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitising?

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To many, the difference between cleaning and sanitising is hard to define. Though these terms are often used interchangeably, it is important to note that they are quite different.

Given the challenge of COVID-19 that our society faces collectively, it has never been more important to maintain healthy, clean and sanitised spaces.

Stay Safe Spread Good Vibes Only is here to answer, “what is the difference between cleaning and sanitising?”, and describe the difference between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting in order to increase awareness for the issue of hygiene and provide helpful tips to combat the dangers of bacteria and viruses. First, let’s look at “what is cleaning and sanitising?”

What is Cleaning and Sanitising?

Cleaning definition:

The removal of visible soil, debris, microorganisms and organic substances from surfaces; will not eliminate germs but will reduce their numbers by removing specific amounts of contaminated matter.

Cleaning is used to remove dirt, allergens and microorganisms from a surface, typically done with a cloth in cohesion with a detergent or soap. Cleaning reduces the number of germs that can lead to infection and does not necessarily kill any germs.

Cleaning should be undertaken as the first step in a complete process. Cleaning away visible grime, fingerprints and dust before sanitising and disinfecting the area makes that process easier and more effective later.

Sanitising definition:

The reduction of bacteria to safe levels to decrease infection risk; it may not kill all viruses.

Sanitisation is a necessary step beyond cleaning as it kills a more significant number of bacteria. Sanitisation should be applied to any surface that comes into contact with food as it reduces the number of pathogens on the surface to a safe level. When considering the difference between cleaning and sanitising, this is an important note.

The main ingredient that will kill these pathogens is ethanol (more commonly known as alcohol). However, the sanitiser that is used must comprise of 70% or more alcohol, otherwise, it will not kill the pathogens effectively. While sanitisers can kill most kinds of bacteria, sanitisation techniques and products alone cannot eliminate all viruses.

It is important to note that almost every surface, utensil or piece of equipment must be cleaned and sanitised properly.

For further protection during the pandemic, hand sanitiser should be frequently applied throughout the day, especially when visiting communal areas. Due to its’ portable nature, hand sanitiser is easy to use and effective in killing microorganisms on hands. The application of hand sanitiser requires less time than hand washing and means that you don’t have to seek the facilities of a public bathroom when out and about.

The Stay Safe Spread Good Vibes Only 50ml Hand Sanitiser is the perfect product for when you’re on the go. Perfectly sized and conveniently shaped, our 50mL hand sanitiser is a versatile product that’ll keep you safe. Alternatively, our 500ml Hand Sanitiser is perfect for common areas around commercial and shared office spaces. 

Our hand sanitiser is manufactured in NSW, Australia* and contains 70% ethanol, killing 99.9% of germs. The Stay Safe Spread Good Vibes Only range of hand sanitisers leave no sticky residue, dries quickly and comes with an aloe fragrance, keeping your hands feeling clean and refreshed.

The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitising

People often get mixed up by the difference between cleaning and sanitising. Let’s take a closer look at how cleaning and sanitising differ from each other.

In a nutshell, cleaning removes dirt and other particles from any surface. Sanitisation frees this surface from germs and aids overall hygiene. Moreover, different surfaces require different cleaning and sanitising methods based on the overall risk and frequency of external contact.

Areas that have high amounts of traffic need to be cleaned as regularly as possible. These surfaces include, but are not limited to, equipment, door handles, windows and more.

Sanitisation should be regularly done on surfaces that come into contact with bacteria, such as restaurant tables, bathrooms, communal spaces, hospital furniture and schooling equipment to get rid of lingering bacteria. However, sanitisation should be applied outside of these places and even in the home, acting as a preventative health measure to ensure overall health. This notion is even more relevant given today’s fight against the spread of COVID-19.

Describe the Difference Between Cleaning Sanitising and Disinfecting

The act of disinfecting a surface is different to that of cleaning and sanitising.

Disinfecting definition:

The elimination of pathogens and harmful microorganisms from a surface.

Disinfecting a surface means that chemicals are being used to kill germs, reducing the risk of spread and infection.

The primary difference between disinfecting versus cleaning or sanitising is that the disinfectant should be left on a surface for around 10 minutes to ensure overall effectiveness.

The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitising: Methods

Both cleaning and sanitising require different methods of execution to achieve its’ purpose successfully.

Cleaning Methods:

Dusting: an easy cleaning method – wipe the tops of fans, doors, light fixtures etc., with a cloth.

Scraping – a purposeful, easy cleaning method – clears the filth and food particles from items you are cleaning for use.

Vacuuming – can be used to clean floors, couches, furniture and carpets, gathering all the dust and other pathogens that gather on surfaces.

Rinsing – use hot water and detergent to rinse an item, removing any residue.

Sanitising Methods:

Heat – hot water works to kill bacteria.

Steam – exposing a surface to steam reduces the time it takes to kill germs and viruses.

Chemical Sanitisers – the use of chemicals to kill any bacteria and viruses that are congregating. These chemicals are found in hand sanitiser.

The Difference Between Cleaning and Sanitising: Compounds

Cleaning agents are used to soften and remove residue. Sanitising agents are used to reduce and kill germs.

Examples of cleaning agents:

⊛ Soap

⊛ Detergent

⊛ Hot water

⊛ Baking soda

Examples of sanitising agents:

⊛ Alcohol (ethanol)

⊛ Chlorine

⊛ Peracetic acid or peroxyacetic acid

⊛ Hydrogen peroxide

Choose Stay Safe Spread Good Vibes for All Cleaning and Sanitising Purposes

When you choose Stay Safe Spread Good Vibes Only, you can take pride in the fact that you’re supporting an Australian-owned company and buying Australian-made* products.

At Stay Safe Spread Good Vibes Only, we aim to protect Australians by delivering a high-quality, affordable and accessible product that’ll allow us to return to ‘normal’ quicker.

From 2g personal sachets50ml travel bottles50 pack wipes, or industrial 5L containers, we’ve got you sorted. Shop our complete range today!

*Our antibacterial wipes are manufactured in China.