Cleaning, Disinfection, Sanitisation – How to Get Them Right

Cleaning, Disinfection, Sanitisation - How to Get Them Right

Within the cleaning industry, there are many words regularly banded around which many people just agree with without knowing what they actually mean: cleaning sanitising, disinfecting… they’re all the same right?  WRONG!


Cleaning is only the first step in a complete decontamination process, but it’s a step you can’t skip. Even if you intend to sanitise or disinfect the area, cleaning away visible soil, dust or debris initially makes it easier and more effective to remove microscopic germs with more intensive methods later.

Cleaning is typically done using clean water in combination with a detergent.

Low-risk items like floors and windows may only need surface cleaning as they are less likely to transfer pathogens. That said, these surfaces can still be cross-contaminated, and harbour an increased risk for disease transfer.


Sanitisation is a step beyond cleaning; it kills a greater amount of bacteria and is required for any surface that comes into contact with food. “A sanitiser is a chemical that kills 99.999% of the specific test bacteria in 30 seconds under the conditions of the test.” (CDC) So whilst sanitisers can kill the majority of certain kinds of bacteria, sanitisation products and techniques alone cannot eliminate all viruses.


Disinfection is a stronger decontamination method due to its ability to destroy pathogens.

There are various grades of chemical disinfectants:

  • Low-level disinfectant: Kills almost all vegetative bacteria and some viruses and fungi, but not bacterial spores.
  • High-level disinfectant: Eliminates all micro-organisms except for small numbers of bacterial spores; capable of killing bacterial spores when used in adequate concentration under suitable conditions.
  • Hospital-grade disinfectant: Approved products for use in hospitals and other medical facilities – including clinics and dentist offices – to destroy many known infections and disease-causing bacteria.

Hygieia Group has over 30 years experience in the cleaning industry which means we easily understand our customers’ needs.  Every situation is totally unique which is where we add value by assessing and advising what products and equipment options would suit you best. Arrange a free cleaning review today to see how you can transform your operations. Click here to book a review or call us on 01757 617301.

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