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article definition of clean

The Definition of Clean

The definition of cleaning is to make something free of dirt, marks, or mess, especially by washing, wiping, or brushing. But, things get a bit more complicated when you add terms like disinfect and sanitize.

Restaurants, health care facilities, spas and gyms require a certain level of clean to keep people safe and healthy. But each industry has different needs and standards they must meet. We’re going to break down the terminology to help you determine what your needs are.


We will start with cleaning, as it is the general term given to the maintenance of the building. This process removes visible soil, debris, microorganisms and organic substances, but does not eliminate germs.

Even if you plan to sanitize or disinfect the area, you should first clean away the debris that is in the way. Typically, areas that don’t carry a high risk of transferring bacteria or viruses, like windows and floors, may only need surface cleaning.

However, as mentioned earlier, the type of facility will determine the standard of cleaning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidelines for disinfecting and sanitizing in healthcare facilities. These recommendations are a good standard for you to adhere to.

Betco’s pH7 Neutral Cleaner not only cleans floors, but appliances, desks, plastics, stainless steel, painted surfaces and virtually any hard surface.


Sanitizing is the next level up from cleaning and will decrease the risk of infection by reducing bacteria to safe levels. Sanitizing will kill 99.9% of bacteria in 30 seconds; however, it will not kill viruses and fungus.

Any surfaces that come into contact with food are required to be sanitized. However, because sanitizing offers no defense against viruses, it is not effective for areas that may spread the flu or other viruses.

Disinfecting products can be harsh on some surfaces, especially if used repeatedly, so if sanitizing will suffice, sometimes that is best. Many restaurants and food facilities sanitize dishes to quickly get them back into rotation. Betco’s Sanibet Disinfectant Sanitizer is perfect for sanitizing glassware, flatware and food contact surfaces as no rinsing is required.


Stronger than sanitizing, disinfecting will eliminate 99.99% of pathogens (including bacteria, viruses, mildews and fungi) in less than 10 minutes. There are particular settings where disinfectant is required, over simply sanitizing. This Sprayway Disinfectant is commonly used in hospitals, nursing homes and health care facilities. It kills most germs and controls molds, mildew and odours.

Disinfectants have different “dwell” times – which is how long the product needs to be present to be effective against the microorganisms listed on the label. These times are usually between 30 seconds and 10 minutes. However, a dwell time of 10 minutes will need multiple applications to keep the surface wet and be fully effective.

This factor will affect the cleaning schedule, as it is more labour intensive. In a hospital environment where lives are at stake, time is not a factor – the job must be completed as per the standards.


In industrial and kitchen areas, it’s common for a greasy buildup to accumulate. In those situations, you need to use something that will cut through the grease. Our All-in-One Degreaser is our best seller because it’s so versatile. Simply altering the dilutions will give you a power-packed, heavy-duty degreaser for any job!

If you have further questions about the best way to clean a particular area of your facility, call Checkers and speak with one of our team.

We take cleaning seriously.