Are Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting the Same Thing?

CLEANING SANITIZING DISINFECTING HOUSEIs your cleaning product giving you enough bang for your buck? Do you have a stubborn stain that won’t come out? Perhaps you are wondering if those flat surfaces are truly germ-free. And what’s the difference between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting your home? Despite the fact that we are in the midst of the lazy days of summer, dirt and grime don’t take a vacation.

We’re going to “come clean” and fill you in on all of the details you need to properly tidy your home for the summer.

Residential House Cleaning

In a nutshell, cleaning physically removes germs and dirt from surfaces or household objects using detergent or soap. Although cleaning doesn’t kill impurities, you’re still doing yourself a favor by lowering germ count.


Unlike cleaning, disinfecting kills germs. Disinfectants work their magic by using chemicals to destroy germs on household objects or surfaces. Unlike cleaning, Disinfection Services won’t eliminate stains or remove germs, but by killing germs after usage, it can lower the spread of infection.


Sanitizing minimizes the number of germs on objects or surfaces to a safe level (declared unhazardous by health requirements or standards). Sanitizing works by either disinfecting or cleaning surfaces to lower the probability of infection spreading. Knowing when how to disinfect, clean, and sanitize will result in a clean house.

How to Clean, Disinfect or Sanitize this Summer

house cleaning faucets

  • Sanitize objects and surfaces in the home that are touched often daily, like doorknobs, countertops, faucet handles, toys, and phones.
  • Disinfect specific areas like bathrooms frequently.
  • Immediately clean objects and surfaces that are visibly soiled. Remove the spill, then clean and disinfect.
  • Clean low-risk areas, like floors or windows where pathogen transfer isn’t likely.
  • Sanitize surfaces that come into contact with food.
  • Disinfect areas that are likely homes to pathogens – sanitizing doesn’t act as an anti-viral agent, so the flu or other common viruses will remain if you don’t disinfect.

Cleaning Tips on Summer Residential Cleaning

house cleaning disinfecting

  • Cleaning alone will reap health benefits because you are removing microorganisms and allergens from the vicinity.
  • Be wary of cross-contamination. The mopping solution and cleaning tools might simply be spreading disease without a germicide.
  • Sanitizing is better than just cleaning but they don’t address viruses or fungus.
  • If an area in your house isn’t visibly dirty, you can clean it with a product that both cleans and disinfects.
  • Check out the directions on your products if you plan to both clean and disinfect. There may be a different process for using the product as a disinfectant or cleaner. For example, to disinfect the product usually needs to remain on the surface for a period of time.

Now that you know that disinfecting, sanitizing, and cleaning all serve specific purposes, you can avoid cross-contamination and clean more efficiently this summer. You won’t be asking why isn’t my house or office clean?!?

Don’t have time to clean this summer? Visit our commercial cleaning services page and make the most of your free time!