In the modern age of disease prevention, it is of paramount importance to know the differences between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing, plus the benefits of each. Most people believe these terms are synonymous but don’t realize how different they are. For instance, if you are cleaning a surface that needs serious disinfecting you might be putting yourself and others at risk of contracting whatever was on the surface. Let’s begin.
Proper cleaning is often the first line of defense against the spread of infectious diseases; a place where this is most notable is in public restrooms. Many factors go into why a public bathroom is a high-risk environment; the bluntest reason comes from Dr. Michael Berry who referred to it as a "Biohazardous waste transfer station" (Berry). This is due to it being the place where biohazardous waste is transferred from one system to another, and it doesn't always go smoothly due to drips, spills, accidents, overflows, plumbing failures, etc.
What are the correct steps to take when disinfecting a surface? There are many questions to ask yourself about this process, and Mickey Crowe from CleanLink lists them out when answering a writer when he states, “What surface are you cleaning and disinfecting? Is it a touch point that may not evidence apparent soils, yet need to be cleaned first? Is the disinfectant a "cleaner/disinfectant" that is designed to perform both functions in one application? What is the recommended dwell time for the product to be effective? What does the label direct the worker to do? Does the disinfectant need to be removed after prescribed dwell time (example: toilet seat)? Is there a way of testing for contamination after the area has been cleaned/disinfected to verify efficacy? How was the worker trained and is he/she supervised closely enough to verify they are following prescribed guidance?”(Crowe www.cleanlink.com ).
WSJK-FM radio had a segment on the misconceptions of cleaning and how people are missing some of the most important spots where bacteria can spread. Their host brought on the ISSA Executive Director of ARCSI or the Association of Residential Cleaning Services, Ernie Hartong. His company consists of cleaning industry specialists who want to develop the world’s most successful residential cleaning companies.