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Disinfection for Beginners: What It Is, How to Disinfect, and The Difference to Cleaning

Before diving into what disinfecting is, you’ll want to know that cleaning and disinfecting are two very different things. Ultimately, cleaning is the act of tidying things up, dirt, stains, and dust that are visible to the naked eye, while disinfecting is what kills viruses and bacteria that are not visible to the naked eye and are detrimental to our health.

In short, cleaning is about removing contaminants on a surface and disinfecting is killing pathogens, such as viruses and bacteria that can cause diseases.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

How to disinfect your home:

Look around your space, how many high touch points can you count?

  • Doorknobs

  • Bathroom counters

  • Faucet and faucet knobs

  • Kitchen countertops

  • Light switches

  • Toilet covers

  • Table and counter tops

  • Any other item or area that is often touched or used

Here’s how to disinfect high touch points in your space:

Rule of thumb, clean first, THEN disinfect.

1. Clean first

To clean, wipe down the area with warm, soapy water with a paper or hand towel. You may also use a cleaning spray to wipe down the contaminated area as well.

2. Then disinfect

Once your high touch point areas have been thoroughly cleaned, it’s time to disinfect. When it comes to disinfecting, there are an infinite number of methods. You can use soap and water, various chemicals, or even natural solutions like ozone gas.

One thing you may not know is how to properly disinfect. The chemicals that you use need to saturate the surface for a specific amount of time (about 15 minutes) to thoroughly disinfect the area. Many people spray the disinfectant and wipe it off immediately, which can render the disinfectant ineffective.

To disinfect the area, use disinfecting wipes or a disinfecting spray. (Lysol, Clorox, etc. or any other disinfecting brand will work.)

If you use a spray, make sure you thoroughly saturate the area and leave it for up to 15 minutes (depending on what product you use) before wiping it down with a clean hand towel or paper towel.

Follow these two simple steps and your space will be clean and disinfected in no time. Cleaning and disinfecting daily will lower the risk of infection for you and the people around you.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Need to clean a public space such as an office, restaurant, or clinic?

While the methods above can help you clean your space, sometimes it isn’t enough. If your space is often occupied by people or is visited daily with multiple high touch points, bringing in professionals to disinfect your space will help lower the risk of infection for you and others.

At FARO Disinfecting Services, we offer a Deep Disinfection, a disinfecting service proven to destroy viruses, bacteria, allergens, and any other microorganisms that can cause disease. As courtesy, both our residential and commercial disinfecting services include surface tests with hospital-grade equipment to prove to you that it’s clean.

Need to disinfect your home, business, or public space? We can help. Learn more here.


Written by Annie Nguyen, a freelance writer at coffeewithannie.com


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