Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting | Sanitizer.com

The Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

 If this year has taught us anything it’s how well- (or ill-) equipped we are to handle a pandemic. As with a country as diverse as ours, response has been very different everywhere, in every pocket of the country. But one thing that has united us is the unimaginable disruption the coronavirus pandemic has had in each of our lives. We’ve all had to scramble to try to learn how to take care of ourselves and our families while the novel coronavirus COVID-19 wreaks havoc at home and across the globe.

We’ve been tasked with sorting out what’s vital information from what’s just noise while also juggling potential hard pivots in school, work, housing, even basic human connections. Then sprinkle on top the empty store shelves, price gouging online, scams and a supply system that has been overloaded and unable to keep up with demand.  

We’ve also learned there’s a lot more involved with keeping things “clean” in terms of safety.  

Many of us have literally declared war on the surfaces in our households and at our jobs with harsh chemicals in an effort to rid them of any potential threat they could pose. What’s worse, we’ve waged the same chemical warfare on our delicate skin (and the skin of our loved ones), repeatedly using soaps and sanitizers that contain ingredients we aren’t familiar with and which can cause our skin to become dry, cracked and uncomfortable.   

And still, we just don’t know if we’re doing it right. 

A lot of the confusion about how to properly care for ourselves and our surfaces surrounds misinformation about the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.

Which is best? How do you properly do all three options? Am I causing more harm than good?

We’re here to set the record straight and help you determine the best ways to keep you and your family safe. You don’t have to spend the better part of your day wiping and spraying to keep healthy, and you certainly don’t have to settle for an bottle of hand sanitizer that contains ingredients you don’t understand. You can and should expect more.  

You just need:

  • Products from brands you trust
  • Instructions on how best to use the products
  • An understanding on how to stay safe while using these products

It’s time to separate fact from fiction and learn how to keep safe without stripping our skin or unintentionally creating a toxic chemical experiment. 

We’re operating in a completely new landscape now, and we need to be able to do these tasks efficiently and with products we can trust. 

Let’s take a look at the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. 

What is Cleaning?

Cleaning is essentially the removal of dirt, stains or marks. Yep, that's it. It’s the most basic form of care in terms of removing unwanted contaminants from anything; i.e. bodies, hands, surfaces, and items. Cleaning can simply be some good old fashion soap and water to remove surface impurities, dust, dirt, grime, and some germs and bacteria. But it’s an umbrella term that includes sanitizing and disinfecting as well. The cleaning process will eliminate some bacteria, and may or may not kill it depending on what types of bacteria are on the item, mostly it removes surface dirt and grime. 

Normally, surfaces in your home and office simply need a decent cleaning and the occasional disinfecting. But, during the cold and flu season, (especially during a pandemic), you’ll likely want to double up on your efforts to rid any ickiness potentially lurking on surfaces- this is when disinfecting is a great tool to have in your arsenal.

What is Disinfecting?

Disinfecting kills bacteria by using chemicals to stop the spread of viruses and germs. Disinfecting is not cleaning. You’ll need to clean, rid of any dirt or debris, before using a disinfectant. A disinfectant 

 may not be effective in removing stains or breaking down dirt or sediment that is caked onto a surface or object. What it will do is kill certain bacteria on the object, which can help slow the spread of viruses in your home.  

Also, many cleaning products are also disinfectants. A simple wipe down will clean a surface but straying and simply leaving the cleaning product on the surface to dry is an effective way to disinfect. Be sure to check the label. 

And it goes without saying, please do not try to disinfect your body parts with household disinfecting products. Nope. The chemicals used for disinfecting (such as bleach) aren’t safe for the human body or skin, therefore should never be used on the body. In fact, when handling any type of disinfectant chemical, you should always wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from any emitted toxicity.

Thankfully, you don’t need to disinfect your hands to keep them essentially free from germs and bacteria, that’s where sanitizing comes in. And sanitizing works well for your hands and surfaces. Think about the last time you went to the gym (ok the last time you thought about maybe going to the gym). Imagine the last sweaty body part that may or may not have touched that piece of equipment you are just about to use, are you slightly interested in the difference between cleaning and sanitizing now?

