Health

Difference Between Sanitization and Disinfection

Sanitization and disinfection are two processes that aim to reduce or eliminate all impurities and dirt from a given surface, including pathogens such as bacteria, fungi, and other types of microorganisms that can cause illness in people.

However, it is important to know the differences between sanitizing and disinfecting, in order to recognize the importance and applications of each of these processes, so, in this article, we will describe each of them, their purposes and objectives.

Sanitization

Sanitization is a cleaning process that aims to reduce a large number of microorganisms present in the environment or on certain surfaces. This is a process that is mainly used on surfaces and areas in contact with food such as kitchens, dining rooms, stoves and pantries.

Thus, sanitization is carried out with products or substances that reduce the number of microorganisms to a safe level but do not eliminate them completely. Most of these products have germicidal or antimicrobial properties to prevent the proliferation of germs, bacteria and microbes on the different surfaces where the product is applied.

On the other hand, one aspect that must be taken into account is that sanitizing products do not kill viruses and fungi because they are more specifically intended to reduce bacteria. That is why its use in areas that require extreme cleanliness such as surgical areas, areas for the storage and preparation of food for infants and the elderly or rooms where people at risk are found, is not recommended.

Some recommended –and most widely used- products for sanitizing surfaces are based on alcohols (ethanol and isopropanol), aldehydes (glutaraldehyde), halides (chlorine, hypochlorites, chloramine, iodine) and phenols (o-phenylenol, hexachlorophenol). Also, the use of products with ammonium compounds is recommended for this process.

Finally, the sanitization process consists of the following parts:

  • Rinse: removes excessive dirt from the surface. Generally, it is done with water.
  • Cleaning: soapy products or detergents are applied to clean the dirt and prepare the surface for sanitization.
  • Rinsing: the remains of the soapy substances or detergents used in cleaning are removed.
  • Sanitization: the sanitizing substance is applied to reduce bacteria and microorganisms.

Disinfection

It can be said that disinfection is a cleaning process that aims to eliminate microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and protozoa) present in the environment or on certain surfaces. This is a process that is mainly used in surgical areas, areas in contact with food such as stoves, kitchens and pantries and areas of permanent exposure to pathogens such as bathrooms.

Disinfection is carried out with products or substances that completely or almost completely eliminate microorganisms in a range of between five and ten minutes of exposure to the product. These products possess germicidal, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties to completely destroy all organisms listed on their back label.

The most common disinfectant products are those that contain alcohol (ethyl and isopropyl), chlorinated compounds, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, peroxide, iodophors, peracetic acid, benzalkonium chloride and ammonium bromide, better known as gerdex, widely used for disinfecting equipment. medical-surgical. Needless to say, your activity depends on your concentration.

Finally, the disinfection process consists of the following stages:

  • Cleaning : soapy products or detergents are applied to clean the dirt and prepare the surface for disinfection.
  • Rinsing : the remains of soapy substances or detergents used in cleaning are removed.
  • Disinfection : the disinfectant substance is applied to eliminate pathogenic organisms.

In summary, in view of the foregoing, the following differences are presented:

Sanitization Disinfection
It is a process that consists of the reduction of a large number of pathogenic organisms. It is a process that consists of the destruction and total elimination of pathogenic organisms.
It is recommended for areas close to food, children, the elderly and people at risk. It is recommended for surgical areas, food preparation and storage areas, and areas with high exposure to pathogens such as bathrooms.
It is usually done in 4 or 5 stages depending on the product used. It is usually done in 3 stages.

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