When it comes to cleaning, there are several variables in place. What type of cleaning products should I use? Which is best for different surfaces? And, what is disinfection and how do I ensure I do it properly?

Understandably, this can get quite confusing, but it does not have to be. With the proper information, you will know the best methods for cleaning all types of surfaces. Many times, this involves disinfection. In this article, we will be discussing what disinfecting is, its importance of it, and how it should be done.

What is Disinfection?

It is important to note that disinfection is different from cleaning and sanitizing. Cleaning will remove dirt and dust from a surface. Sanitizing will kill a majority of bacteria on a surface.

Unlike those two, disinfecting is quite stronger and will eliminate bacteria and viruses. By killing harmful pathogenic microorganisms, there is a lower possibility of germs spreading and individuals getting infected.

Depending on the pathogenic microorganism, disinfecting products can have varying levels of success. However, effectiveness can be increased by properly cleaning the surface prior to disinfecting. There are also different methods of disinfection. This includes heat, ultraviolet light, and chemical disinfectants. 

The Importance of Disinfection

In more recent years, disinfection is essential. As we all know, viruses can spread rapidly, and it is our responsibility to disinfect high-touch surfaces. These include door knobs, light switches, tables, smartphones, and faucets. These are all items that individuals touch often and are easily susceptible to viruses and bacteria.

Furthermore, office spaces should be disinfected regularly. In particular, hospitals and other healthcare facilities must meet public health safety standards. For example, any medical device or equipment should always be disinfected. It is quite important to kill all pathogenic microorganisms. In addition, contact time may impact the level of effectiveness. For stronger results, you may want to increase the amount of contact time the disinfectant has with the surface.

When Should You Disinfect?

Depending on the location and circumstance, you may need to disinfect more often. Understandably, hospitals should be disinfected at a more frequent rate. In addition, banks, restaurants, and transportation areas should have routine disinfection schedules.

These are high-traffic areas with a significant amount of movement and crowdedness. It can be quite easy for germs to spread and for individuals to get sick. Adding on, disinfection is not a permanent solution, as surfaces can be contaminated again. Therefore, you should disinfect surfaces regularly.

For households, it’s important to disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly. However, this is not something you must do every day. If someone in the household is sick, it would be helpful to disinfect more often.

man disinfecting under the office table

How to Disinfect Safely

There are several different methods of disinfection. You can use a chemical disinfectant solution, UV-C light, or steam cleaner. Each method has different procedures and different effectiveness against killing harmful viruses and bacteria.

For example, some may require greater amounts of exposure time. In addition, protective equipment may be necessary for certain disinfectant methods. It is important to understand these types as it will help you know what method you should implement for each surface and location.

Chemical Disinfectant

For many, the most common type of disinfectant is a chemical disinfectant. Typically, these are used to eliminate bacteria and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. This is achieved by killing the protective membrane of a microbe. Chemical disinfectants can be used on a variety of environmental surfaces. A stronger disinfectant solution should be used for healthcare facilities. 

Alternatively, most chemical disinfectants are effective in killing harmful viruses and bacteria on household environmental surfaces. Contact time may impact the disinfection process. Certain products require longer exposure times.


To begin, it is important to address rubbing alcohol. Yes, they can be beneficial for disinfecting cuts. However, they should not be used to disinfect any medical device. They are not effective in killing bacterial spores, which can result in unclean equipment. This can lead to infection. Usually, hospitals will use a high-level disinfection product.

Typically, these types of chemical disinfectants will contain isopropyl-alcohol or ethyl-alcohol. Isopropyl alcohol is commonly used in hospitals, classrooms, and households. Similarly, ethyl alcohol can also be used for household cleaning.

It is recommended to use a mixture containing a 70 percent concentration of isopropyl alcohol. This provides the greatest effectiveness against killing harmful bacteria. You should avoid using mixtures with a concentration level lower than 50 percent.

Chlorine and Chlorine Compounds

There are liquid and solid chlorine disinfectants. Liquid disinfectants are sodium hypochlorite. Alternatively, solid disinfectants are calcium hypochlorite. The most common type of chlorine disinfectant is household bleach. While quite effective, it can be dangerous when used improperly. When in contact with eyes or skin, bleach can cause intense levels of burning and irritation. Therefore, it is important to secure it safely. 