What is Sanitizing?

Sanitizing, refers to two things: the sanitization of surfaces and objects, and the sanitization of hands.  

When used in terms of cleaning objects and surfaces, sanitizing is a type of cleaning process that involves reducing the numbers of bacteria and germs on a surface. With some sanitizers this can also mean killing bacteria and germs as well.

Sanitizing, in terms of cleaning surfaces and objects, reduces the numbers of bacteria, potentially reducing the risk of spreading infectious germs and bacteria.

Hand sanitization refers to using a skin-safe chemical on your hands, such as isopropyl alcohol, to rid hands of bacteria and germs. Using a hand sanitizer with at least 60% isopropyl alcohol also kills bacteria and germs. 

Because of its effectiveness at killing most germs and bacteria, hand sanitizer has become a staple item in our cars, handbags, bookbags, desk drawers, gym bags, pockets and every other place we can fit it so we can quickly rid our hands of potentially dangerous germs and viruses on the go.

In order for a hand sanitizer to be effective, however, it must contain 60% isopropyl alcohol or higher according to the CDC.  

What sanitizing doesn’t necessarily do is clean. So if your hands are already greasy or covered with dirt or sediment, using hand sanitizer likely won’t get it off. 

How Can Hand Sanitizer Help?

If you weren’t already using hand sanitizer prior to COVID-19, chances are you’ve got a couple bottles of it now, if you’ve been lucky enough to find it. Sanitizing your hands in between hand washes has been proven effective in helping rid our hands of germs, so we’ve all been on the hunt for more of it. 

Hand sanitizer is:

  • Effective in killing 99.9% of germs, viruses, and spores on our hands, and some hand sanitizers are even approved for use on surfaces, making them a double duty product.
  • Safe. A high-quality hand sanitizer should be completely safe for your skin and the skin of your loved ones. That means your sanitizer should not only leave your skin germ free and hydrated, it should also not contain ingredients that can be harmful. One such ingredient the FDA has identified as unsafe for use in hand sanitizers is wood alcohol, or methanol. Methanol is toxic and can be absorbed through the skin, and can even cause blindness if it comes in contact with the eyes. No hand sanitizer should ever contain this substance. 
  • Convenient. You can’t always make it to the sink for a proper hand washing. For times when there’s no soap and water, hand sanitizer reigns supreme. Sanitizer is great for the convenience and flexibility you may need for quick germ extermination. 
  • Protective. We can’t avoid certain situations where we will be exposed to germs and bacteria. Public bathrooms, door handles, restaurants, shopping carts, gas nozzle handles, and credit card terminals are all examples of places where we are exposed to more bacteria than normal and also where we may not be able to run to a hand washing station after use. In these instances, hand sanitizer is ideal.

Hand sanitizer can be the best alternative to washing your hands when washing your hands is simply not an option. But today’s sanitizer market is rife with unsafe and low quality ingredients. 

We think it’s time for that to change.  

Sanitizer.com is changing the way we sanitize our hands, one product of sanitizer at a time. We produce high-quality hand sanitizer in a method that is:

  • Consistent. Never run out again. Our monthly subscription option ensures you never have to worry about empty shelves, product purchase limits, or outrageous prices. Get sanitizer delivered to your door consistently, with zero hassle.
  • Effective. Sanitizer.com produces American-made hand sanitizing spray that is effective for hands and surfaces (like cell phones and tablets), and contains 80% isopropyl alcohol for eliminating bacteria and germs.
  • Affordable. No more paying an exorbitant price for a product that has always been relatively inexpensive. Sanitizer.com makes hand sanitizer accessible to all.  

Our marketplace also offers our customers a variety of high-quality sanitizing products to fit whatever your sanitizing needs may be. Never be caught empty handed and never worry about subpar or unsafe sanitizer products again.

Sanitizing and disinfecting are both important parts of staying safe and keeping healthy not only during a pandemic, but during the course of normal life. Sanitized surfaces and hands means less risk of bacterial breeding grounds and less risk of spreading the grossness. Spread love not germs.