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Most times, the terms cleaning, disinfection, and sterilisation are used interchangeably, and that can be confusing for some people. Sadly, it’s a common misconception, and business owners and managers need to understand the differences between them. The way that you comprehend the meaning behind each term could ensure that you provide your employees and workers with an environment that is free from all germs and infections.

It is always critically important to safeguard the health of your employees and customers. Therefore, understanding the key differences between the three processes and the best methods to achieve them is a must for your operation. Let’s take a deeper look into the subject.

·       Cleaning

Cleaning in the infection control context refers to the mechanical removal of visible surface contaminants, soils, etc. Cleaning is usually done with soap, water, and enzymatic detergents, using hand scrubbing or more sophisticated cleaning machines. Cleaning is an essential element of any effective infection control procedure. You will find that while cleaning does remove soils and reduces the microbial population, it won’t kill bacteria or viruses. Using the most thorough cleaning processes will still leave microorganisms on the surface of the item.

No matter how thorough, cleaning by itself isn’t enough to ensure that you won’t have any undesirable rogue microorganisms at the surface level. Most professional workspaces and premises engaged in providing services to people must be mindful of the fact that cleaning is merely the first step in their infection control process.

·       Disinfection

Disinfectants are products that are applied to inanimate surfaces or objects to kill many or all microorganisms except resistant bacterial spores. These products are often purchased in concentrated form and mixed with water to provide an effective use-strength solution. Most disinfectants don’t stand up well to dirt, which is why cleaning is an especially important first step.

One of the best infection prevention system is using an electrostatic sprayer to disinfect any size surface or area using an eco-friendly hospital grade disinfectant solution. This is called electrostatic spray surface cleaning, the process of spraying electrostatically charged chemical particles, which allows you to spray a chemical mist onto surfaces and objects. The electrostatic application causes the fine mist to wrap around all surfaces and coat in a way that human hands simply can’t get into, killing any potential virus or pathogen.

As it is a touchless application, there is no need to touch or wipe the surfaces. This provides a fast and effective application method while using less solution. The hospital grade eco-friendly solution is safe to use around your home, food, and any surface, both hard and soft. The nature of the mist allows it to coat surfaces evenly and envelope objects, even if the mist is sprayed from one side. After the spray is applied, the sanitising agent works to disinfect the covered surfaces. That’s why electrostatic spraying is an excellent solution for germ and contaminant ridden areas.

·       Sterilisation

Sterilisation is an extreme physical or chemical process that eliminates all forms of microbial life, including transmissible agents (like fungi, bacteria, viruses, and all bacterial spore forms). Sterilisation is required with any implement or tool that penetrates intact skin and contacts the vascular (blood) system. It can be achieved by applying heat, chemicals, or irradiation (used for pre-sterilised items you may purchase). Once an item has been sterilised, all microorganisms have been removed. Theoretically, if your steriliser does its job, nothing survives sterilisation.

Conclusion

Most applications in the workplace or on-premises will require sanitising and or disinfection. Make sure that the products you use are diluted properly, are used for the proper exposure time, and are compatible with the implements or surfaces on which they are used.

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Welcome to Infection Prevention Irelands website, if you have a question regarding air purification or electrostatic spray disinfection, ask here.

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