Cleaning vs disinfecting: What’s the difference?


The COVID-19 pandemic saw cleaning take a backseat in favour of disinfecting (or sanitising, as it’s otherwise known). The focus shifted a little from presentation; suddenly, sterility became the number one priority, sometimes at the expense of aesthetics. Now, customers expect both: squeaky clean, bacteria-free surfaces and immaculately presented, stain-free flooring and fabrics.

But what exactly is the difference between cleaning and disinfection? How do the processes differ, and what should you expect when you hire a commercial cleaning provider in London? Let’s take a closer look to find out.

What is disinfection?

Disinfection is all about germs and bacteria – specifically those that cause viruses or infections to spread. During the disinfection process, specially-designed chemicals are sprayed or applied onto everything from furniture to flooring, eliminating harmful bacteria that can cause us harm.

Various different types of disinfectants are used to suit different materials and locations. Some surfaces can be bleached to swiftly kill germs, while other surfaces (like furniture, for instance) require a more sensitive approach to avoid causing damage to the materials. 

Disinfecting a surface typically won’t change the way it looks, though. Stains and marks are likely to still be there once the process is complete, which is where cleaning comes in.

How cleaning differs

Using a variety of different products, from soaps to detergents and plenty in between, cleaning is primarily about aesthetics. Encompassing everything from vacuuming to polishing, cleaning is all about removing unsightly stains, marks or dirt. It can still rid surfaces of bacteria, sure, but that’s not its primary objective: cleaning a room is all about making it look its best.

Which do you need?

As we touched on at the beginning of this guide, cleaning and disinfecting really do go hand in hand. Customers expect a space that’s not just visually appealing, but also sterile and free of bacteria. We offer comprehensive deep cleans here at Donau that combine both services into one. Learn more about what we do and enquire today for a free quote. 

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