Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Frequency Table
It's one thing to know surfaces need cleaning, but it's an entirely different thing to know when to clean. How often and how much are up to personal preference, but if you've ever wondered what the "rules" to cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting everyday objects, know you are not alone.
First, it's important to understand the differences between three words often mistaken for each other: cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting.
Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.
Dwell time, or contact time, is the amount of time disinfectants need to remain wet on surfaces to properly disinfect. This is an important consideration when purchasing cleaning supplies for fighting coronavirus. When paired with proper training, this can go a long way toward ensuring surfaces have been effectively sanitized and disinfected. Dwell times vary by disinfectant and target organism type, like bacteria, virus or fungi. They range from 30 seconds to 10 minutes or more.
While a disinfectant may kill some of the organisms immediately upon contact, it must be allowed to dwell on the surface for the time period stated on the chemical’s packaging in order to achieve a 100% kill claim.
Bacteria - are tiny, one-celled creatures that get nutrients from their environments in order to live. In some cases that environment is a human body. Bacteria can reproduce outside of the body or within the body as they cause infections. Some infections that bacteria can cause include ear infections, sore throats (tonsillitis or strep throat), cavities, and pneumonia.
Viruses - These microbes need to be inside living cells to grow and reproduce. Most viruses can’t survive very long if they’re not inside a living thing like a plant, animal, or person. Whatever a virus lives in is called its host.
Fungi - These are multicelled, plant-like organisms. Unlike other plants, fungi cannot make their own food from soil, water, and air. Instead, fungi get their nutrition from plants, people, and animals. They love to live in damp, warm places, and many fungi are not dangerous in healthy people.
Protozoa - These are one-celled organisms that love moisture and often spread diseases through water. Some protozoa cause intestinal infections that lead to diarrhea, nausea, and belly pain.
|Areas||Before Use||After Use||Daily||Weekly||Monthly||Notes|
Food Preparation Surfaces
|Clean, and then sanitize||Clean, and then sanitize||Use a sanitizer safe for food contact|
|Clean, and then sanitize||If washing the dishes and utensils by hand, use a sanitizer safe for food contact as the final step in the process; use of an automated dishwasher will sanitize|
|Tables/Highchairs||Clean, and then sanitize||Clean, and then sanitize|
|Countertops||Clean||Clean, and then sanitize||Use a sanitizer safe for food contact|
|Food Preparation Appliances||Clean||Clean, and then sanitize|
|Mixed Use Tables||Clean, and then sanitize||Before serving food|
|Toilet & Diapering Areas||Clean, and then disinfect||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Changing Tables||Clean, and then disinfect||Clean, rinse, disinfect|
|Potty Chairs||Clean, and then disinfect||Use of potty chairs is not recommended, but if used should be cleaned and disinfected after each use.|
|Hand Washing Sinks & Faucets||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Countertops||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Toilets||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Diaper Pails||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Floors||Clean, and then disinfect||Damp mop with a floor cleaner/disinfectant|
|Child Care Areas||Clean, and then disinfect||Clean, and then disinfect||Clean, sanitize, and then disinfect|
|Plastic Mouthed Toys||Clean||Clean, and then Sanitize|
|Pacifiers||Clean||Clean, and then Sanitize||Reserve for use by only one child; use dishwasher or boil for one minute|
|Hats||Clean||Clean after each use if head lice present|
|Door & Cabinet Handles||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Carpets and Large Area Rugs||Clean||Clean|
|Machine Washable Cloth Toys||Clean|
|Play Activity Centers||Clean|
|Drinking Fountains||Clean, and then disinfect|
|Computer Keyboards||Clean, and then sanitize|
|Sleeping Areas||Clean||Clean and disinfect|
|Bed Sheets & Pillow Cases||Clean|
|Cribs, Cots, & Mats||Clean|
With this knowledge in hand, you can clean, sanitize, and disinfect your way to a time in a not-so-distant future where the world feels just a little bit more normal. Stay safe, stay clean, and stay looking for the next brighter day!