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Cleaning Vs. Disinfecting: What's the Difference?


The Coronavirus remains a national and global concern. For many Americans, that means continuing to do everything they can to ensure their property is properly cleaned and sanitized. But what’s the difference between cleaning and disinfecting? With all the discussion around professional and home disinfection service lately, how do you know if you’re doing enough to protect yourself and those around you? Keep reading to learn what you need to know, courtesy of our disinfection experts at FP Property Restoration.

How the CDC Defines Cleaning & Disinfecting

The CDC has released specific guidelines for what can be considered cleaning and what can be disinfecting. While these activities are similar, disinfection in the broadest sense, refers specifically to the process of killing germs.

According to the CDC, the difference between cleaning and disinfecting breaks down like this:

  • Cleaning: Cleaning is the process of removing germs, dirt, and various other foreign pollutants from surfaces. However, while cleaning can remove germs, it does not kill them. So while cleaning is a great way to lower the risk of spreading an infection, it is not enough to ensure the elimination of biological contaminants like bacteria and viruses.
  • Disinfecting: Disinfection involves using chemicals – ideally EPA-approved ones – to kill germs that are present on surfaces. While the disinfection process does not guarantee that a dirty surface will become clean, or even that germs will be wiped off that surface, it will kill any germs that remain on a surface after it has been cleaned. Because of this, proper disinfection can significantly lower the chance of spreading an infection.

If you were already in the habit of regularly cleaning your house, you should consider getting in the habit of disinfecting any surfaces you can after the cleaning process is finished. How do you do this? Again, it all comes down to using the right products. If possible, look for over-the-counter disinfectants with the EPA-registered disinfectants external icon. And remember, if the product you are using does not specifically say it was designed to kill germs, then it probably doesn’t.

While wiping down everything in your house is not necessary, consider occasionally disinfecting regularly touched surfaces and objects throughout your home. This includes doorknobs, light switches, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, and electronics. Follow the directions on the label when doing this, and only use a product that is appropriate for that surface. This is especially important when it comes to electronics, where it is easy to destroy valuable items if you do not closely follow the manufacturer’s instructions. You may want to use wipeable covers, if possible, and when it comes to touch screens, always disinfect with a product that is at least 70% alcohol-based. Wearing gloves and making sure your home is properly ventilated is also a good idea before you start the cleaning process. Using too much of a product that contains bleach in an enclosed space can make someone very sick, and even cause them to lose consciousness.

Hire the Disinfecting Pros at FP Property Restoration

If you have an extremely large home, or you run a business, you may want to consider hiring FP Property Restoration for professional disinfecting service. We offer disinfectant options for commercial and residential properties, and are equipped with all the CDC-recommended and EPA-approved products necessary to ensure your entire space remains completely safe and sanitary. Contact us today to request a free estimate and inspection, and remember, FP Property Restoration is always here for you.

Feel free to call 24/7 at (888) 595-1105, or send us a right now message online.

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