Cleaning is the process of clearing away unwanted substances, such as dirt, infectious agents, and other impurities, from an object or environment. It is done with a cleaning product and involves spraying, wiping, scrubbing, or otherwise washing a surface. It does not kill bacteria, viruses, or fungi (often referred to as “germs”) but rather clears them from the surface. Cleaning products are used to get rid of “germs” and other organic matter by washing them down the drain.
Sanitizing and disinfecting products are chemicals that work by killing germs. These chemicals are also called antimicrobial pesticides. They are regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Disinfectants kill more germs than sanitizers. In most cases, a cleaning product is used first. Then the surface is either sanitized or disinfected only when it is necessary.