Sanitizers VS. Disinfectant

Sanitizer vs. Disinfectant

A common question that is asked by our clients is the difference between a Sanitizer and a Disinfectant. While the internet has several sites that answer this question, we went to the source (THE CDC-Center for Disease Control) and the EPA and have listed below their published answer.

  • Cleaners or detergents are products that are used to remove soil, dirt, dust, organic matter, and germs (like bacteria, viruses, and fungi). Cleaners or detergents work by washing the surface to lift dirt and germs off surfaces so they can be rinsed away with water. The same thing happens when you wash your hands with soap and water or when you wash dishes. Rinsing is an important part of the cleaning process. Use these products for routine cleaning of surfaces.
  • Sanitizers are used to reduce germs from surfaces but not totally get rid of them. Sanitizers reduce the germs from surfaces to levels that considered safe.
  • Disinfectants are chemical products that destroy or inactivate germs and prevent them from growing. Disinfectants have no effect on dirt, soil, or dust. Disinfectants are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). You can use a disinfectant after cleaning for surfaces that have visible blood or drainage from infected skin. (CDC)

EPA defines sanitization as reducing bacteria on surfaces. To be a registered sanitizer, the product must eliminate 99.9 percent of bacteria when compared to an untreated surface. A disinfectant eliminates or inactivates human-disease causing microorganisms or pathogens.