Differentiating Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting.
Maintaining the health and safety of your employees and customers during the time of Coronavirus is an ongoing challenge for many businesses. Shared work spaces and common areas present opportunities for disease transmission. Moreover, when it comes to janitorial services solutions, there seems to be confusion among Facility Administrators regarding the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting. They may all sound the same, but to a commercial cleaning professional each task offers a different process that ultimately achieves a different result.
What are the Differences Between these Janitorial Terms?
Cleaning is defined as “the removal of visible soil (e.g., organic and inorganic material) from objects and surfaces and normally is accomplished manually or mechanically using water with detergents or enzymatic products.”1 Cleaning may include activities such as dusting, sweeping, mopping, and the removal of trash. Cleaning is the first step before disinfecting can occur. It is the most common service offered by a janitorial business.
Sanitizing means reducing bacteria on surfaces to an acceptable level, based on the regulatory requirements for food contact surfaces. It is generally less effective against bacteria and viruses than disinfecting. Since application of a chemical as a sanitizer is based on the product’s effectiveness against bacteria, not all sanitizers will effectively combat viruses or fungi.
Disinfecting, on the other hand, “describes a process that eliminates many or all pathogenic microorganisms except bacterial spores on inanimate objects.” 2 This process uses a product (disinfectant) designed for the job at hand. Disinfecting services may range from manually disinfecting high touch points, such as door knobs or light switches, to the use of specialized equipment like an electrostatic sprayer to get into hard-to-reach areas, nooks and crannies where germs and viruses can hide. High Touch Point Disinfection is a widely utilized supplement to standard janitorial cleaning services, while an electrostatic disinfecting process disperses disinfectant as positively charged droplets, which are electromagnetically attracted to surfaces, effectively wrapping around the object.
Why Understand These Janitorial Terms?
As a facility manager or person within the office tasked to find a janitorial services provider, understanding the difference between these terms can help identify the desired services you need, which can impact the overall health of your work environment – to you, your staff, and to your clients.
What Measures Can You Take to Safeguard Your Workplace?
Typical janitorial services may not be enough. In the Age of COVID-19, a facility manager may choose to reduce or to destroy pathogens, and, therefore, require the use of specialized cleaning products and tools.
Work with your janitorial services provider. Together you can make an assessment of the workplace and devise a plan designed to help keep germs at bay. The following are a few discussion points you may wish to consider:
- Assessment of your current janitorial services
- The facility’s usage including traffic patterns and high-touch points
- Services available to help suppress germs and combat their spread in the Age of COVID-19
- The EPA ‘List N’ of Disinfectants approved for usage against the coronavirus that causes the COVID-19 disease
- CDC issued Reopening Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfecting
If your facility is in need of janitorial cleaning and disinfecting services, contact your independent, locally owned Vanguard® Area Franchise business, which can help you discover what options are available to meet the objectives of your facility.
About The Vanguard Cleaning Systems® Brand
Founded in 1984, the Vanguard Cleaning Systems® organization is built upon over 2,500 independently owned and operated franchised commercial cleaning businesses, which are licensed and supported by an Area Franchise network of more than 50 independent regional offices throughout North America. Vanguard® franchised commercial cleaning businesses service over 15,000 businesses, healthcare companies, educational facilities, and non-profit organizations.
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