What Are the Differences Between Cleaning, Sanitizing and Disinfecting?

Keeping the environment around you clean and germ-free is an important step in staying healthy. However, do you know the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting? It’s essential to know the variations between these methods so that you can take the proper steps to keep items and areas clean.

If you want to learn about the various methods of cleaning, we can help! We will go over what each term means, what you can do to help maintain a spotless environment whether you are at work or home, and why this information is important. With this knowledge, you will know more about maintaining a germ-free environment and keeping yourself and the people around you healthy.


Cleaning is a term for when you are removing visible dirt, grime, germs, pests and more from the surface of an object. One way that you can accomplish this task is by using water, various cleaning solutions, and a rag or sponge. Cleaning does not always have to involve liquids, though. Dusting surfaces, organizing drawers and throwing away trash also fall under this category.

While sanitizing and disinfecting are also critical steps, cleaning is the most common practice. The most important part of cleaning is preparing the environment, or item, for the next stage. Sanitizing and disinfecting go a few more steps into creating a healthy environment. Remember, just because you are cleaning does not mean the object or area is clear of germs or bacteria. Sanitization and disinfecting are critical steps, as well.


The term “sanitizing” refers to minimizing the number of bacteria and germs on an object or in an area to an acceptable level determined by the public health department. Sanitizing can have a varying degree of effectiveness on bacteria and other unhygienic elements, since the chemical reaction changes from product to product.

While artificial cleaning products are helpful, sanitizing items is not always completed with the use of chemicals. Certain degrees of hot water can be considered sterile enough to clean floors, dishes and bathrooms sufficiently. However, many organizations such as restaurants have to follow strict sanitizing rules to maintain their license, so sanitization products can be helpful.

Proper sanitizing will also help minimize the transfer of bacteria to other surfaces. When you sanitize after cleaning, you reduce the health risk of contracting illnesses or spreading harmful substances.

When you are finished cleaning and are now ready to sanitize, make sure to use products specific to the surface type or bacteria you are trying to remove. Ensure you read the labels on the chemicals you are using both in your home and at work so you are aware of the health risks they pose if mishandled. Many people think that sanitizing is the peak of cleanliness. However, this method is a moderate form of decontamination. Disinfecting is a more intense cleaning procedure.


Disinfecting is the primary source of killing most viruses and bacteria. When you are disinfecting items or surfaces, you use chemicals made for certain germs, bacteria and viruses, to remove or reduce their effectiveness in an environment or on the surface of objects. Depending on the type of area you need to clean, you may use different forms of disinfectants. You can even use specialized machines designed to disinfect hard-to-reach areas or large open spaces with ease.

Some of these disinfectant tools are designed specifically for getting into the cracks and crevices that ordinary items have a difficult time reaching. When you combine cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting, you are effectively maintaining appropriate levels of hygiene in your life. Having this knowledge can help your day-to-day experiences, especially during times of sickness and in areas with many germs, such as hospitals.

Doing a routine cleaning of surface areas such as countertops will help maintain a clean space and a healthy place for people to occupy. To have the cleanest countertops, you must first wipe the counter down with water and soap and dry it completely. After that, you should apply your disinfectant solution and wipe down the counters again for confirmation that all germs are removed and the space is clean.

There are quite a few places and appliances that, due to the germs accumulating on their surfaces, need frequent disinfecting. Some of these items include:

  • Doorknobs
  • Tables
  • Chairs
  • Cellphones
  • Light switches
  • Remotes
  • Handles
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Counters

Areas that are constantly open to moisture, such as bathrooms, need special attention and should be disinfected often. There are many facets within the bathroom that can cause unwanted bacterial growth, ranging from shampoo residue to puddles of water. Keeping the bathroom adequately cleaned and disinfected will keep these to a minimum and provide a healthier environment. Complete disinfection of the bathroom should happen at least once a week, while basic cleaning or sanitization should probably happen daily.

Why It’s Important to Know the Difference

Many people clean their homes on a regular schedule to ensure their environments are hygienic. Have you cleaned enough and used the right products? If you are unsure of the three avenues that combine to make the healthiest of living environments, you may be wasting your time with so much surface cleaning. Breaking down the differences between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting will help you realize if you have adequately removed germs.

