MONDAY TO SATURDAY: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

301-852-4706 / 240-681-5092

Is there a difference between cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising? The answer might surprise you.

Cleaning, disinfecting and sanitising are three terms that are too often used interchangeably and incorrectly.

They do, in fact, mean different things and used improperly can create some confusion.

Here’s why.

In short, sanitising and disinfecting methods are a step up from regular cleaning, that only removes visible dirt. Sanitising and disinfecting is when you are removing potentially harmful bacteria that might not be visible to the naked eye.

But let’s have a closer look at each one of them:


Cleaning is the removal of all foreign material from high-touch objects and surfaces such as dust, dirt, fingerprints etc. through the use of water and cleaning products such as detergents, soaps, enzymes. Cleaning is done through the mechanical action of washing or scrubbing the object.

No dust, no spots, no smudges, no odour = clean.

Cleaning should always occur before disinfecting or sanitising surfaces.


Used in a healthcare setting, it is the process of killing germs at the rate of 99.9% of viable pathogens on a surface or high-touch object within 10 minutes of dwell time.

Disinfecting doesn’t clean dirty surfaces, it removes germs by lowering their number and reducing the risk of spreading infections.

Disinfecting is required on areas that have come into contact with blood or body fluids.


Used mostly in food service facilities to make sure pathogens are reduced to a safe level before preparing food on a surface.

Sanitising is accomplished by using either heat, radiation or chemicals to be effective.

Sanitisers require a shorter dwell time than disinfectants, they are able to reduce 99.9% of microorganism in 30 seconds.

Disinfectant may be too strong or potentially unsafe for food preparation surfaces, that is why sanitising is the best choice.

When it comes to your home, regular cleaning is the best practice to ensure surfaces remain clean. However, disinfecting should be performed regularly to prevent bacteria and pathogens from transmitting through the home.

Disinfecting is most important when a family member is sick to prevent the further spread of illnesses and, in food preparation areas, to avoid cross-contamination.

About Happy Maids Green Cleaning

We view each contact with you as an opportunity to build a customer service brand. We think “fun and outgoing” agents are just as important as passing our background checks. We want to WOW you each time, and we throw in some cool surprises to do so

We communicate honestly and openly-no upsells or hidden pricing.