Enviro Master Blog

Difference Between Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Cleaning for Businesses

What do you think has fewer germs — the trash can at your business or the mouse you’re using to read this? Your keyboard or the door mat you wiped your shoes on before heading into work? You may want to grab some hand sanitizer because the average desk harbors almost 21,000 germs per square inch according to recent research. That keyboard has as many germs as the trash can where the last of your lunch from yesterday and your morning coffee cup sits.

Even if spots around your business look clean and tidy, germs and bacteria can lurk in spots even Marie Kondo would praise. Clean does not mean sanitary. There is a difference between sanitizing and disinfecting, and a general cleaning does not always make the cut to rid your space of germs. If your business only has a cleaning service, a sanitizing and disinfecting service may be beneficial to keep your employees safe.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says cleaning is a way to remove dirt, germs, and bacteria from surfaces. Typically, household or commercial cleaners (hints: the name) that contain soap or detergent can reduce the number of germs on a surface but do not fully eliminate them. Cleaning removes the first layer of ‘ick.’ Essentially cleaning just takes the germs off the surface you’re cleaning and puts them on what you’re cleaning with. While those pesky germs may be removed, they haven’t left the building. The CDC says cleaning with mild soap, water, scrubbing, and household cleaners are the first steps to removing unwanted germs. Cleaning regularly is important, and cleaning before disinfecting or sanitizing is essential.

While cleaning is the first defense against pathogens, the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting compared to cleaning is what happens with those germs during the process.


Sanitizing takes the cleaning one step further by reducing whatever germs weren’t picked up by the initial cleaning process. The CDC defines sanitizing as lowering the number of germs on surfaces and in areas to what public health codes or regulations say are safe. Sanitizing services that include sprays or a mild bleach solution can do the trick.

A study done by the University of Arizona shows business breakrooms and kitchens are “hot spots” for germs and bacteria. Researchers found high levels of contamination on break room sink handles, microwave door handles, keyboards, refrigerators, and more. Keeping this area sanitized regularly can greatly reduce these high levels of contaminants. The CDC recommends countertops, any surface that has been touched with raw meats, the inside of refrigerators, and more should be sanitized.

An office cleaning schedule can help lay out what needs to be generally cleaned and what should be sanitized or disinfected regularly.


The major difference between sanitizing and disinfecting is that disinfecting uses stronger chemicals to actually kill the germs and bacteria on surfaces. Disinfecting eliminates illness-causing pathogens that can live on just about every surface in a business. These solutions usually need to sit on surfaces to be most effective. Because of their strength, disinfecting solutions should be handled by professionals, and all safety guidelines need to be followed.

After an employee has been sick or employees are at an increased general risk of becoming ill, as we’ve seen during COVID-19, influenza, and RSV seasons, areas should be disinfected, according to the CDC. Regular cleaning and disinfecting can help keep your entire workforce healthier and more productive. The fewer chances germs have at infecting someone, the less likely your staff will be sick. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has registered disinfecting products Enviro-Master Services uses to kill and eradicate disease-causing germs. Our weekly electrostatic spraying service is a hospital-grade disinfectant powerful enough to fight pathogens.

Enviro-Master Services Goes Beyond Cleaning

At Enviro-Master Services, we pride ourselves on keeping businesses cleaner than clean — but sanitized and disinfected. We specialize in the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. Our Health and Safety Technicians are highly trained to handle solutions that reduce or completely eliminate germs and bacteria. We also schedule around your business hours for ultimate convenience.

For any business, we offer a host of sanitizing and disinfecting solutions:

Electrostatic Spraying

Restroom & Hygiene Service

Hand Hygiene Program

Paper Management Program

To keep your office or business sanitized and disinfected, contact us.

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