Cleaning Versus Sanitizing Versus Disinfecting: What Are the Differences? RCH Explains

The Coronavirus outbreak has everyone on edge. It’s scary, yes. But there are things we can all do to combat the virus, such as cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Today’s blog from RCH Professional Cleaning explains the differences between disinfecting, sanitizing, and cleaning.

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The CDC defines cleaning as the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning uses soap or detergent and water to remove germs from surfaces physically. For example, you take a cloth, get it wet, and soap it up with dishwashing soap. You use this to wipe your kitchen counter. Rather than killing all germs, this process transfers the germs from the countertop to the wet cloth. That’s why it’s important to clean surfaces with gloves, because the cloth may have germs on it. You must wash the cloth afterward. If you use a paper towel, dispose of it properly. RCH Professional Cleaning can show you how to clean surfaces in your home or business properly.


Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to safe levels as determined by public health requirements. The overall goal of sanitizing is to lower the risk of spreading infection. Sanitizing works with a combination of disinfecting and cleaning. For example, the alcohol in hand sanitizer lowers the number of germs on your hands, but it can’t eliminate all of them. Sanitizing your hands regularly lowers the risk of spreading germs in this way.


Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects by using chemicals. The EPA has a list of approved disinfectants that kill germs, such as the flu and possibly the Coronavirus. Hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol, and common household brand names appear on this list. Disinfectants don’t remove germs from surfaces, nor do they remove dirt or grime, but these chemicals kill germs on a surface after cleaning them. Disinfecting surfaces lowers the risk of spreading infection even further than cleaning and sanitizing. The pros at RCH can show you how to disinfect surfaces properly for maximum effectiveness.

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Contact RCH Cleaning Today

If you need a professional cleaning company to clean, sanitize, or disinfect your home or business, RCH Cleaning is here for you. Our team is professionally trained to ensure your surfaces meet public health standards to reduce the spread of germs. Contact RCH or call 417-763-8365 to find out more.

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