Cleaning vs Disinfecting – What is the Difference?

cleaning vs disinfecting

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has prompted us to re-assess many aspects of life, not least of which is the way we work.  Not only are we re-thinking our approach to work, but also the workplace itself.   With the threat of the spread of infection, there is a spotlight on our hygiene practices, and the demand for better and more frequent cleaning.  Aside from stepping up cleaning schedules, special attention needs to be given to high-touch surfaces, such as eftpos machines, screens and keyboards, elevator buttons, phones, counter tops, doors, and handrails.  If your business involves high traffic and shared use of equipment such as occupational therapy, beauty services, fitness centres and gyms, then cleaning and disinfecting of will be a major focus, requiring regular attention.  Disinfecting surfaces in these types of businesses is crucial not only to protect staff and customers, but also to protect your business!

But what is cleaning and what is disinfecting? 

Generally, cleaning means to physically remove dirt and grime, and to some extent remove germs (bacteria and viruses), from surfaces using detergent and water.  This process physically wipes away dirt and grime from the surface of the item you are cleaning.  

Disinfecting means using chemicals designed to kill germs on a surface. 

It is important to clean surfaces before disinfecting them, as any build-up of dirt and grime can inhibit the effectiveness of disinfectants to kill germs.  Disinfectants for use on hard surfaces need to consist of at least 70% chlorine bleach in a concentration of 1000 parts per million, oxygen bleach, or wipes and sprays containing quaternary ammonium compounds.  Theses products must be diluted and used in accordance with the instructions on the packaging to effectively kill germs and bacteria.  Bleach and disinfectant solutions can, however, lose their effectiveness over time and with exposure to sunlight.  Hand sanitisers are not a substitute for disinfectant as they are not as strong, which makes them safe to use on skin, but unsuitable for cleaning hard surfaces.

The frequency of cleaning and disinfecting in the current pandemic circumstances, depends largely on the nature of your business, and how much human traffic is involved.  Surfaces which are frequently touched should be cleaned and disinfected regularly – where there are many customers and staff using the space then cleaning and disinfecting should be done daily and those items which are shared by many hands should be wiped after each use. 

Regular cleaning is the key to minimising the build-up of dust and dirt, allowing for effective disinfecting when it is required.  Specialised cleaning products that both clean and disinfect are available to complete both tasks quickly and effectively.  At White Spot Group we source the highest quality and safest cleaning and disinfectant products to ensure your staff and customers are protected and at the same time, avoid damage to surfaces.   Our staff are trained and experienced in using these products and are provided with, and trained in the use and removal of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to protect themselves and stop the spread of germs. 

Now more than ever, it is important for all businesses, services, and organisations to closely review their cleaning regimens, making health and safety a priority.   At White Spot Group we can help you develop a cleaning plan to suit the needs and budget of your organisation.  We offer obligation-free consultations and quotes either over the phone or on-site.  Call now on 1300 797 632.

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