Is Disinfecting And Sanitizing The Same Thing?


Germs are a ubiquitous part of our everyday lives and can be valuable, deadly, and harmful. They are omnipresent- in water, soil, air, the surfaces and objects we touch, on our skin, and also inside our bodies. To avoid coming in contact with the disease-causing germs, we must wash our hands often. But, it is not possible to clean our hands every time we touch something. Therefore, a need for regular cleaning and disinfecting surfaces arises. 

Difference Between Sanitizers, Disinfectants, And Cleaners

Most people have this tendency to confuse the terms sanitizer, disinfectant, and cleaner. They think that these are synonymous and more or less do the same work for us. To take this perplexity at a greater height, the products manufactured are mostly a combination of two. For example, Sani-Spritz works as a disinfectant and a cleaner, while on the other hand, N601+ is both a disinfectant and a food service sanitizer. 

So, the question that arises is the fundamental difference between these product categories and how they work. A simple distinction can be that sanitizers reduce 99.9% of bacterias on a surface, while disinfectants are more effective as they can kill a broader range of microorganisms. On the flip side, cleaners remove dirt, impurities, dust, soil, and germs from surfaces or objects. 

Certification From EPA 

An agency called the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) is vested in regulating the companies into manufacturing sanitizers and disinfectants. The agency has made a series of tests for these products, which they need to pass to get the certification. Through these tests, the sanitizers and disinfectants meet specific predefined criteria. No formula can be a disinfectant or a sanitizer unless it gets certified. Companies can also register their output as both a sanitizer and disinfectant and then the product can then be labeled as a disinfectant- sanitizer. 

Kind Of Gems They Are Effective For

While studying disinfectants and sanitizers, a very crucial thing to keep in mind is that no sanitizer or a disinfectant can kill all kinds of germs. Suppose a sanitizer A can kill type X and Y germ, and another sanitizer B will be effective upon type Y and Z germs. Therefore, the companies and the users should know what microorganisms will die using a particular sanitizer or a disinfectant. The laborers upon these products individually list out the kinds of germs the product can kill. You should also know that sanitizers reduce bacteria while disinfectants work against mildew, molds, fungi, and viruses. 

Killing Time


When it comes to evaluating both the disinfectants and sanitizers, another critical factor is the time it takes to kill or reduce germs from a surface ultimately. If you look at the label, you will find this time mentioned on it. Some excellent disinfectants can kill the germs in one minute or less, while some take about five minutes before they show any results. This time a product that kills all the germs is a ‘dwell time’ that you should consider while choosing and using sanitizers or disinfectants for varying purposes and applications. 

Use Of Sanitizers 

The most common and widespread use of sanitizers is in a setting of foodservice. Time table 200 or any other product whose label says ‘food contact sanitizer,’ then you are free to use the same for cleaning surfaces which will later come in contact with the food you eat. Just make sure that you follow the instructions mentioned on the label properly before using any food contact sanitizer. Also, see to it that the product dries entomology before any food product comes in its contact. 

Sanitization is usually on surfaces that are not likely to contact dangerous bacteria and do not require cleaning from powerful chemicals. For example, you should sanitize your kitchen tools because it is not suitable to bring them in contact with powerful chemicals. 

Something About Cleaners

The main work of cleaning is to remove dust, crumbs, dirt, and germs. You are most likely to use a soap scum or a detergent and water to clean the objects and surfaces, thus representing a broader category of products. It is not necessary that cleaning also kills germs. The good thing is that as the number of germs decreases, the chances of spreading infection reduces. Cleaners are very straightforward and simple when compared with sanitizers or disinfectants. 

You will find cleaners for every possible surface that you can find under the sun, ranging from floors to carpets and even boats or ships. Also, there is no need for EPA to certify cleaners regarding their effectiveness. Buyers need to be aware as you can find quite a large variety of cleaners with different strengths and qualities. 


After going through the above article, you very well know the difference between sanitizing, cleaning, and disinfecting. Being aware of this difference is of utmost importance as we understand that the death toll due to the spread of sars covid-2 has been quite saddening. Therefore, being well acquainted with such knowledge will give you an edge over others in terms of the appropriate products to be bought and the correct way of using them so that your home is cleaner and safer. 

Another thing that might come to your mind can be what all surfaces need to be cleaned and disinfected. Some of them can be doorknobs, toilet handles, faucets, toys, remotes, countertops, switches, etc. You must keep in mind that you correctly follow the instructions before using these products and never mix two or more products unless specified on the label. If you have kids at home, keep such kinds of disinfecting products away from their reach. If, in any case, you get them on your skin or swallow or inhale them, do not delay seeking medical help in such situations.