Disinfecting is a significant player in making your home the cleanest it can be. At the very least, cleaning and disinfecting are necessary to do regularly. To create the best possible healthy environment to live in, you will need to finish off with sanitizing.

The difference between sanitizing and disinfecting is that sanitizing focuses more on bacteria while disinfecting removes both bacteria and viruses. Also, disinfecting normally has to do with hard surfaces, like sinks and tables, while sanitizing covers a broader range of applications. Improve your lifestyle and living space by knowing the proper way to clean and which products to use. 

Choose The Facilities Group to Help You Clean

Many of us have hectic lives and don’t have the time to constantly sanitize to the degree of cleanliness we want. At The Facilities Group, we are here to help relieve the stress of keeping up with cleanliness in your business with services such as AmplifyClean™.

Cleaning is essential to maintaining a safer workplace. By properly sanitizing areas, you can safeguard the well-being of your workers. Specializing in industries from automobiles to urgent care, The Facilities Group can ensure your workplace environment is safe and healthy.

The services we provide range from pressure washing to construction cleaning and everything in between. Take the stress away from learning how to properly clean everything and ask for a consultation today.

Request a Call Back

If you’re exploring our website and have any questions about our services, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re here to assist you!

(877) 227-6374

Jack McCown

Coming soon. 

Jack McCown


Dwight has spent his entire career in the facility service and maintenance industry, holding various positions, including Integration, Human Resources, Accounting, Purchasing, and Information Technology. He prides himself on working alongside our partners and management teams on a daily basis.

Since 2015, Dwight has led the integration of over 25 transactions in the facility service space, including both platform and bolt-on opportunities.
Dwight’s responsibilities at The Facilities Group include business integration, operational due diligence, system synergies, project management, strategy execution, and day-to-day operational support and oversight.

He holds a Bachelor’s in Management from The University of Tampa’s John H. Sykes College of Business and is a Certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR). On the weekend, you may catch him on the golf course or at a local sporting event.



An experienced business leader with a successful track record of maximizing value to customers and internal stakeholders through driving innovation and growth within highly dynamic, technology-enabled mobile workforces.

Adam has held multiple positions over his 20+ year career with a focus on creating an engaged workforce, while supporting them with real-world solutions that are focused on an optimized process, technology, and conversion of data to information, with a blend of human and technical systems.

Some of Adam’s prior leadership positions include SVP US Operations at ABM and President of Unifi (formerly Delta Global Services), where Adam oversaw over 22,000 employees in nearly 200 airports performing multiple services including full ground handling, aircraft cleaning, security, cargo, facilities management and janitorial.

Adam received his Bachelor’s degree in Finance and his MBA from the University of Georgia.



Paul Gargagliano has over 20 years of experience in finance, public and private accounting, and has held several high-level financial positions within the janitorial and professional services industry. Paul’s experience also includes service in the United States Coast Guard for over 20 years where he retired as a Master Chief Boatswainsmate.

In addition, Paul also served in the Airborne Infantry of the United States Army. Paul has led teams at various levels and believes in the importance of culture and people for the success of all organizations.

Paul graduated summa cum laude from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. He is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in the States of California and Florida as well as a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA). Paul was the previous CFO of Diversified Maintenance and Hill-Ward Henderson.



An experienced leader and executive, Dave has spent over thirty years in the facility management & service industry. This includes ten years as a facility manager as well as twenty years as a building service contractor executive.

Across his career, Dave has spearheaded operations & sales in several market segments such as janitorial, high rise window cleaning, painting, waterproofing, and caulking. During his time with The Facilities Group, Dave has successfully completed fifteen acquisitions, leading operational integration & processes, sales strategies, philosophy and most importantly culture.

Dave holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Management from the University of South Florida, and earned his Real Property Administrator (RPA), and Facility Manager Administrator (FMA) from BOMA in 1998, 1999, and his Green Cleaning Certification from the Green Clean Institute in 2005.



As the CHRO & Senior Vice President of People –Strategy and Solutions, Vivian Smith leads People functions that support both our business objectives and growth to ensure the success of the organization. She has proven abilities in developing and leading human capital management programs and People operations that allow for effectively advancing human capital to its highest potential while generating a culture of engagement and inclusion.

