Understanding the Difference Between Sterile and Clean

Just because you wipe something down and clean it, doesn’t mean it it is sterile. There are significant differences between being clean and sterile, and if you don’t understand these differences, it could cause the spread of infection, illness, or even cause death. An object that's clean has no noticeable dirt, while a sterilized object is completely free of all microorganisms. Click To Tweet

Clean vs. Sterile: What’s the Difference?

It is important to know the difference between clean and sterile, especially if you are in the health, food, or pharmaceutical industry. Here is some great information to help you learn the difference between cleaning something and sterilizing it, and why it is so important.

What Is Clean?

According to the dictionary, clean means “free from dirt, marks, or stains. Techniques to clean something involves reducing the number of microorganisms and their transmission from one place to another. Getting something clean usually involves meticulous hand washing, wearing non-sterile gloves, and maintaining a clean environment where no sterile rules apply. Clean techniques are suitable for some long-term care facilities, and other clinical settings where patients are not at high risk of infection.

What Is Sterile?

While clean means free from marks and stains, sterile goes even further and is free from bacteria or microorganisms. Sterility is the absence of viable life that has the potential to reproduce and spread dangerous and disease-causing germs and bacteria. Sterile environments include in acute hospital care settings, surgery centers, pharmaceuticals, and around patients at a high risk of infection. Sterile environments use antiseptic cleaners, are those working in the industry are typically wearing gowns, gloves, masks and are covered from head to toe.

The Difference Between Clean and Sterile

The first step in creating a germ-free, sterile environment is microbial testing, as well as bioburden testing services. Microbial and bioburden testing can determine the sterility of the environment, water, at hospitals, doctor offices, labs and other healthcare facilities, which are prime places for disease-causing bacteria to grow and thrive.

To learn more about the difference between clean and sterile, Contact Us.

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