NOTE: NSF was interviewed for the following blog post on cleaning vs. sanitizing. While sanitization cycles are a tool to boost the cleanliness of your home, NSF’s testing of sanitization cycles does not presently include the COVID-19 or coronaviruses.
Anyone shopping for cleaning products that can kill bacteria, viruses and other illness-causing microorganisms these days might find the shelves bare of their favorite cleaning products, as coronavirus fears have led to ongoing hypervigilance about cleaning and sanitizing. So, if still can’t find a steady supply of antibacterial wipes, the good news is you may already have tools at your fingertips, including the sanitizing cycles on your clothes washer and dishwasher, to kill off many of the bugs that cause colds, flu and other illnesses.
Cleaning vs. Sanitization: What’s the Difference?
It’s important to understand the difference between cleaning and sanitization.
“It’s a misconception that if you’re using vinegar to clean, you’re sanitizing,” says Mindy Costello, a registered environmental health sanitarian and NSF’s consumer product certification specialist. “Cleaning is just removing the soil. In sanitizing, you’re killing the microorganisms (bacteria, viruses and fungi).” If you want to reduce your risk of getting sick, sanitizing is the way to go.
To sanitize your dishes or laundry, both of which can be fertile grounds for viruses and bacteria, the sanitizing cycles on your clothes…