Vivian spent the last 16 years in a Senior HR Leadership role with ABM before joining The Facilities Group. She provided overall strategic HR leadership at corporate and subsidiary companies. Directed, implemented, and ensured compliance while fostering a workplace environment consistent with company values. Oversaw the development and administration of compliance and reporting functions, mergers and acquisition transitioning, organizational structure changes, performance management, training and development, employee relations, diversity, and inclusion. She directly oversaw the Houston, TX ABM HR Share Services office and ran point on all items related to People during the GCA acquisition where she successfully onboarded over 37,000 employees. Over the course of her time at ABM, Vivian spearheaded HR functions for 5+ acquisitions across the country, all with employee counts north of 2,500.



Jeff Hawkins has spent the past 20 years as a Sales and Marketing leader in the janitorial and facilities maintenance industry. He has led successful teams from local support offices to multi-million dollar national sales organizations. Jeff is an experienced leader in Franchising and working with Corporate Owned offices throughout the United States with Jani-King for 10+ years.

Prior to joining The Facilities Group, Jeff lead the National Sales Team at City Wide Franchise Co. His leadership and drive secured national partnerships with some of the largest companies in the transportation industry increasing organic growth from $8 million to $74 million in less than 3 years. His experience in Hospitality, Automotive, Logistics, Medical and Education vertical markets provides our companies with the education, training and support for future growth.



Keaton is an Information Technology (IT) professional with 15 years of progressive experience. Prior to joining The Facilities Group, Keaton was a Sr. IT Consultant with Leidos, a fortune 500 company, for eight years where he successfully led multiple large-scale development, implementation, upgrade, optimization, and sustainability projects for his clients with budgets exceeding $100M+ and project teams of 100+ members. Earlier in his career Keaton worked at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and previously interned at industry leading companies Ernst & Young, State Farm and Publix.

Originally from Indiana, Keaton earned his bachelor’s in Management Information Systems from the Indiana State University Scott College of Business and his master’s degree in Management Information Systems from the Indiana University Kelley School of Business, which is ranked in the top 25 among US business schools.

Keaton holds various certifications including Project Management Professional (PMP) and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Foundation.



Scott Henley is the Chief Operating Officer for The Facilities Group National Division. Scott joined a TFG subsidiary, Excel Building Services, in 2012 as VP of Operations. Scott developed and built the ISP division at Excel, which now services over 2000 locations nationally.

Scott brings more than 25 years of experience in Facilities Management. Scott studied Business Management at Augusta College, where he played baseball, and Georgia State University. Scott has been involved with both PRISM and ISSA for over 20 years. Scott resides in Fayetteville, Georgia, with his wife Amy and their two children.


David Hammond

Since 2014, David Hammond has led as CEO of CSI International, Inc., Horizon Publishing, and Opulence International Realty, showcasing his versatile leadership across diverse industries. With a rich background that includes roles as COO, Executive VP, Sales Manager, and Director of IT, David possesses a deep understanding of various business sectors. His journey to CEO was preceded by six years as an elected officer, enriching his leadership portfolio. David’s diverse experience extends beyond the corporate world; he was a proud member of the 1987 America’s Cup team, Stars and Stripes, and dedicated six years to the US Navy Submarine service. Currently, David contributes his expertise to several boards, including the Boca Ballet Theater, South Florida Manufacturers Association, and Florida Gold Coast Swimming, reflecting his commitment to community and industry excellence.

David Hammond

Group Chief Operations Officer

Alfu Miah serves as Group Chief Operations Officer at The Facilities Group. He is responsible for enabling business scalability while driving increased value through account management,  customer retention, topline growth, and enhanced profitability.  

At University of North London, he studied engineering and started his career in the automotive industry, designing and manufacturing cars. Since then, he has applied his continuous improvement mindset to drive substantial revenue growth across a variety of global industries-leveraging ample experience in facilities management, commercial operations, solutions design, and business transformation. He brings to TFG decades of proven success in the design, implementation and execution of compelling business growth, strategy, and solutions for some of the most respected companies around the world.

Alfu Miah

Ready to learn more about bringing your business into the Facilities Group family? Fill out the form below and our team will reach out to you within 24-48 hours. 

