A Guide to Disinfection vs. Sanitization for Businesses

A Guide to Disinfection vs. Sanitization for Businesses

If you are a business owner or facility manager, you know that there’s so much at stake right now when it comes to creating a safe environment for your employees and your customers. If anything goes wrong and someone becomes infected with COVID-19, it could lead to disaster.

You need to make sure that you are doing absolutely everything in your power to prevent this situation from happening. Above all else, you don’t want your customers or employees to get sick.

You need to prepare, and to do that, you have to understand the market for companies who are offering COVID-19 disinfection services. You also need to know how to determine who is using the best products and practices.

The Environmental Protection Agency does not license companies that provide cleaning services, which means that it’s up to you to pay close attention to which company you choose to hire for your disinfection services.

To do this, you need to understand:

  • The difference between sanitization and disinfection
  • Tips to consider when you are researching disinfection service companies, and questions to ask them before you hire them
  • Ref flags that you should definitely avoid


Here are four key points you should know about sanitizers:

  • The EPA defines sanitizers as: chemical products that can kill at least 99.9% of germs on hard surfaces (that percentage should go up to 99.99% of germs on surfaces used for food services.)
  • Sanitizers lower the number of germs on surfaces or objects – either by killing them or removing them – to a safe level.
  • According to the EPA, “Sanitizers do not qualify for EPA’s List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.” SARS-CoV-2 is the pathogen that causes COVID-19.
  • There are no sanitizer-only products with approved virus claims.


Here are the facts about disinfection:

  • The EPA defines disinfectants as: chemical products that can kill up to 99.999% of gems on hard surfaces.
  • The EPA rigorously tests surface disinfectant products – but not surface sanitizing products.
  • Disinfectants kill germs on surfaces or objects.
  • Disinfectants kill the majority of viruses and bacteria.
  • The EPA will take action against companies making false claims that their disinfectants work against SARS-CoV-2.

Key Tips for Hiring A Disinfection Service

Make sure you understand the facts and ask the company you’re considering the key questions before you decide to hire them. You need to think about your facility and what you’re most concerned about.

Key Questions To Ask

  • What products are the company you are hiring using: sanitizers, disinfectants, or both?
  • Are employees following ALL the directions for virucidal (virus killing) disinfection?
  • Are employees leaving the surface wet for several minutes?
  • Does the company use EPA-approved disinfection products, or are they just saying they do? You can check this list to see for yourself.
  • Does the company offer ATP testing to make sure surfaces are free from COVID-19?
  • Does the company offer COVID-19 testing for its employees and yours?

Red Flags: What to Avoid

Avoid working with companies who…

  • Don’t use advanced methods like foggers and electrostatic sprayers
  • Don’t communicate if they will disinfect both hard and porous surfaces
  • Don’t offer any UV disinfection
  • Don’t offer testing procedures for ATP or COVID-19
  • Don’t offer a history of their experience dealing with hazardous and toxic substances
  • Don’t have Certified Industrial Hygienist Certification that states their facility is 99.9% safe from virus protection
  • Don’t list their prices

What AMPOL Offers Instead

  • Cleaning of both porous and non-porous surfaces
  • Taking the extra step to HEPA vacuum and steam clean curtains and carpets
  • Disinfecting with the use of medical and industrial grade equipment
  • Working with UV air sanitizers and HEPA hogs to guarantee infection-free, safe air
  • Testing with ATP, which measures the cleanliness of your space on a hospital-grade level
  • Testing for COVID-19, for both your employees and ours
  • Providing a Certified Industrial Hygienist on site to perform the testing before anyone enters the facility
  • Experience dealing with major health crises in the past, such as the anthrax events, Hurricane Katrina, and the BP oil spill

The choice is up to you, but you need to make sure you understand the facts. Now is the time to choose a company who has the experience and is using the right products. Contact AMPOL today and we will discuss meeting your disinfection needs.