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Home Care

Do You Know The Difference Between Sanitizing and Disinfecting?

Keep your home clean the right way with this helpful guide

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Photography: muramur.com (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. 

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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). 

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

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