The terms sanitise and disinfect are often used interchangeably when it comes to washing. However, the two terms differ significantly.

We at TABIIB would love to shed some light on the difference between sanitization and disinfection. We would also focus on the items to purchase to maintain a clean atmosphere at your home.

Fact – The global hand sanitiser market size valued at USD 2.7 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.6% from 2020 to 2027. 

Sanitize vs. Disinfect:

While ‘cleaning’ refers to simply removing dirt and other impurities from a surface, ‘sanitizing’ and ‘disinfecting’ refers to the elimination of harmful bacteria. Knowing the difference between these deep cleaning terms can help you safely and effectively use various cleaning products available in the market.

Sanitize V/s Disinfect:


According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), sanitizing refers to lowering the number of germs on a surface to a safe level, as per by public health standards or requirements.


The idea of protecting from infection leads us to an older word: disinfect. Even though pathogens like bacteria and viruses weren’t scientifically understood when these words were coined, the term ‘disinfect’ entered the language in the late 1500s. 

Now that we know what they individually are defined by let’s understand what exactly differentiates them.

As medical practices became more precise, so did the use of these terms. Although it can sometimes be hard to know what the exact differences are. The definition for sanitizing uses “clean” and the definition for disinfecting uses “cleanse,” words which, as we know, show different patterns of linguistic if not scientific usage.

This process works either through cleaning which physically removes germs from surfaces. Sanitizing is generally a little more gentle than disinfecting.

Although sanitization means lowering the number of kernels by cleaning or disinfecting themselves to a safe amount, the CDC indicates that disinfection is the killing of almost 100 per cent of the kernels. The effect is to use chemical substances to destroy germs. Disinfecting does not disinfect dirty surfaces, but kills germs, thereby reducing the risk of infection.

When you sanitize, you are killing/reducing the number of bacteria present by 99.9 per cent but doing nothing about viruses and fungus. Sanitizing is better than cleaning alone but the reduction of pathogen populations on environmental surfaces is exponentially better when you disinfect.

Ready-to-use wipes with short dwell times are ideal for high-traffic areas. By selecting ready-to-use wipes that stay wet longer,  you can disinfect greater surface areas with fewer wipes reducing cost for you. Using the right disinfecting wipes with the fastest kill times coupled with the implementation of standardized cleaning protocols, commercial facilities should see a return on investment while never compromising on cleanliness.

When To Sanitize?

It’s best to sanitize surfaces at your home that don’t normally come into contact with dangerous bacteria, or those that are best cleaned without powerful chemicals. For example, cooking tools or children’s toys would be best for sanitization, as you don’t want those coming into contact with powerful chemicals.

When You Should Disinfect :

Unlike sanitising the cleaning routine, disinfecting would not be a great common component. It is intended for severe messes like body fluids, which make it more prevalent in medical environments. 

For Your Household Cleaning, What Does It Mean? 

You would also want to clean areas such as toilets or sinks in harmful bacteria. Even high touch areas such as door-buckles and rough-hugs are disinfected. Excessive use of disinfectants can give you damaging health and effects on the environment.

By learning the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing, you’re becoming smarter in your choices of which products to use on various surfaces.

Also, even when there’s not a pandemic spreading,  we at TABIIB recommend you use soap and water to wash your hands and do so for 20 seconds. While it seems simple, washing your hands is important in stopping the spread of diseases.

I’m a writer, poet and content writer; who covers topics under Nutrition, wellness and beauty. If I’m not found writing Or reading books, I’ll be surfing through Pinterest searching for books to purchase or binge-watching The Big Bang Theory on Netflix.

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