Sanitizing, Disinfecting, and Sterilizing. What's the difference?

4 MIN READ

With everything that is occurring in the world right now, the biggest eye opener is the amount of people that actually don't know how to properly sanitize and disinfect.

While I was in school learning how to properly clean our spa and tools, I would always roll my eyes at how many hours my teacher would preface the importance of knowing the various ways of maintaining a healthy environment. Like, I got it. It made sense. Yet, what may be common knowledge for most, may not be the case for all.

It is important to know that "sanitizing is meant to reduce, not kill, the occurrence and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi...and disinfecting a surface will "kill" the microscopic organisms as claimed on the label of a particular product."

Let me repeat that, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE between washing, disinfecting, sterilizing!


Sanitize: to make clean and hygienic


We must always wash our hands for at least 20 seconds with an antibacterial soap. This is the most effective way of removing dirt, grease, bacteria, and preventing unnecessary spreading of germs. When should we wash our hands? Always, especially handling foods, visiting the lou, and when using harsh chemicals.

A lot of people have told me in the past that they prefer using hand sanitizer than soap. It is always advised to wash with an anti-bacterial soap and if you need a quick spritz to refresh, then use the sanitizer, as it is not meant to be an alternative to soap. PLUS, the alcohol that are in them dry up the natural oils in your skin and we don't need to speed up the aging process on our hands any faster now, do we?


Disinfect: to clean, especially with a chemical, in order to destroy bacteria


Most of us are familiar with our everyday disinfectant house products and majority will claim that it can kill up to 99.99% of bacteria, flus, and other diseases.

Hey, I'll take all the help that I can get when it comes to keeping a healthy and clean environment, but we here at Blue always take it a step further. If you were to go on our Yelp page right now, you'll see that majority of our patients compliment us on our cleanliness. We take pride in having a clean and safe haven for our patients. Additionally, since we are a medical office, we use hospital-grade disinfectants to kill even the most stubborn of viruses.


Sterilize: to make (something) free from bacteria or other living microorganisms


Now, this is where the bigs dogs come into play. Ever wonder when you go into a doctor's office and you see them unraveling tools out of the protective casing as if they were too lazy and didn't plan to set up the room before you got there? Even if they don't mention anything to you, it's their way of showing you that these instruments have been sterilized and are ready to be used just for you!

My favorite toy in the office is our Autoclave. This beast of a machine is a pressure chamber that sterilizes instruments by using high temperature steam. That's right, you heard me, very hot steam. This will effectively destroy not just diseases/viruses, but even blood!

Warning: this doesn't mean that if you go home and turn your faucet on full level scalding that you can go to town in your place and expect to get the same results.


This world can be a scary place, filled with freaky and infectious organisms that we can't see with our naked eye. In times like these, it's a good reminder for us that we are all in this wild life together. We need to remember that when we take care of ourselves, we also take care of others. Things happen that are out of our control, but I think that if we all take responsibility of what we can control, we'll all be happier for it.

During this time, make sure to catch up on projects you've been pushing aside. Get rid of the old that no longer serves a purpose in your life. Stay in contact with your loved ones, maybe even get to know your neighbors that you sometimes say hi to. Question information that is given to you, find reputable sources, but always stay calm and level-headed. Stay creative; read a book, write, draw, build, whatever brings you joy, DO IT.

...and if you've made it all the way to the end of this informative piece, PLEASE do one more thing for me, WASH YOUR HANDS.

 

By Melissa Colon

Thank you for reaching out!

We will be in touch shortly.

Back to Site