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Disinfecting and Sanitizing – What’s the Difference?

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Disinfecting, Sanitizing, and Sterilizing – What’s the Difference?

With COVID-19, you’ve likely heard the terms “disinfect,” “sanitize,” and “sterilize” thrown around quite a bit. You may be thinking they sound so similar, but there has to be a difference. And to that, we say yes! Here at DSG, where we sell the best industrial cleaning equipment in Chicago, we are often asked that question. In fact, there is a significant difference between disinfecting, sanitizing, and sterilizing that we will discuss in this article.

What is Disinfecting?

To disinfect means to destroy or inactivate bacteria and viruses on frequently touched surfaces. Surfaces that are ideal for disinfecting include hard, non-porous surfaces that are likely to harbor pathogens.

When it comes to finding Chicago cleaning solutions to kill viruses, disinfectants are the only EPA-approved products to do the job.

What is Sanitizing?

When sanitizing a surface, you are essentially reducing, not killing, the number of microorganisms and bacteria to a safe level that would otherwise affect your health. It’s important to note that sanitizing is deemed ineffective if you do not clean the surface beforehand.

What is Sterilizing?

Although very similar in name, sanitizing and sterilizing should not be confused with one another. While sanitizing reduces bacteria levels, sterilizing destroys all microorganisms on a surface to prevent the spread of disease. Sterilization is most common in healthcare facilities through the use of steam.

A cleaning product that does a great job of sterilizing a variety of surfaces is our Karcher Steamer / Vacuum. This machine generates steam hot enough to sterilize any surface it comes in contact with.

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