Difference between Cleaners & Disinfectants

Although they seem the same, cleaning and disinfection are two different things. In this article, we are going to explain how they differ and why both processes are important in professional cleaning.

Popularly, the words cleaning and disinfection are used together as if it were just one thing. However, cleaning and disinfection are two different processes, and both are important and necessary in professional cleaning.

Despite its differences, the truth is that cleaning and disinfection are closely related: one of the functions of cleaning is the elimination of germs, although it does not obtain the same level of results as disinfection; On the other hand, disinfection is not in itself a cleaning action. However, it requires cleaning to be effective.

How do both processes work?

What is cleaning?

Cleaning is the absence of dirt, and the action of cleaning consists in removing this dirt without damaging the elements and spaces cleaned. The dirt is usually a carrier of germs, and thorough cleaning, we break the existing transmission mechanisms in them. However, the elimination of germs is not the only function of cleaning, and a cleaning does not exhaustively perform the function of eliminating harmful microorganisms.

Cleaning has a very important aesthetic function and adapts to the needs of the element or space. For example, when cleaning a car shop, the essential thing will be to remove waste that can hinder the passage and organize the space in a way that is pleasant and easy to work on. On the other hand, in the cleaning of a hospital, the most important thing will be to eliminate infectious microorganisms and the cleaning will probably be the first phase of a subsequent disinfection work.

Cleaning products are mostly based on soap and water. Although some of them contain chemicals, cleaning products are generally safe for domestic use and by non-professional people, always following the manufacturer's instructions.

What is an infection, disinfection, and what role does cleaning play in it?

Infection is the introduction of a pathogenic microorganism into the body of a predisposed subject. The goal of disinfection is to prevent infection, eliminating microorganisms before infection occurs. For this, special disinfectant products are used, the use of which is more complex than that of cleaning products. For safe and effective use of disinfectant products, it is recommended that they are used by a professional.

Without prior cleaning, disinfection is not effective, since disinfection does not remove dirt, and only through hygiene can we remove dirt that can contain harmful germs. In addition, disinfection cannot be perceived with the naked eye and does not have an aesthetic function.

Therefore, it is possible that a clean element or space still contains pathogenic germs. For this reason, professional cleaning is indicated to ensure the safety and health of people, adapted to the particularities of the space where it is performed.

Not all microorganisms are harmful. On the contrary, some of the bacteria are necessary for human life, and their total elimination is not recommended. Disinfection eliminates microorganisms, whether viruses, bacteria, fungi or protozoa, whether they are pathogenic, harmless or beneficial to people. For this reason, its total elimination is not always adequate.

What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning involves removing germs and dirt from surfaces or objects. This process does not completely eliminate germs, it decreases the amount and risk of spreading the disease.

Disinfecting means eliminating harmful microorganisms and preventing their development. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces, but destroying germs greatly reduces the risk of spreading disease or infections.

Why is it so important to clean and disinfect

  • To prevent the spread of infections, diseases or infections.
  • Ensure that the service or product we offer to the customer is of quality.
  • Build trust in the customer.
  • Prevent contamination in food products.
  • Extend the useful life of facilities, premises, utensils, and equipment.

What products are used to clean?

We start from the basis that cleaning consists of removing dirt from surfaces. Thus, we will choose a product that responds to the denomination "cleaner" or "detergent". These products, in turn, can acquire different designations depending on their pH.

What products are used to disinfect?

The removal of germs from any surface should be carried out only with disinfectants. And in no case disinfect without having previously cleaned.

Disinfectants exist of many types (germicides, bactericides, fungicides ...) depending on the type of germ that you want to eliminate.

2 in 1 product to clean and disinfect

There are also products that combine the cleaning and disinfection function in the same solution. The use of this type of hybrids is recommended only for environments with low hygiene requirements. Since, in contrary cases, germs could create resistance.

That’s why seredipityhouse has environment-friendly 2 in 1 product to clean and disinfect.


We must also bear in mind that without proper cleaning the disinfection process does NOT fulfill its objective. Hygiene is essential to control sources of contamination. For this reason, we recommend establishing a hygiene plan that specifies the disinfection process that must be applied in each place and object (frequency, procedures, products used ..) to control and ensure good disinfection.