Clean, Sanitize and Disinfect: Understanding Key Cleaning Services | Penn Jersey | Janitorial | Cleaning | Philadelphia PA

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Clean, Sanitize and Disinfect: Understanding Key Cleaning Services

Understanding what to expect from your cleaning company

Maintaining good cleaning standards in your business premises should be of the highest importance. Keeping businesses thoroughly cleaned has become more important in the last year and your customers and colleagues will expect high standards. Shared workspaces and public areas provide the potential for disease and germ transmission, so cleanliness is paramount. Hiring professional cleaners ensures this is dealt with for you but often, office managers and administrators don’t have a full understanding of the different services provided. Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting all differ and achieve different results when cleaning an area.

The Difference between Different Cleaning Services

Understanding these three key cleaning services is important when finding the right cleaning company for your needs and planning their weekly schedule.


This is the process of removing the visible soil from objects and surfaces. It is usually carried out through manual or mechanical processes using water with enzymatic cleaning products and detergents. Cleaning also includes the removal of larger physical waste such as trash and wastepaper. It also includes activities such as sweeping, mopping and dusting. Once cleaning is complete, it is possible to move onto disinfection and sanitization.


Sanitizing is the process of removing bacteria from surface to an acceptable level. This level is dependent on the use of the surface and the regulatory requirements for food contact services. It is not as effective as disinfection for the removal of bacteria and viruses and not all sanitizers will combat viruses in the same way.


Disinfecting is the most effective way of removing bacteria and germs from a surface. It is defined as cleaning something with chemicals in order to kill bacteria and viruses. Disinfectants are made to destroy and remove bacteria when they are used. Disinfecting services may cover everything from specifically focusing on high-touch points such as door handles and light switches to the use of specialized equipment such as electrostatic sprayers to ensure all hard-to-reach areas can be thoroughly disinfected.

A Word about Dwell Time

Dwell time, or contact time, is the amount of time disinfectant needs to remain visibly wet on a surface to kill any specific pathogen. Spraying a surface and wiping the disinfectant away immediately will not kill the pathogens at all. Disinfectant needs time to kill the pathogens and bacteria and if you wipe it away, there is no time for this to happen. An effective dwell time will differ from product to product and the pathogen being targeted. It can range from 30 seconds to 15 minutes and the dwell time will be listed on the the disinfectant’s label or can be found on the EPA website.

Why do you need to Understand these Cleaning Terms?

Understanding the difference in types of cleaning service makes it easier to get what you want from your janitorial or cleaning service provider. You can discuss your requirements confidently with your cleaning company and ensure you get the level of disinfection you want for your business or in different areas of your business.

Professional high-level cleaning services help to safeguard your business and provide your employees with a safe and hygienic work environment. A professional cleaning company will always be happy to audit your premises and give a full assessment of the types of cleaning service you need in different areas. Disinfection services may be an occasional requirement whereas day to day cleaning will ensure the premises is kept safe and clean for regular business use.

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