Disinfecting and Sanitizing: Understanding the difference and why its actually important

So I was at home, in my living room, watching a show on Netflix. Down beside my feet, my children were playing ever so contently. My youngest daughter, “small child” as I call her lovingly,  pulled on my  pants leg and asked for chocolate milk. She normally asks for it anyway, so I figured it would be a matter of time before she asks again. I grabbed her tiny hand and led her to the kitchen. She sat on the floor and continued playing while I grabbed the milk from the refrigerator and a cute little cup to put it in from the cabinet. I sat the milk down on the kitchen counter and as I was starting to pour, the weirdest thought hit me: “When was the last time I actually disinfected or sanitized these counters? “ That thought hit me like a ton of bricks. I was instantly winded. Almost instantaneously, I started itching, I looked to my counter and I could’ve sworn I saw little germs crawling all over my counter. I snapped out of my twisted version of reality, poured my daughter her milk and led her back to the living area so she can enjoy her milk.  I however, went back to the kitchen and stared at my counter looking for answers. 

Believe it or not, there is a difference between disinfecting and sanitizing. Disinfecting is the act of actually killing germs and bacteria, while sanitizing is the act of cleaning to reduce the amount of germs and bacteria so as to reduce the likelihood of spreading and infection. Typically you would disinfect areas you frequent, such as the bathroom and the kitchen because thats where the most germs and bacteria hang out, and you would sanitize areas such as the bedroom and the living room. Armed with that knowledge, I set out to disinfect my countertop.   There are two different methods you can use to disinfect any area. Those two methods are by using chemicals such as alcohols, dyes, or halogens, or by using a physical method such as heat or filtration. Since it was the middle of summer, I thought it to be wise to not turn on the heat. After all, the last thing I wanted to do was turn my kids into heat puddles on the floor.  I wasn’t too fond of using anything super harsh on my countertops, or in the house in general, so I opted to make my own mixture  instead. What I used was a combination of vinegar,tea tree oil, and hot water.  I first gathered a spray bottle and put 2 cups hot water in there. Then I added 10 drops of tea tree oil, and finally I added 1/2 cup of white vinegar to my bottle. I shook really well and before you knew it, my mixture was ready. I grabbed my handy microfiber towel and sprayed my mix all over the kitchen counter. If this is your first time reading any of my blogs, let me be the first to tell you that I absolutely love essential oils!!! They have really beneficial properties and each one does something different. Tea tree oil  is really a good oil to use, especially in disinfecting because it helps in fighting fungal and bacterial infections, as well as acts as a mood lifter by promoting positive thinking and elevating energy levels.  Mix that with vinegar, which can also act as a disinfectant, and voila, you have pure gold in your bottle! 

I let the mixture sit on my counter for a few moments before using my microfiber towel to clean it all up. I sprayed every surface in my kitchen with that mixture, and cleaned my kitchen. When I was finished, I stepped back, took a look at my shiny kitchen, and signed with satisfaction. My kitchen was now newly disinfected. Germs didn’t stand a chance in here now! I put the towel in the hamper, and placed the mixture in the closet to keep it out of reach of my toddler. My children were being extremely quiet, so I decided to go into the living room to check on them. I slowly peeked around the corner and to my suprise they both were sound asleep. Since I was still in the cleaning mood, I decided that now is a would be a good time to clean and sanitize my living room. Sanitizing essentially is the act of reducing the amount of germs and bacteria in any given place. Typically, you would sanitize areas such as the living room, and bedrooms, while you would disinfect areas such as the kitchen and the bathroom.

There are three different methods of sanitizing. Those methods include using heat to reduce germs and bacteria, using radiation, and using chemicals. Typically when you hear the word “sanitize”, or “sanitation”, you think the use of bleach, which is a chemical, or some sort of heat source. I cleaned my living room as I normally would, and then sat out to sanitize it. I am for the use of all natural products in my home so once again, I opted to create my own sanitizing spray. I grabbed a spray bottle, and added 2 cups hot water as well as 1/2 cup white vinegar. I then went on to add 1/4 cup rubbing alcohol, along with 15 drops each of lavender and lemon essential oil. I gave my mixture a good ol’ shake, and BOOM! My sanitizing spray was born. I sprayed it across some surfaces of my living room such as the table, and the end tables, along with my desk and misted it very carefully across my furniture so as not to ruin it. Not only did that room smell fantastic, those pesky germs didn’t stand a chance in my newly sanitized living room! I was so happy. Satisfied, I went and placed my spray next to the disinfectant in the closet, and sat in the chair across from my sleeping children and finished watching Netflix until my children awoke.

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