What is the difference between a cleaner, sanitizer and disinfectant?

It is constantly surprising how many cleaning professionals and custodians don’t know the difference between a cleaner, sanitizer and disinfectant. All of them are used in our day to day duties, but how does their performance differ? 


Cleaners do as they are named, they remove dust, soils and odors from surfaces. They are the products used to achieve the “look” of clean. However, that is all they do. While cleaners improve the appearance of a facility, they do not kill bacteria or viruses. Using a cleaner is a important step in the cleaning process, but it is not enough to stop disease spread. Cleaners should be used on surfaces were the likelihood of cross contamination is low.


“A sanitizer reduces (but doesn’t necessarily kill) bacteria, viruses and fungi on a surface to a level considered safe by public health codes (Cleanlink).” To be labeled a sanitizer, the chemical must reduce microorganisms by 99.9% within 30 seconds. Sanitizers are not as strong as disinfectants which is why they are more commonly used in childcare facilities and health service areas.


Disinfectants are most often used in healthcare environments where stopping the spread of Healthcare Acquired Infections is vital. As organisms like MRSA and C. Diff are developing resistance, having a fast and effective disinfectant is vital. A disinfectant, like our Perisept Sporicidal Disinfectant, kills nearly 100% of the disease causing bacteria, viruses and fungi. Perisept, in particular, kills C. Diff within two minutes. However, the key to using a disinfectant properly is that you closely follow the dwell time, or the amount of time the surface has to stay wet in order to kill everything.

Now that you know the difference, are you using cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants properly? See our inventory of surface cleaners here! Still not sure which product you should use for a job? Call us today at 630.896.6373 and speak to a sales professional!

Industry Report: Operating Room Hand Hygiene

Operating Room

Operating Rooms are extremely fast paced environments. They are some of the most important rooms to clean and disinfect thoroughly, but due to scheduling, they are mostly likely the fastest to be cleaned as well. If you are in the healthcare industry, you probably hear daily about the major threat Healthcare Acquired Infections poses on the industry. Hand Hygiene is another major threat to the spread of Healthcare Acquired Infections as hand washing protocols remain unfollowed in medical settings.

This April, Infection Control Today released a special report on OR Hand Hygiene. The report focuses on studies executed by L. Silvia Munoz-Price MD and her colleagues, of the Department of Medicine in the Miller School of Medicine at the University of Miami, monitoring the hand hygiene and disinfection that takes place in operating theaters. The results were not good. The report shows how “Evidence exists that ORs may remain contaminated after standard disinfection practices. Approximately 50% of surfaces are not adequately disinfected during between case or terminal cleaning and can harbor pathogenic organisms”

Improper hand hygiene or ineffective OR disinfection are major causes of nasocomial infections. These infections not only cost the hospital significant amounts of money yearly, but also delay wound healing, prolong hospitalization and increase morbidity. Luckily this report found that pathogen numbers decreased following educational interventions. An educated staff is the first step in the fight against Healthcare Acquired Infections.

Get the Full Report here.

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Zika Virus: What are the implications for the healthcare environment?


The Zika Virus is not a new virus, but as you have seen in recent news, it is becoming more prevalent.  Symptoms of the virus are similar to flu, yellow fever, rubella, measles and malaria, but 4 out of 5 people who contract are symptom free.

There are 5 known routes of transmission: 

  • #1 – Vector borne through infected mosquitos
  • Mother to fetus transmission – causes microcephaly in babies
  • Sexual intercourse  male to female – have not yet seen the reverse – virus stays present in semen longer than it does in blood 
  • blood transfusion
  • potentially saliva/urine

Recommended steps for virus mitigation:  

  • keep windows closed and air conditioning running 
  • wear long sleeve shirts and pants 
  • use EPA registered repellent with DEET
  • treat clothing and gear with permethrin
  • consult healthcare advisers when traveling

There is no vaccine or cure at the this time. A vaccine should be developed within 2-3 years. Current treatment consists of supportive care.  We do not know the incubation period, however it is thought to be around two weeks. CDC believes that once you have the virus, you are immune. 

Continue to disinfect surfaces regularly and maintain proper hand hygiene.

HyTouch Smart Door Hand Hygiene System Awarded Innovative Technology Designation


We are pleased to share that Triple S has been awarded the Innovative Technology Designation for the HyTouch Smart Hand Hygiene Delivery System from Vizient, the leading healthcare services company that serves more than 100,000 members and affiliates of VHA Inc., UHC, Children’s Hospital Association and Provista. 

