Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting: The Difference

Cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting, and sterilizing are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. Read on to learn which methods you should use for these four processes.

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting: The Difference

To understand the difference between these words, you must first understand the definitions of cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing.

What Is Cleaning?

Cleaning is the process of removing foreign matter, dirt, grease, and other contaminants from something. It is important to clean objects before sanitizing or disinfecting to remove potentially harmful bacteria and other microorganisms.

Cleaning properly and regularly can help prevent the spread of infection in your home.

What Is Sanitizing?

Sanitizing is a process that removes residual soil and debris from equipment, instruments, furniture, and other objects in your home.

Sanitizing is different from disinfecting in that it is designed to kill or inactivate pathogenic bacteria.

What Is Disinfecting?

Disinfecting is a process that kills or inactivates all microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, viruses, and other microbes, on a surface. Disinfectants work by disrupting the structural integrity of cell walls.

Why Are These Processes Important?

Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are important because they are used to remove and/or inactivate harmful microorganisms. Without these processes, we would live in an unsanitary home, which could lead to infection and illness.

How can I avoid getting sick from microbes on surfaces and objects?

1 – Wash Hands Regularly

Hand washing is one of the best ways to avoid getting sick. Cleaning and sanitizing your hands regularly can help you avoid transmitting harmful microorganisms in your home.

2 – Clean, Sanitize, and Disinfect Surfaces

Cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting your home on a regular basis, helps to prevent the spread of unwanted microorganisms.

3 – Pay Attention to Your Surroundings

If you see any signs of dirt, grime, dust, or other foreign matter, clean it up quickly. This will prevent any dirt and other contaminants from sitting around in your home and causing illness.

You should also take note of any mold and mildew. If you see any mold in your home, clean it up as soon as possible to prevent the spread of illness and infection.

4 – Clean Up Accidents Quickly

When you clean up after accidents and spills, clean thoroughly and quickly. Catching spills and accidents quickly will prevent the spread of microorganisms.

5 – Hire a Reputable Cleaning Company

If you find yourself unable to properly clean your home, hire a reputable cleaning company. A cleaning company can thoroughly clean your home and ensure that you don’t miss any areas that may need attention.


To properly clean, sanitize, or disinfect, you first have to know the differences between these words. Once you understand these definitions, you’ll be able to easily differentiate between and use the right processes for each cleaning task.

Keep in mind that cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are three very important processes in your home. They help to ensure that you and your family stay healthy and safe. If all else fails, hiring the right company to help you clean your living space is the way to go.

If you are in need of house cleaning services in DC, come to Ecoverde Maids. We have a cleaning and office staff of 10 courteous and professional house cleaners that have provided our excellent customer service and house cleaning services to thousands of satisfied customers.