The Importance of Sanitizing

The Importance of Sanitizing

The latest pandemic of the Coronavirus disease is affecting most of us in one way or another. The current lockdown in place aimed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 has resulted in many businesses being closed and many people being advised to stay at home. With no vaccine in sight and people isolated in their homes, one of the most common questions being asked online is “What can I do to prevent the coronavirus disease at home?”

This is where the importance of sanitizing comes into play. Besides regularly washing our hands and avoiding close contact with others (within 6 feet), sanitizing our home plays a big role in the prevention of Coronavirus. Whenever we go out to purchase supplies at a grocery store or pharmacy, there is a chance we will pick up germs left behind by others on anything we touch. Those possibly contaminated germs then get transferred to our homes and put us and our loved ones at risk of contracting a disease.

That is why it's so important to clean and sanitize frequently touched surfaces and objects in our homes daily. Sanitization helps reduce the number of pathogens on surfaces and ensures a cleaner and safer environment.

What Is Sanitizing?

The definition of sanitizing is the use of anti-bacterial solutions or heat to reduce the number and growth of germs, bacteria, viruses, and fungi on surfaces that have been pre-cleaned. It is not possible to sanitize surfaces that have dirt on them - they must be cleaned first. When you sanitize something, you reduce the bacteria present by up to 99.9%. However, it's important to note the difference in what it means to disinfect vs sanitize.

Disinfection vs Sanitizing

Disinfection is the use of EPA-approved chemicals to completely “kill” the organisms on a surface. Since disinfecting requires the use of a stronger solution to kill germs instead of simply reducing their presence, it is not something you can do on all surfaces and objects.

This means that sanitizing is especially important in areas of food preparation. You should sanitize anything that comes into contact with food, which includes things like utensils and dishes. Toys that children may put in their mouths are considered food contact surfaces and should also be sanitized instead of disinfected.

The Proper Way to Sanitize Surfaces

The process for sanitizing food contact surfaces differs slightly from the process used for non-food contact surfaces.

4-Step Sanitizing Process for Food Contact Surfaces

Food contact surfaces mean any surface that touches food such as utensils, cutting boards, and stockpots.
There are four steps to clean and sanitize such surfaces:

  1. Thoroughly clean the surface with the appropriate cleaner.
  2. Rinse the surface with clean hot water.
  3. Apply the sanitizing solution to the cleaned surface.
  4. Allow the surface to air-dry without wiping it down.

2-Step Sanitizing Process for Non-Food Contact Surfaces

There are only two steps to sanitize frequently touched objects and surfaces that don't come in contact with food. These include things like doorknobs, handles, light switches, tables, desks, keyboards, phones, toilets, hardwood floors, etc.

  1. Thoroughly clean the surface or object.
  2. Sanitize the surface or object with a sanitizing solution.

What Are the Methods of Sanitizing?

Sanitizing an object or surface can be done using one of the following three methods. The most used methods are heat and chemicals. The third is the use of radiation but this method is rarely used.


To sanitize surfaces with heat, you can use steam, hot water, or hot air. The hot water heat method is something that can easily be done at home. You will need to soak your items in hot water with a temperature of at least 171° F for 30 seconds. Another simple way to sanitize with heat is the use of a high-temperature dishwasher that can reach a temperature of 180° F.


The three most common types of chemicals approved as sanitizers are chlorine, iodine, and quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs). Some of the less commonly used chemical sanitizers include anionic/acid, fatty acid, peroxides, and peroxyacetic acid (PAA).

You should always avoid using bleach-based cleaners on wood floors, especially on new hardwood floor installation. Bleach-based floor cleaners can harm your stain and finish as well as discolor your entire wood floor.

When using chemical sanitizers, three factors influence their effectiveness:

  1. Concentration – Sanitizing solution is the combination of a chemical sanitizing agent and water. It's important to closely follow the manufacturer's recommendations regarding the ratio from water to agent. Too little sanitizing agents will make the solution weak and result in an inadequate reduction of microorganisms. Too much sanitizing agent can be unsafe and ruin the items being sanitized.
  2. Temperature - The water in your sanitizing solution needs to be at the correct temperature as recommended by the manufacturer of the agent you're using. In general, most chemical sanitizers work most effectively in water that is between 55°F and 120°F.
  3. Contact time – For a sanitizer solution to effectively kill pathogens, it must contact the item being cleaned for the recommended length of time as indicated on the label instructions.


The radiation method of sanitizing and sterilizing is mainly used in hospitals or laboratories. It uses radiation in the form of gamma rays, X-rays, high-energy cathode or in some cases ultraviolet light to destroy microorganisms.

Sanitizing Products

Not all sanitizing products will be effective against Coronavirus, so it's important to always check the EPA's list of effective disinfectants before making your choice. Keep in mind that the EPA does not endorse any specific products. The products in List N are products that meet the criteria that the EPA has set for evaluating products likely to be effective against Coronavirus, based on their effectiveness against other, similar viruses.

What Are the Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting?

Even though people tend to use these terms interchangeably, it's important to understand the differences between them.

  1. Cleaning removes dirt, soil, and organic material from surfaces or objects.
  2. Sanitizing reduces the number of germs on a surface by 99.9% or to a safe level.
  3. Disinfecting aims to kill 100% of the microscopic organisms on a surface.

Keep in mind that an object or surface must first be cleaned before it can be sanitized or disinfected.

Professional Sanitizing and Disinfection Services

Sanitizing is an effective method of Coronavirus prevention and is one of the few things we can do to stay healthy during this pandemic. At Hardwood Revival, we care about your health and are here to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We are now offering professional sanitizing and disinfection services in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland area.

We utilize a safe disinfectant solution that is EPA-registered and approved as effective against COVID-19. Our sanitizing services are performed using a fogging method of application which ensures fast and complete coverage of all surfaces and the most effective results.

To find out more about our disinfecting service or any other services we provide such as wood floor refinishing or hardwood floor installation, get in touch with us today by calling 888-647-2123.

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