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The Different Levels Of Cleaning When It Comes To Surfaces

Different surfaces

Just because a surface is cleaned does not mean that it is disinfected. There are different levels of cleaning when it comes to surfaces. You must be aware of  the different levels of cleaning when it comes to surfaces. It is important to understand the terminology and relevant products because what may be “clean enough” for a certain surface or environment may not be adequate for another. This is especially true in bathroom and kitchen cleaning.

When a surface is cleaned, visible debris and dust are removed. Though the act of cleaning removes these, it does not rid the area of microscopic organisms. When a surface is sanitized, visible dirt contaminants that may affect health are removed. Sanitizing is intended to reduce presence and growth of viruses, fungi, and bacteria. However, it will not kill these or other microorganisms.

Disinfecting is the highest level of cleaning regarding surfaces. It is necessary when an instrument or surface needs to be free of both microscopic and visible organisms. When a surface is disinfected, microorganisms will be killed. This information is explained on the product label of a cleaner intended for this purpose. Many disinfectant products available will achieve this level of cleaning.

Every disinfectant can be categorized into one of five groups based on its active ingredients. The standard component is 70 percent isopropyl alcohol. Other active ingredients include bleach, peracetic acid, quaternary ammonium, and phenolic. Each of these ingredients possesses a different level of effectiveness and kills different types of organisms. Consumers should read product labels to verify which products kill the fungi, bacteria, or virus that must be eliminated.

OSHA measurements serve as one level of effectiveness, determining whether a disinfectant is effective regarding tuberculosis. During kitchen cleaning, prevention of salmonella bacteria is important and there are products designed for this. In household areas like the bathroom or bedroom, killing the influenza virus takes high priority.


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