Difference Between the Process of Cleaning and Disinfecting

Difference Between the Process of Cleaning and Disinfecting

The importance of cleaning and disinfecting cannot be overstated. It helps to keep both home and office healthy, safe, and germ-free. Although not all cleaners have antiviral cleaning and disinfecting functions, they can all clean.

In this article, we will be sharing some cleaning and disinfecting techniques, along with the right cleaning products to use for commercial cleaning.

What is Cleaning?

Cleaning is the act of removing dirt, dust, unwanteds soils, and debris from a location. It is also the removal of oil, grease, and other substances from floors, counters, and mirrors.

For effective cleaning, you require water and a cleaning agent or surfactant. The cleaning agent is what transforms the normal water into a cleaning miracle.

To have a clear understanding of how this works, we have to understand the chemical processes. The first is how water reacts on a surface. Water is composed of one oxygen and two hydrogen atoms. This chemical composition is what makes water molecules attract themselves in a process called hydrogen bonding. For this reason, when water is added to any surface, it will spread into tiny droplets, preventing it from spreading out.

When water doesn’t spread out, it doesn’t penetrate and cannot clean a surface. Also, since the surface is repelling the water, it makes water an ineffective cleaner on its own. Adding surfactant to water changes the water’s chemical properties and interferes with the molecular structure of the water. For this reason, water can break unwanted particles in it.

What is Disinfecting?

Disinfection is a process whereby germs present on any surface are killed. For active disinfection, the infested surface should be cleaned and free from dirt. This process is especially important in areas where lack of proper cleaning can lead to contamination, such as school facilities or restaurants.

Process of Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Cleaning is different from disinfecting. While cleaning involves removing dirt from any surface, disinfection is completely different. The best way to professionally sterilize your house is by cleaning and then disinfect the area to remove bacteria and germs. This is a two-step process. In 2019, there were two types of products in the market that claim to clean and disinfect. Although multipurpose cleaners can remove dirt, if you intend to wipe off the remaining bacteria, you have to use a follow-up disinfectant.

Disinfecting sprays and wipes have no cleaning function as they are used to kill cold and flu-causing viruses. One of the most popular disinfectants is household bleach. It can also be seen as one of the most effective cleanings and disinfecting agents of all time.

Disinfectants can remove germs and viruses such as Salmonella enterica, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, E. coli and so on.

History of Germ and Cleaning Agents

Over the years, we have seen various developments in cleaning and health safety. And one of the most popular discoveries in history is germs and their mode of transmission. A Hungarian Physician in 1847 discovered an increasing amount of germs and discovered the relation between the sick and the tools used in administering treatment.

The physician contracted a fever after touching his finger with a scalpel from a trauma autopsy. After that, disinfecting hands and instruments began, which decreased the death rate to a large extent. To further reduce death, He imposed a law where medical instruments are diluted in cleaning disinfectants. So, cleaning and disinfection became the new order of the day.


It is important that you clean your home and office regularly and not for aesthetic purposes alone. Since people stay in offices more, guests also tend to visit from time to time. It is therefore advised that you maintain a clean workplace to live a happy and healthier life.

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