There are three levels of cleaning surfaces; these levels are cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
Cleaning a surface removes visible dust and debris. Cleaning does not remove microscopic organisms cleaning only clears away any visible elements such as dust or dirt.
Sanitizing a surface makes that surface sanitary or free of visible dirt contaminants that could affect your health. Sanitizing is meant to reduce the occurrence and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. However, it is important to know that it is not meant to kill any of these microorganisms.
The final level in the hierarchy is disinfecting. Disinfection is needed if the surface or instrument must be free and clear of all visible and microscopic organisms. Disinfecting a surface will “kill” the microscopic organisms as claimed on the label of a particular product.
Types of Disinfectants
There are thousands of disinfectants on the market and deciding which one to use may seem like a daunting task; however, there is a way to simplify this decision. All disinfectants can be classified into one of five groups based on the active ingredient used when manufacturing the product. 70% isopropyl alcohol is the standard active ingredient and it is widely available. The other active ingredients include phenolic, quaternary ammonium, sodium hypochlorite (or bleach) and peracetic acid. Each of these active ingredients has different levels of effectiveness as well as differences in what they actually kill. Be sure to carefully read the product label and any literature supplied by the manufacturer. It is very important to verify that the product you choose does, in fact, claim to “kill” the bacteria, virus or fungi you are attempting to eliminate. One level of effectiveness that is measured by OSHA is determining the disinfectant is effective against tuberculosis. If a disinfectant is proven effective ones.
Many studies so that phones are dirtier than toilets in most cases, phones are handled so frequently and often less attention is placed on the cleaning of your phone vs. your toilet seat.
It is always important to consider the product you’re using and how safe it is for you and the environment. Reading the labels is very important when you’re deciding on a cleaning product. Many of the products that are capable of disinfecting and killing bacteria properly may also be very caustic and therefore used with precaution. Luckily, there are many green cleaning options on the market these days.
Stay tuned for more posts like this including one on green cleaning!