We are often asked by customers if there is any real difference between sanitizers and disinfectants, and they are often surprised to learn that the answer is “yes.” Although most people think the terms are synonyms, sanitizing and disinfecting are very different processes.
Within 30 seconds following application, sanitizers destroy 99.999 percent of bacteria. Disinfectants actually eliminate all organisms, but they take much longer to do it. To be effective, a disinfectant must sit for at least ten minutes. Essentially, the differences are in time and efficacy — disinfectants kill more organisms than sanitizers, but they take longer to do so.
For most everyday cleaning applications, sanitizing is just fine. A good sanitizer will significantly reduce the amount of germs on any surface, making it safer for contact. Sanitizing provides an acceptable level of cleanliness for areas like breakrooms, kitchens, restrooms and even childcare facilities.
For more serious tasks, we highly recommend the use of a disinfectant. Hospitals, for example, need to disinfect surfaces that have come into contact with body fluids, like blood, to protect the health of employees, visitors and guests. For these cleaning challenges, sanitizers just won’t cut it. Disinfectants are essential in healthcare facilities and other spaces where the complete elimination of germs is required.