The Difference between Sanitizing and Disinfecting

The difference? It's 0.009%.

Sanitizing means killing 99.9% of germs while Disinfecting means killing 99.999% of germs. Seems trivial, but for microbiologists there's a huge difference!

People usually interchange sanitizing and disinfecting when it comes to cleaning but they are actually two different terms according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Sanitizing is generally more gentle than disinfecting and aims to lower the number of germs to a safe level and can be achieved within a minute.

Disinfecting on the other hand can be achieved by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects usually within 10 minutes.

Sterilizing on the other hand takes the most effort, it means killing all forms of microbial life. It's often done in health care facilities or laboratories using physical or chemical methods.

How do I know whether to Sanitize or Disinfect?

Normally, it's best to sanitize objects that are not normally in contact with dangerous bacteria or exposed to the public such as your hands, cooking tools or your bedside table. Disinfecting is meant for areas that are exposed to the public and high-touch areas such as door knobs, office tables, counter tops, faucets, etc. Disinfecting is also usually done for areas involving bodily fluids such as toilets or sinks.