Furthermore, household bleach contains 5.25 to 6.15 percent sodium hypochlorite. Chlorine disinfectants tend to work quite quickly. As the PH level rises, chlorine begins to lose effectiveness. Understandably, a primary concern of chlorine disinfectants is potential environmental harm. As stated by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), the regulated use of chlorine does not result in environmental damage.

UV-C Disinfection

UV-C disinfection, also known as Ultraviolet Germicidal Radiation, sterilizes environments by killing all harmful microorganisms. These microorganisms include viruses, bacteria, and fungi. The UV-C band has a spectrum of 200-280 nanometers. 

Typically, this is used for air and water disinfection. For example, drinking water can be disinfected. In addition, UV-C light can increase the air quality in public places and healthcare facilities. To be effective, there must be direct contact with the pathogens. Therefore, blocking substances like soil may significantly decrease effectiveness. It should be noted that excess exposure to UV-C light can lead to health issues such as burning or irritation.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is quite straightforward. Water is heated and then expelled from the machine. Depending on the attachment, this can be a nozzle or brush. Steam cleaning can be great for households as it is safe, effective, and easy to do. Typically, steam cleaners are used for carpets, tiles, hardwood floors, or countertops. It is recommended to avoid steam cleaning unsealed floors as it can cause damage. 

Water must be heated to at least 200 degrees for steam cleaners to be effective. By doing so, you should be able to remove dirt and stains. Most importantly, it can kill 99 percent of harmful germs and bacteria. Depending on the steam cleaner you purchase, longer contact time may be required.

Choosing the Right Disinfectant Method

When choosing the right disinfectant method, it is important to focus on your location and what you want to disinfect. 

For example, you may want a disinfectant that can eliminate all forms of harmful pathogenic microorganisms. In that case, using a high-level disinfection solution may be wise. However, these types of disinfectants may not be advised for household use. They can contain harsh chemicals which irritate the skin. In worse cases, it can lead to further health complications. For household use, it may be best to use common chemical disinfectants like bleach or isopropyl alcohol.

cleaning and sanitizing the office

Disinfection Best Practices

There are certain tips you should follow when disinfecting environmental surfaces. By following these tips, you can have a more effective disinfection process. 

First and foremost, always read the label for any disinfecting product. This will tell what it is effective against and the proper usage procedures. Afterward, if recommended, wear gloves or goggles. Protective equipment can prevent accidental contact or splashes. 

Furthermore, safely secure disinfecting products away from children and animals. After using the product, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. 
Dallas Janitorial provides disinfecting services and can ensure safe and clean surroundings.

FAQs About Disinfection

What is the difference between sterilization and disinfection?

Disinfection eliminates harmful microorganisms like viruses and bacteria. Sterilization will kill all living microorganisms. This is typically done in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. 

What is UV disinfection equipment?

Typically, UV disinfection equipment includes overhead lights, air filtration systems, or water filtration systems.

What temperature does heat disinfection occur?

Dry heat disinfection occurs at 160 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit) for 2 hours. Alternatively, it can also occur at 170 degrees Celsius (320 degrees Fahrenheit) for 1 hour. As it relates to steam cleaning, water should be heated to at least 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the most common disinfection?

The most common type of disinfection products is household ones. Generally, this would include bleach, chlorine disinfectants, or isopropyl alcohol. 

What is the best method of disinfection?

This depends on your location and the desired strength of choice. For household use, products containing harsh chemicals should be avoided. For industrial or medical use, stronger products may be required. 

What is a good disinfectant?

Each type of disinfectant will have a varying level of effectiveness. This will depend on the type of surface you want to disinfect. Furthermore, each method has a different exposure time. For example, steam cleaning can kill almost all bacteria but requires time as the water must properly heat. 

How Dallas Janitorial Can Help

You can call 214-778-3689 to learn more about our disinfection services. In addition, we provide commercial carpet cleaning, floor cleaning, and janitorial services. We would love to help you!

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