You’ve made a great big mess, and you’ve got to clean it up. Should you reach for a sanitizer, or a disinfectant? Is there really any difference between the two?
Even though most people use the terms “disinfectant” and “sanitizer” interchangeably, there is actually a big difference between the products. Sanitizers destroy 99.999 percent of bacteria in half a minute, while disinfectants actually destroy all organisms in ten minutes. Essentially, the difference boil down to efficacy and time – sanitizers kill less organisms, but they work more quickly than disinfectants.
For most everyday cleaning, sanitizing is just fine. This chemical process drastically reduces the number of germs on a surface, making them safer for contact. Sanitizing is effective for kitchens, breakrooms, restrooms and even childcare facilities.
Sanitizers won’t cut it for more serious tasks. Hospitals, for example, must disinfect surfaces that have come into contact with body fluids, like blood. Instead of just reducing germs like sanitizers, disinfectants completely destroy them. They take far longer to work than sanitizers, but they are essential in facilities in which the total elimination of germs is needed.