Cleaning Vs. Disinfecting: What’s The Difference?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s been a huge public conversation around the importance of hygiene, and avoiding the risk of spreading bacteria and viruses alike. It’s created a heightened awareness around the issue — and as infection rates have indicated in Australia, people are certainly taking it seriously and doing their best to remain as clean as possible to avoid the risk of disease transmission. Hand sanitisers and regular surface wipedowns have become the norm, rather than something that’s only done when it appears “necessary”.  

Nonetheless, there has — perhaps understandably — been some confusion among the public about the distinction between cleaning vs disinfecting, as well as the role of sanitising. With media sources and the general public often using the terms interchangeably, it’s easy to see how such confusion might arise. That’s why at Jim’s Cleaning, we’ve put together this handy guide to explain the difference between them, how you can keep your own home safe and how we can also provide disinfecting services to you when you require them. 

What is sanitising?

Sanitising is a process of deep cleaning which reduces bacteria, fungi and other contaminants to a safe level, consistent with public health codes. However, it doesn’t necessarily eliminate them entirely. Broadly speaking, sanitising would be considered a step above “clean enough” in most circumstances.  But if you’re dealing with a situation where there has been known exposure to a particular contaminant or virus (like COVID-19), disinfection becomes necessary. You don’t want to run the risk of later recurrence as a result of inadequate cleaning or hygiene.   

What is disinfecting? 

While sanitising deals directly with germs, bacteria, viruses and other contaminants, it doesn’t always get rid of them altogether. Nor does it necessarily clean the surrounding environment to a degree that will prevent the contaminant from returning into the future, either. This is where disinfection comes into play; a disinfectant product will totally eliminate the offending contaminant, while also rendering the surface difficult (if not impossible) for the contaminant to return in future. 

When considered from this viewpoint, many household-grade cleaning products would be considered as “sanitisers” rather than “disinfectants”, though of course this can vary from brand to brand. Disinfectant cleaning products will typically be commercial or hospital-grade; notably stronger than their household counterparts, though this is highly necessary given the usual circumstances of their use. In high-traffic environments where bacteria are omnipresent — such as hospitals — it’s necessary to regularly carry out a mix of spot cleaning and disinfecting on a regular basis to ensure that surfaces remain hygienic and don’t accidentally end up harbouring bacteria. 

So what’s the difference between cleaning and sanitising?

The primary difference between cleaning and disinfecting (or sanitising, for that matter) is that cleaning typically tends to deal with obvious, surface-level dirt and grime. Germs and bacteria are wiped away from the surfaces on which they’re present but there can still be invisible traces left behind and it’s still possible for them to be spread around as a result. 

Sanitising goes a step deeper by dealing with the majority of these invisible contaminants. However, it has the potential to leave a small portion behind, which may be able to be spread as a result. Nor does it necessarily clean the surface enough to inhibit future regrowth of the given contaminant; it’s an immediate solution, rather than an in-depth one. 

Disinfecting is the scorched-earth solution by contrasting, destroying contaminants in their path and then helping prevent them from returning, at least in the immediate future. However, it’s not a process that happens on its own; in fact, if you’re looking to disinfect a particular surface, it’s necessary to clean it ahead of time to ensure that the disinfection process will work properly. While the most powerful, it’s also the most time-consuming and the most difficult to execute successfully if you’re not a professional. 

Here at Jim’s Cleaning, we provide both cleaning and disinfection services; we can ensure that your surrounding environment is looking spick and span, while also providing a more in-depth cleaning solution where necessary. 

How can I sanitise my home?

Sanitising your home is a complex process, but it begins with cleaning the desired surfaces first of all and cleaning away the obvious mess to make it possible to carry out a deeper clean. This typically involves investing in effective household cleaning products and may be a multi-day process if you’re doing it yourself. It also doesn’t just mean cleaning off obvious places like the kitchen bench, either. High contact areas like remote controls, doorknobs, oven handles and other potential hotspots should also be cleaned in advance, to ensure the best outcome. 

However, if you’re considering sanitising your home, it may be worth opting for a professional to carry out a disinfect clean instead, helping guarantee the integrity of the final finish. At Jim’s Cleaning, we offer a number of options for our disinfecting services; you can opt for a disinfectant clean as an upgrade to our normal cleaning services, or utilise it as a standalone service. 

As part of a regular clean, you Jim’s Cleaning professional will clean according to a list provided by you. However, if you don’t provide a list, our professionals will clean according to the industry standard, and ensure that all surfaces are left spotless. To ensure a high-quality clean, our cleaners use professional-grade products across your home, office or vehicle. 

During a disinfect cleaning, our cleaners will use hospital-grade disinfectant in addition to their regular cleaning products. High contact areas such as door handles, light switches, remotes, home/office phone, kitchen appliances, taps and more are given particular attention to ensuring the elimination of bacteria, viruses and microorganisms on these surfaces. 

When opting for our disinfect cleaning service as a standalone option, we request that the areas required to be disinfected are clean and tidy, free of all dirt, grime, and other objects. This will help ensure the best results when eliminating potential contaminants. 

Disinfect regularly to ensure a safe environment 

Jim’s Cleaning offers a variety of cleaning and disinfect packages to suit your specific needs — whether that’s at home, in your office, in your vehicle or in any other setting. If you require disinfection on a regular basis, an ongoing schedule can also be established in order to ensure that you’ve got the services you require — whether that’s weekly, fortnightly, monthly or even every few days. We also offer post-COVID-19 cleanup, so if you’re in need of a deep clean post-event, we’re able to provide that too. 

Get your quote for cleaning and sanitising services today

Jim’s Cleaning provides both regular cleaning and disinfect services for homes, offices, professional settings, cars and other vehicles all over Australia. We can also clean your house if you’re moving out or finishing up a period of renting. We work with you closely to ensure that you get the cleaning and disinfect services that you need when you need them. Get in touch today to discover how Jim’s Cleaning can meet all of your cleaning and disinfection needs — we’d be thrilled to help.

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