What Is The Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting and Sterilizing?

We often use the 3 words cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing when we want to clean something. However, quite a few people fully understand the essence of these 3 words. What is the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing? Let's find the answer in this article!

What is the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing?

We can distinguish the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing through its definition.

  • Cleaning

image: istockphoto.com

Cleaning is the process of removing dirt, dust, crumbs, and pathogens from surfaces or things. You will most likely use soap (or detergent) and water to physically clean surfaces and items. This may or may not destroy the germs. However, fewer germs may infect you since you destroyed some of them.

  • Disinfection

image: istockphoto.com

Disinfectants are chemicals that are used to destroy microorganisms on surfaces and objects. Bleach and alcohol solutions are two popular disinfectants. To destroy germs, you normally need to keep the disinfectant on the surfaces and items for a set amount of time.

Disinfecting does not always result in clean surfaces or the removal of germs.

  • Sterilizing

Cleaning, disinfecting, or both methods of sanitation might be used. Sanitizing implies reducing the number of germs to a safe level. Public health regulations or criteria in a workplace, school, or other location determine what constitutes a safe amount.

Cleaning, disinfection, and sterilization methods

  • Cleaning

The use of mechanical devices may accomplish the cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaners, which employ high-frequency sound to remove filth, are one of the most regularly used mechanical equipment. Using this technology to clean medical devices has been demonstrated in studies to reduce the number of bacteria considerably.

Some cleaning solutions effectively remove grime and are compatible with many materials. This detergent may be used alone or in conjunction with enzymatic cleansers to increase organic waste removal. However, correct dilution is required, and it is critical to ensure that the dirty material is compatible.

  • Disinfection

Chemical disinfectants, heavy metals, UV light emitting equipment, and pasteurization may all be used to disinfect. Even in the home, chemical disinfectants such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and chlorine are widely used. 

Alcohol

Ethyl alcohol, for example, exhibits varied bactericidal and virucidal actions against various microbes depending on their concentration. Isopropyl alcohol, on the other hand, is only efficient in killing cysts of A. Culbertson, a parasite that may induce brain enlargement.

In healthcare institutions, alcohol is used to disinfect thermometers, scissors, stethoscopes, and medical equipment surfaces. Like other chemical disinfectants, it cannot be employed as a sterilizing medium since it cannot eliminate dormant germs.

Chlorine

In the form of sodium hypochlorite, chlorine is the most extensively used chemical disinfectant (also known as household bleach). This low-cost disinfectant can eliminate biofilms formed by bacteria from surfaces because of its broad antibacterial action. At varying doses, M. tuberculosis, C. difficile, and Candida species may be killed in minutes.

Peroxide of hydrogen

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful disinfectant that kills bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores. As a sterilant, certain quantities of hydrogen peroxide coupled with a certain acid to reduce the pH may be utilized. It is mostly used on inanimate surfaces and should be maintained in dark containers to ensure stability and prevent antibacterial potency loss.

  • Sterilizing

image: istockphoto.com

Equipment sterilization eliminates all types of bacteria on its surface, hence avoiding illnesses linked with that equipment. It is critical that the equipment, including surgical tools and reusable materials, be resistant to sterilization procedures and endure the process.

Sterilization using steam

Steam sterilization is the most popular and dependable, using direct steam at a precise temperature, pressure, and time to kill germs.

Flash sterilization, a variant of steam sterilization, may be done in less time but is not suggested for medical implants and is connected with postoperative infections.

Sterilization using ethylene oxide gas

Ethylene Oxide may be utilized as a pure gas or in combination with other gases. It may also use peracetic acid as an additive.

It sterilizes without causing harm and is best utilized in temperature or moisture-sensitive equipment. This strategy, however, only applies to equipment with limited area or lumens.

The plasma of hydrogen peroxide

The antibacterial characteristics of hydrogen peroxide are combined with the free radical-generating capabilities of gas plasma in this sterilization technique. It interferes with the microorganism's metabolic activities.

This sterilizing procedure is suitable with a wide range of materials and is often used for devices that cannot withstand high heat and humidity.

The necessity of washing and disinfecting

There are three basic reasons for cleaning and sanitizing:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing aid in the prevention of pest infestations.

  • Cleaning and sanitizing aid in your company's compliance with food safety rules and regulations.

  • Cleaning and sanitizing aid in the prevention of health concerns such as food poisoning and allergic responses among consumers and personnel.

FAQs

Which comes first, disinfecting or cleaning?

Before sanitizing, clean the surfaces. Most bacteria on surfaces and objects are killed by disinfecting. Stronger bleach solutions or chemicals are used to disinfect. Before disinfecting surfaces, clean them.

How many cleaning and disinfection phases are there?

Cleaning should be done in two phases. Rinse after using a cleaning agent to eliminate apparent debris from surfaces and equipment. Then disinfect them using the appropriate dilution and contact time for the disinfectant, followed by a rinse with fresh, clean water if necessary.

What is an example of sanitation?

Disinfectants are chemicals that are used to destroy microorganisms on surfaces and objects. Bleach and alcohol solutions are two popular disinfectants. To destroy germs, you normally need to keep the disinfectant on the surfaces and items for a set amount of time.

Final words

Surely through the above analysis, you have distinguished the difference and can answer the question: what is the difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing? Hopefully, this article will help you choose the best disinfectant cleaner for each specific case.

 
0
0 ratings

Advertisement

AffiliateCMS.com Ads