Disinfect vs sanitize: know the difference

There are different ways to clean and not every way is the right way. Your cleaning company should both disinfect and sanitize your facility. Public health organizations like the Centers of Disease Control (CDC) have conducted studies to find microbe levels that are considered safe for your health. According to these studies, high-level disinfecting with special chemicals is not always best practice as it can cause irreparable damage to tools and other devices in your facility as well as aggravate asthma and respiratory problems. But, for many things in your office, disinfecting is essential for good health.

So what’s the difference? Disinfecting kills germs with chemicals, whereas sanitizing decreases germs to an acceptable level (as determined by public health organizations) by manually removing dirt and debris and/or using chemicals. Some cleaning products can also disinfect if left on the surface for a period recommended by the manufacturer.

What should your cleaning company be cleaning? According to the CDC, disinfect or sanitize the following items to keep germs at safe levels:


  • Healthcare facility surfaces including desktops, tables, and counters in patient settings.
  • Bathrooms, including faucets, sinks, counters, toilets, and floors.
  • Non-healthcare items that are touched frequently including desks, counter tops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, toys, and visibly soiled items.


  • Other non-healthcare surfaces including walls, chairs and other furniture that are not high-touch surfaces. It is also a good idea to disinfect these surfaces with standard disinfectants on a routine basis.
  • Visible soil. Remove the dirt before disinfecting.

The experienced technicians at Ketchum Building Services have the training and tools necessary to keep your facility clean, the right way.

Call us today for a free quote and see how KBS can take care of your cleaning needs.

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