Commercial Cleaning vs Sanitizing – Do I need both?
Keeping your business clean and free of pathogens is an important step for keeping your employees, customers, and other visitors safe and healthy. But did you know that commercial cleaning and sanitizing are two different processes?
One of the biggest differences is that cleaning removes dust and dirt from surfaces, but doesn’t necessarily kill germs, while sanitizing is a process specifically for the removal of germs. But to fully understand whether or not you need both for your business, let’s take a deep dive into the specifics.
What Is Cleaning?
Cleaning is the process of using water and soaps, detergents, solvents, or enzymes to remove dirt and other organic matter from surfaces. There are a variety of materials used in cleaning, but microfiber cloths are a great option to both be environmentally friendly and for trapping dirt and germs.
Like we mentioned earlier, cleaning doesn’t necessarily kill germs. It can remove them and greatly reduce the number of germs and pathogens on surfaces, but cleaning alone does not guarantee a safe surface. This is why cleaning is generally the first step in the process, followed by disinfecting and sanitizing.
High-touch surfaces, like door handles, phones, light switches, etc., should be cleaned regularly to avoid the spread of germs around your facility.
Restrooms should be cleaned at least once daily and high-touch areas can be cleaned even more frequently, especially during flu season or when other viruses like COVID-19 are more likely to be present.
It is smart to vacuum carpets daily and have them professionally cleaned several times a year as well to remove dirt, dust, and allergens.
What Is Sanitizing?
Sanitization is a process that reduces the number of bacterial contaminants to safe levels by removing germs or killing them entirely. Sanitizing is the second step in the cleaning process and should be completed on surfaces that are already clean.
Sanitization usually uses chlorine- or ammonia-based cleaners. These sanitizers are applied to a surface and left to sit one minutes or more to ensure the killing of any bacteria.
Sanitizers are specifically designed to kill 99.999% of specific bacteria within a designated time frame, usually between 1 and 10 minutes (specified on the bottle). The time required for the sanitizer to sit is determined by the type of pathogen, as different types react differently. This is a quick and easy way to ensure a safer environment for everyone in your facility.
Sanitization is a supplemental process for your cleaning routine. High-touch areas, like those mentioned earlier, should be sanitized as well as cleaned regularly to help prevent the spread of germs.
Cleaning and sanitization of your facility, including lower-touch areas, is a great option between full disinfections.
Keep in mind that there is also a difference between sanitizing and disinfecting, even though we usually associate them together.
Sanitization is less thorough, but it kills bacteria quickly and is safer for sensitive areas, like your skin. Sanitizers, however, do not remove fungal growth or viruses.
Disinfection is a process used for a wider range of pathogens and is still an important step when you are worried about the spread of dangerous illnesses, like COVID-19 and other viruses.
Do You Need Both?
Commercial sanitizing and disinfecting are both extra services that can be added to your general janitorial service. It’s a judgment call on your part for how often you need disinfection services, but sanitization is an important step in helping keep your employees and visitors safe from illness.
It is worth mentioning again that commercial cleaning is not guaranteed to kill germs from the surfaces in your office. Particularly during times of the year with a higher chance of spreading illness around your business, like with COVID-19 or during flu season, it’s important to sanitize as well as clean common areas, like elevators and break rooms.
The cleaning schedule, type of cleaning, and cleaning priorities for your business are going to depend on a variety of factors, including your industry, work environment, customer base, and company size.
For example, small offices with only a handful of employees may be able to take care of quick cleanings and sanitizations themselves, while much larger companies require a more detailed list of steps. In this instance, purchasing cleaning equipment and training employees to clean may not be the best use of your resources. Instead, exploring professional janitorial services may be a better option for you.
Your business is unique and requires a unique cleaning regime to maintain a safe and healthy work environment. At ServiceMaster Trifecta, we are dedicated to figuring out a plan that works best for you and your business. We will tailor your commercial cleaning to fit your needs and your schedule.
Our cleaning professionals are highly-trained to use specialized equipment and techniques to ensure a clean and sanitized work environment. When you don’t have the time or the know-how to effectively clean your facility, you can trust ServiceMaster to get the job done right. Get an estimate today.