Cleaning Before Disinfecting?

Here’s the thing: disinfecting is critically important when attempting to prevent harmful germs and bacteria from attacking our system. However, it is PROPER disinfecting that get’s the job done. And here’s the other thing: not everyone knows how to properly disinfect. Yes, that even includes the “expert” big name cleaning company you contracted. Shocker!

Before we get into the problem at-hand, let me ask you: do you know what it means to disinfect? Yeah, no-duh. Well, what about cleaning? And to completely throw you off guard, what’s the difference between disinfecting and sanitizing? Hmm.

The answers to my questions are right below (to save some time):

Know the difference: Cleaning is the physical removal of ‘pollutants’ from an environment. Germs are not killed but denied their food source. Disinfection is the destruction of microorganisms, or 100% kill of the claimed organism.

What most cleaning companies are getting wrong

Now that you understand the crucial meanings of (and differences between) these key terms, we can put them into practical use. It’s very simple: you MUST clean before you disinfect. Spraying a surface down with a disinfectant and hoping that it will do its job without cleaning first does not work. Why? Because you can’t disinfect dirt. Cleaning is to a disinfectant as gas is to a car: you need it to get somewhere.

So, why is it that many cleaning and janitorial companies get this simple process wrong? There a few reasons that come to mind:

• Current Company is using a cleaning disinfectant (a cleaner and a disinfectant in one). Although a disinfectant cleaner is supposed to clean as it’s disinfecting, it won’t achieve much if there is still visible dirt and soil on the surface being targeted. It is best practice that even when using a disinfectant cleaner, a thorough cleaning is done prior to disinfecting (especially if the surface is extremely unclean).
• Current Company is either not as educated in the subject matter or they truly believe that using just a disinfectant will work (and we already know it won’t).
• Current Company simply doesn’t care. Tomayto tomahto, what’s the difference? Ultimately, a disinfectant will kill whatever’s there. (But we already know it won’t).

How this affects YOU

With health and safety being a primary concern globally, no one can afford to take any chances or risks when it comes to prevention efforts. And this includes you and the cleaning company you choose.

Let’s put this all into perspective. Picture this: Current Company is assigned with the task of providing your facility with disinfecting services. They gladly accept and promise you optimal results. Yay for you. Current Company cleaning crew comes in and soon begins the process. But, get this, they go straight to disinfecting your surfaces. No cleaning of any kind happens prior to disinfecting. You’re handed back your newly “disinfected” facility some odd hours later. What happens next?

Unbeknownst to you, your facility is not properly disinfected, and you innocently touch common spots thinking, ‘I feel safe.’ However, little do you know that you are still being exposed to harmful germs and bacteria. And this goes for everyone that uses, lives-in and walks around your facility.

It doesn’t end with just cleaning before disinfecting

When you are well informed (as I hope you are after reading this post), you immediately spot these mistakes. Believe it or not, cleaning before disinfecting is not the only issue that many people are not aware of:

  • For one, disinfecting is not a one-time process that will resolve your prevention problems for 90 days. There is no disinfectant on the market that can kill germs, bacteria, and viruses that only needs to be applied once and will last for what seems like an eternity. That is just a plain ol’ lie sold to you by many companies looking to make a quick buck (even in these heartbreaking times).
  • Disinfectants should always be used in the manner indicated by the label. It’s considered unlawful to incorrectly use these chemicals (read the directions!). So, ensure that your cleaning company is not using disinfectants, say, on surfaces they shouldn’t.
  • Sanitizing and disinfecting are not the same thing, no matter how much someone tries selling you on the idea. Sanitizing simply reduces the number of bacteria, but does not kill. Disinfecting that is followed-up with periodic sanitization is a great way of “refreshing” your space when there’s no time for disinfecting.

Service Keepers is here for you! We wish everyone safety and good health. If you have any questions or would like to know more about our complete disinfecting process, please get in touch today: (305) 751-2261 or email


1 Comment

  1. Avatar Levi Armstrong on July 20, 2020 at 2:36 am

    It’s good to know that sanitizing and disinfecting are not the same thing, so we should avoid cleaning companies that try to sell us the idea that they offer a 2-1 cleaning service. I like that you said the best way to clean our space is by disinfecting the area and following up with periodic sanitization. I’ll share this information on our next online meeting with my coworkers and supervisor, so we can hire a disinfecting service first before going back to work in the office. Thanks for this!

Leave a Comment