Cleaning, Disinfecting, Sanitizing: What’s the Difference?

Mary Albano

October 20, 2020

Written By


Restaurants across the country have instituted additional health and safety protocols in order to ensure the comfort of their diners. Cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting are often used interchangeably, however there are differences - and they’re important.

Photo by Fran Jacquier on Unsplash

Cleaning simply removes dirt, debris, and impurities from a surface or object. It may physically remove some germs, however it does not generally kill germs. Sanitizing reduces the growth of and removes the quantity of germs on a surface or object. Disinfecting is the method that actually kills germs.

Image Courtesy of Gordon Food Service

Trust20 expert Cheryl Diballa, Distributor Manager of US ChemBev, outlines essential behaviors that you’re probably already doing. She highlights that both food contact and non-food contact surfaces should first always be cleaned with hot, soapy water. Food contact surfaces (including surfaces that are touched by the customers) should always be cleaned with an EPA registered Sanitizer, while Non Food Contact Surfaces should be wiped down with an EPA registered Disinfectant

More than 50 restaurants have completed their Trust20 certifications and the number is growing by the day.

Consult Trust20 for a detailed list of products, logs, and procedures that can help you confidently maintain your health and safety procedures.

Image Courtesy of Gordon Food Service

Restaurants with a Trust20 certification receive expert guidance, operational resources, and a cohort marketing campaign that reaches 17 million diners - sign up for a FREE Assessment Call to see how we can best support you.

Take an even deeper look at this topic with Gordon Food Service on YouTube!

About Trust20
Trust20 is the new standard of restaurant safety and diner comfort, based on 20 tactics by health and safety experts. Supported by Gordon Food Service and General Mills, Trust20 provides an independently verified certification of restaurant practices, training, and other resources to help restaurants create safe, healthy, and welcome spaces for diners., @Trust20USA 


Never miss an update from Trust20