 The designation was based on reviews of SSS HyTouch™ Smart Hand Hygiene Delivery System, a unique workflow hand sanitizing delivery system that delivers hand sanitizer by way of a door handle. The award is based on feedback provided by hospital experts who attended Vizient’s Innovative Technology Expo in November. The annual event provides medical technology suppliers the opportunity to demonstrate their product and gain direct feedback from onsite clinical experts and healthcare providers on the impact their products may have on improving clinical care, safety, or benefits to organization’s care and business models.

“More than 80% of illnesses are transmitted by hands. Using this innovative technology we look to incorporate hand sanitizing into the natural workflow of staff, patients and visitors to drive hand hygiene adherence”, stated Ray Ranger, Triple S Director of Healthcare Markets. SSS HyTouch™ Smart Hand Hygiene Delivery System is an innovative smart door handle equipped with built-in sensors that collects data on usage. The handle is linked to the SSS HyStat™ Online Monitoring System that allows administrators to see how often the dispensers are being activated in relation to how frequently the doors are opened. 

HyTouch Smart Hand Hygiene Delivery System is yet another step forward in the fight against Healthcare Acquired Infections! For more information on HyTouch Smart Hand Hygiene Delivery System, please call 630.896.6373!

Disposable Microfiber cloths: The Better Option for HAI Prevention

While the rates of Healthcare Acquired Infections continue to loom, there have also continued to be dramatic advancements in technologies and products that help fight HAI’s by eliminating harmful bacteria from patient areas and other hard surfaces.  One of these such technologies is the microfiber cloth. Microfibers have emerged as one of the most important developments for environmental services and the prevention of HAI’s. As microfiber technology advances, we are learning more and more about better solutions and options currently available to us. For instance, we love microfiber cloths and their many purposes, but now we are finding that the best option in microfibers for infection and bacteria reduction is really disposable microfiber cloths.


Recent studies are finding that reusable microfiber cloths, while great at picking up dirt, are harder at releasing the dirt and contamination during laundering. This contamination that is not released can be harmful in a couple of ways:

  • Unreleased contamination can spread infectious materials from one location to another
  • Contamination left in microfibers will deactivate disinfectants by consuming the active ingredients – if you continue to use reusable microfibers, it is very important to check the disinfectant frequently to make sure that it is still working.

In addition to the threat of cross-contamination and deactivated disinfectants, reusable microfibers also have to be laundered after every use driving up water and laundering costs.

Disposable microfibers offer a great alternative and a solution to many of the problems found in reusable microfibers. They are convenient and save money when you consider all of the costs associated with reusable microfibers. There is no risk of pathogen transmission due to improper laundering methods because disposable microfiber towels are designed to be used once and discarded when dirty. Thus by using disposable microfibers you save money, increase efficiency, improve disinfection and reduce the risk of HAI’s.

Cost of HAI Treatment vs. Cost of Prevention

One of the healthcare industries biggest concerns and biggest costs is the treatment of healthcare acquired infections (HAI’s). HAI’s impose a significant economic consequence to healthcare systems as the cost of treating these diseases has reached heights of $9.8 billion annually with surgical site infections contributing to the highest percentage of cost (JAMA Internal Medicine).  

Only 1/3 of hospitals in the United States are in full compliance with key guidelines for HAI prevention and only 40% follow proper hand hygiene protocol. Because of this, one in 20 hospitalized patients will develop an HAI (US Center for Disease Control and Prevention). 70% of these infections are preventable through proper disinfection and cleaning measures which could result in major savings. A better evaluation of the cost of treating these infections vs. the cost of preventing the infections is needed to help facilities justify in the cost of prevention. The cost to prevent is significantly lower than the cost to treat.

Maintaining a diligent infection control practice is vital to the prevention of HAI’s in patients, workers and visitors alike. A small breach in protocol could ignite a HAI spread which is why implementation procedures are followed to a T. With the increase of multidrug-resistant organisms, environmental cleaning and disinfection has become even more important. Until recently, sporicidal disinfectants combated these organisms, but caused damaging corrosion, left an unsightly residue and cost a tremendous amount of money in replacement expenses. 


Perisept, a technologically advanced, EPA registered, sporicidal disinfectant is effective in the fight against C. Diff and many other HAI’s in only 2 minutes. This product is changing how Infection Prevention and Environmental Services view high-level disinfectants because it is developed with the end user in mind. Perisept is cost effective by streamlining cleaning and disinfecting procedures and eliminating redundant re-cleaning due to residue and streaking. 

Read more about Perisept here.

Infection prevention can be achieved through a clear and concise protocol, on-going training programs and on-going monitoring. Pike Systems has the tools and products to help you address these issues. We can partner with you to create a healthier, greener healthcare facility.