Cleaning and Sanitizing

DuPage County Health Department
Environmental Health Services


Cleaning gets rid of the dirt you can see. You need to clean before disinfecting or sanitizing if the surface is visibly soiled. A good cleaning program begins by washing your hands. A good hand washing and cleaning solution is soap and water.


Disinfection removes the majority of germs from a surface but requires a strong concentration of chemicals that can leave a harmful residue on the surface. For this reason, disinfectant products should not be used on surfaces and equipment that will come into direct contact with skin, mouth or eyes. Disinfection should be done on hard non-absorbent surfaces such as bathroom fixtures, floors & walls. It should also be done when a surface has been contaminated with body fluids such as feces, blood or vomit. Many disinfectant products require a rinse step after use.

Proper Use & Concentration

Surface Chlorine/Bleach (Unscented Bleach only) Quaternary Ammonia (Quat) Other Products


Food/Skin Contact

(Tables, dishes, diapering station without liner)
50-200 ppm* 200 ppm* (Or as stated on label)

Must be labeled approved for sanitizing. Follow Label Instructions


Non-Food/Skin Contact

(Hard, non- porous surfaces i.e. Bathrooms, walls, floors)

400-800 ppm*

Can also be used to disinfect after bodily fluid clean-up

As stated on label Follow Label Instructions

*Parts per million; Use a chemical test kit to determine the appropriate chemical concentration.

Things to Remember:

  • Bleach water solutions in spray bottles should be changed daily.
  • Sanitizer is ineffective when mixed with soapy water.
  • Too little sanitizer will not be effective.Too much sanitizer is toxic and a skin irritant.
  • Mix approximately ½ teaspoon of bleach with two cups of water to fill an average spray bottle.
  • Cleaning Toys is Important (PDF)