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Understanding the Difference Between Disinfecting and Cleaning

There is an ongoing debate on whether antibacterial products are considered the only effective way of keeping the three nasties away - bacteria, germs, and viruses. Our whole philosophy (and reason for existing) at The Clean Crate Company is to help keep you and your family safe, clean, and healthy by providing eco-friendly and non-toxic alternatives. Because of this and given the world’s current situation, we wanted to clarify how our products included in our Subscription Crates do just that. 

We have carefully selected only Canadian-made natural cleaning products which are incredibly effective at removing bacteria from the surfaces of your home, are safe for your skin, and non-toxic in case of accidental ingestion. There are non-toxic products that are effective at cleaning away viruses and have Gov’t of Canada approved ingredients. 

What is the actual difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

  • Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and other impurities from surfaces. Cleaning removes germs but does not kill them. Although not 100%, this is good because removing them lowers the risk of spreading infection. 
  • Disinfecting refers to the use of chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs but killing germs on a surface after cleaning further lowers the risk of spreading infection.

The US FDA says that there is not enough science to prove that store-bought antibacterial soaps are better at preventing illness than washing up with regular soap and water.

 Parent teaches child proper hand-washing technique.

So why the fuss? What is the difference?

Some traditional antibacterial soaps contain certain toxic chemicals not found in natural and non-toxic regular soap and can contain triclosan, which is harmful to us. 

We recommend cleaning often and thoroughly with a combination of effective disinfectants. First, for your hands, use the 20-second washing technique advocated by Dr. Bonnie Henry and other medical professionals and secondly, for your household surfaces, use one of our recommended multi-surface spray cleaners, then wait for a couple of seconds then wipe away with a towel. 

Ensure that everyone in your home cleans their hands often, especially after removing gloves and/or contact with an ill person. If you are away from your home and soap and water are not available, and hands are not too dirty, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol) may be used. However, if hands are visibly dirty, always wash hands with soap and water.

If you are interested in learning more about disinfectants and the non-toxic eco-friendly options that The Clean Crate Company offers, click here to see our incredible alternatives to the harsh chemical disinfectants that are on grocery and hardware store shelves.