What is the difference between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting?

19 March, 2024 | Cleaning

From keeping your home clean to ensuring safety in medical environments, understanding the difference between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting is essential. At Weldon we explain everything you need to know!


Cleaning vs. sanitising vs. disinfecting


Cleaning is the process of removing dirt, dust, debris and other impurities from a surface. This is the first essential step in any cleaning routine. When cleaning, water, detergents and equipment such as cloths, brushes and vacuum cleaners are used to remove organic matter and visible contaminants.

The main purpose of cleaning is to improve the appearance of surfaces and remove debris that could harbour germs and bacteria. However, cleaning alone does not necessarily kill pathogenic microorganisms, so it is important to combine it with other processes to ensure a truly hygienic and disinfected environment.


Sanitising involves reducing the number of microorganisms on a surface to a safe and acceptable level, according to public health standards. This is achieved through the use of specific chemicals that have bactericidal, virucidal and fungicidal properties. These products can be disinfectants or antimicrobial agents that kill a wide range of pathogens.

Sanitisation is crucial in environments where disease prevention and safety are a priority, such as medical settings, restaurants and food preparation areas. Although sanitisation does not guarantee the total elimination of all microorganisms, it significantly reduces their presence to levels that do not pose a risk to health.


Disinfecting is the process of eliminating or inactivating almost all pathogenic microorganisms on a surface. This is achieved through the use of chemical disinfectants that are formulated to kill bacteria, viruses and fungi. Disinfectants are more potent than standard cleaning products and often require specific contact times to be effective.

Disinfection is essential in situations where preventing the spread of disease is critical, such as in hospitals, nurseries and shared public spaces. 

At Weldon, we are committed to offering cleaning solutions tailored to your needs, whether in hospitals, offices, or businesses. Ensure a clean and healthy environment with Weldon!