What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing?

Cleaning and sanitizing your areas is very important in times like these. Bacteria can live on surfaces for long periods of time so keeping up with cleaning and sanitizing can help keep people safe. Now you may be thinking that cleaning and sanitizing are essentially the same thing but actually there is a difference. So what is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? Here is some vital information that can help you during this pandemic. 

What is the difference between cleaning and sanitizing? 

To put it into simple terms, cleaning refers to dusting items off or wiping surfaces off. Sanitizing refers to a product that will decrease the number of germs on a surface. When you’re cleaning and sanitizing, you’re helping yourself and the people around you stay safe. It also keeps your mind at ease when things around you in order. 


Cleaning is useful to get your house in order. You clean to get grease and grime off of your pans. You clean your room to make it neat. You clean your floor to make it spotless. The idea is that cleaning is for the look and aesthetic of something else. Cleaning products like multipurpose cleaners and Windex are used to make things look clean. They usually don’t have any sanitizing elements to them because their purpose isn’t to disinfect surfaces. If you are interested in cleaning products with sanitizing factors, keep a lookout for their labels to see if it’s an all in one. 


Sanitizing helps get rid of germs on your surfaces. Things like hand sanitizer and wipes help do this. What people misunderstand is how sanitizing isn’t enough for surfaces. Disinfectants like bleach go the extra mile to kill those germs and viruses. Sanitizing may kill the germs on the surface but disinfectants basically kill everything it touches. You should keep disinfectants around the house to ensure a good clean around the kitchen or high-touch areas like doorknobs or phones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitizing and disinfectants will be critical to daily life.  

Now that you have an idea about the differences between cleaning and sanitizing, you can be more deliberate on daily tasks during these times. Be safe and stay healthy!

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