The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, And Disinfecting
Cleaning service Edmonton

The Difference Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, And Disinfecting

Occasionally, terms start getting used interchangeably to mean performing the same task, despite the fact that they can be very different processes altogether. In fact, the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting comes down to a number of factors, and you may require different services, depending on your needs.

We at Green2Clean believe it’s very important to understand what they mean, and what sort of service you might expect from each. Let’s go over the basics so that you know exactly what you’re getting when you order your professional services.


This type of service is all about how something looks. Cleaning is the simple act of organizing or removing visible dirt and grime so that a surface appears to be spotless. The idea is that you are removing smudges, spots, stains, or debris that you can see on your surfaces. While removing dirt and stains can remove germs that were on the debris itself, it usually doesn’t remove microscopic germs from the surface.

That being said, the first step to any service is cleaning, as you must remove any visible dirt before killing germs can begin. It makes it much harder to sanitize or disinfect if you didn’t complete a proper cleaning job first.

Sanitizing vs. Disinfecting

While both are effective in combating germs in your home, it simply comes down to the degree of effectiveness. According to the CDC in the United States, a sanitizer must kill 99.999% of the particular bacteria it is designed to destroy in 30 seconds in order to be considered one. Essentially, while a sanitizer won’t kill all the germs on a surface, they kill enough of them to be considered safe for the average population.

Disinfection, on the other hand, is designed to eliminate all germs on a surface, and usually occurs over a longer period of time. The average for most disinfectants is 10 minutes to complete its process, but some products like Clorox suggest that the surface should be visibly wet for only four minutes after application. Ensuring your surfaces are disinfected is especially important for those who are either immuno-compromised or simply have a less effective immune system like children and the elderly.

Note that the act of sanitizing or disinfecting only considers the removal of germs, and not the removal of dirt or debris. The act of sanitizing or disinfecting may cause dirt to be removed by chance as part of the process, but it is not the primary goal and is not thorough. This is why a proper regimen involves a thorough cleaning prior to sanitizing or disinfecting, as it will allow the latter stages to be more effective.

When cleaning your home or business, trust the pros to get it right the first time. Green2Clean uses a suite of environmentally-conscious products that are just as effective as traditional products while keeping you and the people around you safe and healthy. If you’re looking for expert services in the Edmonton or Kelowna area, our certified professionals can help you with all your cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting needs.