Home Care

Do You Know The Difference Between Sanitizing and Disinfecting?

Keep your home clean the right way with this helpful guide

Photography: (Main Photo)

In Real Living's history of creating homekeeping content, there are two words that we use in almost every homecare story: sanitizing and disinfecting. Today, we help you differentiate one from the other with advice from The Cleaning Diva CEO Marivic Arambulo. Read on to learn more: 

Q: What's the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting? When is it the right time to do one or the other? 

A: Santizing and disinfecting are two homekeeping terms that are often confused with each other. While both words pertain to killing disease-causing germs, they aren't exactly synonyms. 

According to Marivic Arambulo, owner of The Cleaning Diva, "Sanitizing is appropriate for items that may come in contact with food, such as chopping boards, kitchen sinks and kitchen countertops." Disinfecting, on the other hand, is the more potent germ killer. "Disinfecting provides a deeper clean and removes the more harmful microorganisms. It's usually done to high-contact areas such as door knobs, light switches, kitchen sponges, dishrags and the like," she adds. 

How do you know when to sanitize and disinfect? Sanitizing should be done as often as your cleaning routine, while the latter can be done at least once or twice a month. Products used for either of these processes contain bleach as a base ingredient (you can replace it with apple cider or white vinegar for a more eco-friendly choice!), although there is less of it for sanitizing (1 tbsp per gallon of water) versus disinfecting (1/2 cup per gallon of water). 

Got a design or homekeeping question? We’d love to help! Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter and Instagram!

This snippet originally appeared in the November 2016 issue ("Household Help & Cleaning Tips") of Good Housekeeping Magazine. Main photo is by

More on

This RL Reader Question Left Us Stumped!

Reader Question: What Can I Do With A Concrete Wall?

Reader Question: What Would You Recommend for our Garage Roof?


Latest Stories

Keep Your Home Cool While Avoiding A High Electricity Bill This Summer

You don’t need to leave the AC unit turned on 24/7

How I Moved Out of the Family Home and Survived Living Alone

A young photojournalist shares the triumphs and struggles of living independently

This House in Pasig Has Been Under Renovation For Years

Architect Pierre Briones transformed a dated property into a stunning home filled with wooden touches, designer pieces, and handpicked accessories

This TV Show Does Home Makeovers In 15 Hours

And some of the decorators (and one judge!) are Pinoy. Check out this amazing makeover show.

This Museum In a Bahay Na Bato Is a Lesson In Pinoy History

In photos: The Destileria Limtuaco Museum in Intramuros will delight your mind and eye, not only your tastebuds

This Elevated Walkway In Ortigas Makes Pasig A More Walkable City

The walkway is one of a series of new pedestrian areas rising in Ortigas Center

How Do You Divide Conjugal Property When You Get Annulled?

It's not as simple as 50/50.

4 Questions To Ask Your Interior Designer

Develop a healthy relationship with your design professional for a beautiful home

Designer Pieces We Love in Derek Ramsay’s House in Alabang

The actor doesn’t shy away from investing in pieces that make his home distinct and personal

6 Ways To Increase Storage At Home

From custom-designed pieces to minimalist shelves, explore clever ideas to amp up your storage potential

Here's How To Keep Your Clothes Wrinkle-Free When Traveling

Get perfect OOTD's with this handy (and travel-friendly) gadget!

Neutral Colors Make This 50sqm Condo Unit Extra Homey

Taking inspiration from an accent wall, interior designers Honey Mutia Cervantes and Rosa Manduriao were able to achieve a modern yet comfy look for a one-bedroom vacation home in the city
Load More Stories

Get inspiring design ideas and handy hints.
Subscribe to our newsletter now!