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SOESD / School Improvement Services / Child Care Resource Network / Child Care Quality, Health & Safety / Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Sanitizing and Disinfecting

Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Surfaces and Toys

Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are often thought to mean the same thing, but they do not.

To clean means to physically remove dirt and contamination. The friction of cleaning removes most germs and exposes any remaining germs to the effects of a sanitizer or disinfectant used later.

To sanitize means to reduce germs on inanimate surfaces to levels considered safe by public health codes and regulations.

To disinfect means to destroy or inactivate most germs, but not bacterial spores, on an inanimate object.

For more information on cleaning and sanitizing, please visit Oregon Kids: Healthy and Safe and click on the E-reference book. Cleaning and Sanitizing information is found in Chapter C.

* Please Note:  Bleach concentrations have changed. For the most accurate information on sanitizing and disinfecting with bleach solution, please click here to view a .pdf from the Oregon Health Authority.


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