As we change the way we work and live to the ‘new normal’ and adapt to try and reduce the risks of COVID-19, our knowledge and understanding of professional cleaning services should be clarified so we fully understand what we really need to help reduce risk.
For those that manage facilities, be they general offices, schools or medical practices, it is more important now more than ever to know the differences between cleaning, disinfection, sanitisation and sterilisation – because these terms have specific meanings and their implementation produces different levels of health and safety protection in your workplace.
As a commercial cleaning company with more than 60 years of experience in the UK, all ServiceMaster Clean cleaning operatives know the differences in cleaning terminology and the products, methods and procedures required to achieve a clean, safe and healthy working environment.
To help you communicate effectively with your commercial cleaning providers and help prevent the spread of any infection at your premises, the following are definitions for key cleaning terms:
Cleaning is using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove visible dirt and impurities from surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of infection.
Disinfection kills germs on surfaces or objects through the use of chemical products. The disinfection process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, disinfection can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Sanitisation means reducing the number of germs and microorganisms on surfaces or objects to a safe level. Sanitising is performed after cleaning, by disinfecting surfaces or objects to an approved level that further lowers the risk of spreading infection.
Sterilisation involves the use of high levels of heat, chemicals or other procedures to remove all microorganisms including bacteria, viruses, spores and fungi, from surfaces or objects. Sterilising is rarely required or performed outside of healthcare setting such as hospital operating rooms.
If carried out correctly, cleaning and disinfecting procedures will produce sanitary results. At ServiceMaster Clean, our professional commercial cleaners are experts in creating clean, safe and healthy work environments. We have the experience and resources and national support to help maintain and promote safe practices for infection control for our clients.
We can help you implement effective cleaning, disinfection, sanitisation and sterilisation protocols for your business, school or healthcare facility. Get in touch with your local ServiceMaster Clean and ask how they can help Find your nearest.
DISCLAIMER – COVID-19 is an emerging pathogen and new information becomes available on a regular basis. The information presented here is based on reports available at the time this article was written, in May 2020, and is derived from several sources including the World Health Organization, ServiceMaster Canada, UK Research & Innovation and other sources. The information contained in this article may be updated at any point by the organizations mentioned herein. It is the responsibility of every business to stay current on new information regarding COVID-19 as it emerges. This article should not be construed to be the totality of all information available on COVID-19.