Definition of cleaning
- Reduces germs, dirt, and impurities by removing them from surfaces or objects.
- Dirt and organic material make some disinfectants less effective, so cleaning is necessary before disinfecting in most cases.
- Cleaning works by using soap or detergent and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs but lowers the risk of spreading infection by washing germs down the drain.
- Has been shown to remove up to 98% of bacteria and 93% of viruses from surfaces using microfiber and water in tests published by the EPA.
- Removes the food and water that allow germs to survive and reproduce.
- Removes dust, molds, irritants, and allergens that can trigger asthma symptoms.
What is Sanitizing?
- Sanitizing is the use of a chemical product or device (like a dishwasher or a steam mop) that reduces the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a level considered safe by public health standards or requirements.
- Sanitizing kills most germs but not all of them.
- For food service, a sanitizer should reduce the number of germs on a surface by 99.999%within 30 seconds.
- For hard surfaces not used for food service the level should be at least 99.9%
- Sanitizing products should state on their label the surfaces they are intended to be used on.
- Sanitizing does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs.
- Most sanitizers, as well as disinfectants, require a clean surface in order to be effective at killing germs.
What is Disinfecting?
- Disinfecting uses chemicals to kill 99.999% of germs on hard, non-porous surfaces or objects
- Disinfecting does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs
- It kills germs on contact (when the disinfectant sits visibly wet, or “dwells,” on the surface for a specified length of time) after the surface has been cleaned; only works on hard, nonporous surfaces
- Carpets and upholstery and other porous surfaces cannot be sanitized or disinfected with a chemical product.
- Disinfecting is temporary, as soon as a surface has been touched or coughed, sneezed or breathed on, germs start growing on it again.
- Some germs are very hard to kill, while others are easily killed by many disinfectants, and even plain soap.
- Disinfectants are antimicrobial pesticides and must be registered with the U.S. EPA and the California Department of Pesticide
- Regulation (DPR) or similar agencies in other states.
- Some devices can be used to disinfect; for example, machines that apply steam to surfaces. These devices are very effective, work quickly, and use no chemicals.
- Dust mites that live in these surfaces are also eliminated by these devices. Because disinfectants are pesticides designed to kill or inactivate germs, you should make sure you need them for the specific task.
- The overuse and misuse of these products is a growing public health and environmental concern. Studies have found that the use of some disinfectant products is creating microbes that can mutate into forms that are resistant to disinfectants or that become superbugs.
- These resistant germs are also harder to kill with antibiotics. Incorrectly using a disinfectant may kill the weaker germs, but the more resistant germs survive.
- Incorrect use includes disinfecting a dirty surface; wiping or rinsing the disinfectant off the surface before the recommended dwell (contact) time is over; not using the recommended dilution ratio (not concentrated enough)
What are the recommendations and requirements for sanitizing and disinfecting?
In general cleaning and disinfecting in a home is not always the right thing to do. You can thoroughly clean a home, I.e. remove dirt and debris without having to sanitize or disinfect. Unless you have been exposed to a virus or have underlying health issues then sanitizing and disinfecting on each cleaning is unnecessary and may cause more problems in the long run. And it’s important to realize that these disinfectants are chemicals and cause serious health issues to both humans and animals.
What about Green Cleaning?
Green Cleaning: Green cleaning allows for a safer choice when it comes to cleaning your home. Green Cleaning helps consumers and commercial buyers identify and select products with safer chemical ingredients, without sacrificing quality or performance. Most of these chemicals must be safe to use around people and animals that have asthma, cancer and other health issues. Being Green Seal certified does not necessarily mean that the product is safe for the environment, that is another certification process.
There are a host of other DIY products that you can use and make on your own, Good Housekeeping offers some DIY recipes you can find them here
A list of Certified Green Cleaning Products is available by following this link