It Looks Clean – Is it Disinfected?

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As a biohazard remediation company, we do a variety of tasks to make sure that surfaces are not only clean but are free of any hazardous residue that might cause health problems. Often that involves the same sort of thing you’d do to maintain your home. It starts with cleaning, of course. Clean surfaces are not only more visually appealing but also are easier to work with for the next step: Disinfecting.

And no, just because it’s clean doesn’t mean there are no infectious organisms present. And there’s often confusion or misunderstanding on that issue. Never assume that because something looks clean that there is nothing hazardous lurking on it. Particles of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are microscopic and cannot be detected with the naked eye. And what’s worse, if the surface is a porous material such as carpet or fabric or even wood, getting what you see clean doesn’t deal with what may have been absorbed into it.

That alone is why we often have to pull out carpet when there is a major blood spill or human or animal fluids like urine. A wet substance will be wicked into the material and drawn beneath the surface. In the case of a carpet, it might even soak into the wood sub-floor and require a tear-out and replacement of the wood.

This is kind of a long explanation, but perhaps you’ll understand now why ‘clean’ doesn’t always mean disinfected. And vice versa.

Unless a product is labeled as a ‘disinfecting cleaner,’ it won’t do both. Disinfectants may not clean. For example, if a surface is greasy, a disinfectant may neutralize infectious organisms but don’t deal with the grease. Same thing with a stained spot. And cleaners won’t necessarily disinfect. That’s why our biohazard crews use both types of products.

What about sanitizing, you may ask. That’s another issue for another post. But you should be aware that disinfecting and sanitizing may be similar, but they are not the same thing. Watch our blog for our upcoming article discussing these two processes. (You can also read an earlier article on the three processes with some detailed information by clicking here.)

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