If you’re concerned about keeping your facility clean and reducing the spread of illness, you should know the ins and outs of sanitizing vs. disinfecting. Yes, there is a difference, and it’s significant.
Sanitizing means keeping germs at a level that’s safe for public health. It doesn’t necessarily mean killing germs or removing all germs on a given surface, though that sometimes ends up being the result.
Disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs and lower the risk of spreading infections and viruses, such as COVID-19. Also keep in mind that both sanitizing and disinfecting are different from cleaning, which is the process of removing germs and visible dirt from surfaces.
At Spruce Industries, we’re experts in these distinctions. We have the correct industrial cleaning products you need to ensure your business or school is as safe and germ-free as possible.
Sanitizing is sufficient for many areas of schools and businesses, including outdoor and low-traffic spaces. Generally, your cleaning staff can save powerful disinfectants for the bathroom and other areas at higher risk of spreading infections. That is, as long as nobody has recently been sick. Since sanitizing a surface doesn’t always mean completely disinfecting it, germs that cause infections could still survive the process.
How to sanitize a business or school
Sanitize a surface by either cleaning or disinfecting it—or both. If there’s visible dirt on a surface, you’ll need to clean it using an industrial or all-purpose cleaner. You can then follow up with a disinfectant registered by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), if desired. If there’s no visible dirt, you can skip the preliminary cleaning step and simply disinfect the surface.
Is electrostatic spraying technology better for sanitizing surfaces?
A recent study found that using an electrostatic sprayer is an effective way to sanitize and disinfect portable equipment and large, open areas. The technology works by electrically charging a chemical solution so it quickly bonds to surfaces when released into the air. These early findings suggest that sprayers could be useful in combatting the COVID-19 virus. What’s more, they offer a convenient way to quickly decontaminate your school or office. Spruce Industries carries both backpack-style and handheld electrostatic sprayers that work with sanitizers and disinfectants alike.
That said, sprayers shouldn’t replace manual cleaning of high-touch surfaces. This technology is intended for large areas that would be difficult to clean by hand, such as waiting rooms, classrooms, and gyms.
Disinfecting is your most important tactic for defeating viruses that cause illnesses, such as the flu or COVID-19, as well as bacteria that cause infections, such as strep throat. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the flu virus can live on surfaces for as long as forty-eight hours, and coronavirus can live for hours to days. Plus, some species of bacteria survive on surfaces for as long as five months. While they remain alive, these various pathogens could infect your employees, students, or visitors to your business.
Which school and workplace surfaces should be disinfected?
To reduce the risk of infection at your facility, your cleaning staff should disinfect the following types of work surfaces:
What are the best products for disinfecting surfaces?
Spruce Industries has an arsenal of disinfectants to meet your needs. We recommend the following products for schools and workplaces:
You should add both sanitization and disinfection to your cleaning regimen to help the people who use your facility—like your employees—stay safe and healthy. That’s not only important for your team’s well-being. Reducing illness in the workplace also has economic benefits for business owners.
In fact, a study from the Integrated Benefits Institute found that lost productivity due to illness costs US employers about $530 billion per year, on top of the cost of employee health benefits. The study found that workplaces can and should play a central role in employees’ health and well-being. Keeping the workplace germ-free should be a critical first step.
How can you properly sanitize the workplace to prevent the coronavirus?
Preventing the spread of COVID-19 requires cleaning chemicals designed for this purpose. The EPA provides product recommendations in List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus. These chemicals are effective against the coronavirus when used according to the instructions on the product label. In many cases, products must be applied to surfaces and left to dry on their own. It’s critical not to wipe up disinfectants before they’ve had a chance to kill germs.
When in doubt, ask the experts at Spruce Industries. We can recommend industrial-grade cleaning products that are effective, safe, and appropriate for your facility.
How to safely use disinfectants in schools and workplaces
Disinfectants such as those on List N are safe for use on surfaces—including high-touch areas. They are not safe for use on skin. In addition, you should take these safety precautions when using any sanitizer or disinfectant:
Use this office cleaning checklist to make sure your business or school is completely clean, sanitized, and disinfected.
Keeping your business or school sanitized and disinfected is essential to preventing the spread of illness. But knowing which chemicals, equipment, and processes are right for your needs can be overwhelming. The cleaning experts at Spruce Industries are on hand to help you. We provide the highest level of solutions, support, and sustainability for all of your custodial supply products, cleaning supplies, tools, and equipment needs. Browse our range of industrial-strength products, or contact our helpline for assistance.