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ICAN/ATEX: What is the difference between sanitizing and cleaning a food prep area?

November 8, 2013

Many cleaning professionals visit the International Custodial Advisers Network (ICAN) Ask the Experts page for insight and, every business day, we deliver advice to better help you perform your job.

Friday’s Question:ICANATEX Logo

Can you tell me the difference between sanitizing and cleaning a food preparation area?

Friday’s Answer:

The main difference between a sanitizer and a disinfectant is that at a specified use dilution, the disinfectant must have a higher kill capability for pathogenic bacteria compared to that of a sanitizer.

Microbiologists point out that it is difficult to sanitize or disinfect a surface containing heavy amounts of soil because organic matter may counteract disinfectant properties.

Here are the generally accepted definitions (however USDA, EPA, CDC and FDA may not all agree):

SANITIZER - a chemical agent which is capable of killing 99.9% of the infectious organisms which may be present in a bacterial population, within 30 seconds.

DISINFECTANT – a chemical agent capable of reducing the level of pathogenic bacteria by 99.999% during a time frame greater than 5 but less than 10 minutes.

STERILANT – a process that results in destruction of all forms of microbial life, including spores. In hospital settings  ... Gary Clipperton, president of National Pro Clean Corporation

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