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Fergus, CFO


O’Connell brings extensive facility service leadership experience to the role, having served on the Board of Directors at The Facilities Group since October 2022. Prior to joining TFG, he was the CFO of Kellermeyer Bergensons Services (KBS).
O’Connell also held multiple executive leadership positions including CFO and CEO of the North American division at ISS, one of the largest facilities management companies in the world. He also led the sale and integration of Pristine Environments following its sales to KBS, a national janitorial company.
O’Connell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in business studies from the University of Limerick, has been recognized by industry colleagues for sound financial leadership throughout his career. He specializes in implementing successful growth strategies, operational excellence, and effective change management.

Fergus O'Connell

Mark Borge

Mark Borge has been a driving force in the facility services industry as the Principal and Co-founder of Best Facility Services since August 2004. Under his leadership, the company has grown to become a recognized name in the field, providing top-notch services that consistently exceed client expectations. Mark’s extensive background, which spans from sales at Swifty Printing/Redstone Visual Impressions to Vice President of Minuteman Press Arlington, has equipped him with a profound understanding of business operations and customer service excellence. His venture into real estate investment in 2008 further showcases his adeptness in identifying and capitalizing on market opportunities, strengthening his portfolio and contributing to his comprehensive skill set in both business management and investment strategies.

Mark Borge’s active and prior involvement in esteemed organizations like Lifestyles Unlimited, The Entrepreneurs Organization, and the United States Green Building Council showcases his dedication to professional growth and community engagement. His diverse interests are backed by a solid education, holding a Bachelor’s in Business Administration – Finance from UTA. Mark has held leadership roles in various boards, emphasizing his commitment to organizational success.

Mark Borge

Scott Paul

Scott Paul is the past president of The Facilities Group Hawaii, LLC (formerly known as Kleenco Group), a commercial building maintenance and janitorial company founded in Hawaii in 1971.  Scott acquired Kleenco Group in 2012, and over the subsequent nine years more than doubled revenue and quadrupled earnings. In 2021, Scott sold Kleenco Group to The Facilities Group.  Scott led the integration of Kleenco Group with its sister company, Armstrong Building Maintenance (acquired by The Facilities Group in 2020), when the two companies merged to form The Facilities Group Hawaii with 600 employees.  Scott led the combined company through 2023 and continues as a partner and advisor to The Facilities Group. 

Prior to acquiring Kleenco Group, Scott was president & CEO of Hoku Corporation, a Nasdaq-listed solar company based in Hawaii and majority-owned by a Chinese state-owned enterprise.  Scott first joined Hoku in 2003 as its VP business development & general counsel.  In 2008, Scott was promoted to chief operating officer, and in April 2010 became chief executive officer and joined Hoku’s board of directors.  Scott resigned as Hoku’s CEO in June 2012 but continued to serve on its board of directors as chairman of the restructuring committee until July 2013. 

Before joining Hoku, Scott was a corporate attorney and business development professional in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1998 until July 2003.  Scott worked as director of business development and associate general counsel at Read-Rite Corporation, a publicly traded multi-national company acquired by Western Digital Corporation in 2003. Previously, Scott worked as an attorney at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison LLP, and Crosby, Heafey, Roach & May (now Reed Smith), law firms, where he represented high tech emerging growth and large-cap public companies, and their investors and underwriters, on financing and acquisition transactions. 

Scott earned his JD cum laude from Santa Clara Law School in 1998 and his BA in psychology from University of California, Los Angeles, in 1995.  He has served on the board of trustees of Temple Emanuel in Honolulu since 2016 and has been a volunteer faculty member at the Punahou School Academy since 2015 where he co-teaches a business course. 

Scott Paul

Scott Gibson

Coming soon. 

Scott Gibson


A proven leader and business owner, Bryson understands first-hand the hard work and determination required to build and run a successful enterprise. He started his first company at nineteen years old, cleaning medical offices and banks during the evening while attending college in the daytime. Since 2010, he has completed 47 transactions in the facility service & maintenance industry across the country.

In 2014 the Tampa Bay Business Journal awarded Bryson as one of Tampa Bay’s Up and Comers 30 Under 30. In 2018, he sold his companies and founded The Facilities Group. Fast-forward to today, he helps companies improve efficiency and achieve growth by acquiring, merging, selling, or restructuring.

His strong suits include operations, due-diligence, back-office oversight, and creating powerful business strategies custom tailored to each entity situation.

Bryson Raver