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Returning To School Safely: Know The Difference between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting

With many schools across Canada now starting the process of reopening, it is important to understand how to help slow the spread of infectious diseases like COVID-19. Of course we know that students should stay home when sick, cover coughs and sneezes, and wash hands often.

In this article we hope to properly explain the difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, and offer some helpful tips on how to reduce the spread of illness specifically through cleaning and disinfecting effectively. Lets take a look at each and find the clear differences of each (source CDC)

Cleaning removes germs, dirt and impurities from surfaces and objects. It is a critical first step. You cannot properly disinfect a dirty or soiled surface. Cleaning works by using soap or detergent and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them (i.e. down the kitchen sink) it lowers their numbers. There can be a risk, however, of cross-contamination. The mopping solution and cleaning tools could be spreading disease in the absence of a disinfectant. So we can’t stop here.

Sanitizing lessens the number of germs. Sanitizing is meant to reduce the occurrence and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Sanitizing is better than cleaning alone, but the reduction of pathogen populations on surfaces is exponentially better when you disinfect.

According to Health Canada, in order for a product to make a claim as a disinfectant against most viruses it must show at least a 4 log kill – which means it kills 99.99% of viruses on surfaces.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces and objects. According to the World Health Organization, “Studies suggest that coronaviruses (including preliminary information on the COVID-19 virus) may persist on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days. This may vary under different conditions (e.g. type of surface, temperature or humidity of the environment). If you think a surface may be infected, clean it with disinfectant to kill the virus and protect yourself and others.”

Understand how COVID-19 spreads

According to the WHO, COVID-19 is a respiratory virus which spreads primarily through contact with an infected person through respiratory droplets generated when a person, for example, coughs or sneezes, or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

“When people cough and sneeze, they either contaminate their hands or droplets fall on hard surfaces – people touching [these surfaces] is probably the major route as much as direct droplet spread,” Professor Lyn Gilbert, Chair of the Infection Control Advisory Group (ICAG)

Frequent cleaning and disinfection of surfaces is key to reducing the spread of COVID-19.

Disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often

Cleaning procedures should include daily disinfection of surfaces and objects that are touched often in schools, such as desks, fountains, counter-tops, doorknobs, railings, computer keyboards, faucet handles, toilets, phones, and light switches.

Get the tools you need so stay safe & healthy

By using Vital Oxide™ hospital-grade disinfectant you can kill 99.999% of harmful bacteria and viruses in minutes. (Remember that note above about disinfectants needing a 4-log kill? Vital Oxide™ is even better with a 5-log kill.) Plus, there is no need to wipe or rinse after applying – Vital Oxide™ does not leave any harmful residue behind. It is safe to use around children, pets, safe on carpets & fabrics, is non-irritating to the skin and is even safe enough to use on surfaces that come into contact with food.

To learn more about Vital Oxide please click here, or go directly to our products page to see the items we currently have available. If you would like to request a quote for our services, you can do so by clicking here