Killing a virus is a two-step process.
If the purpose is to clean and not kill germs, then disinfection is not needed. However, if the purpose is to kill germs on surfaces, disinfection is mandatory after cleaning. It is important to clean and remove visible soils before disinfecting. If a surface is not properly cleaned, germs can hide under soils and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant.
Here’s how the Center of Disease Control (CDC) defines both:
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.
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.
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