What is Difference Between Disinfection And Sterilization?

Disinfection and sterilization are two processes that are used to eliminate microorganisms that can cause diseases and damage to people’s health. However, both processes are different and should not be confused.

Just in case you have doubts about it, then we tell you what is the difference between sterilization and disinfection.Difference Between Disinfection And Sterilization


Sterilization guarantees the elimination of any pathogen on a given surface. An element is said to be sterile when it is “completely free” of microorganisms. It is important to understand that you cannot determine in an absolute way that the sterilization of something is complete, but you can reduce both the probability that something is contaminated to the point of saying that it is “sterilized.”

This process is maintained in specific environments where there is generally a high pressure or a constant high temperature.

There are many ways to carry out sterilization, one of the best known to us is pasteurization. Although there is also radiation, boiling; among others.

Sterilization is especially important in hospitals, food industries, water bottling companies and in medical devices


Disinfection is used in contexts where sterilization is not possible. The surfaces of certain fragile items and our homes are disinfected by us, but not sterilized.

Disinfection is a process that seeks to destroy microorganisms, especially, disinfectant products focus on the elimination of those that can cause us diseases.

It can also be disinfected to inactivate or slow the growth of microorganisms, not specifically to kill them. In terms of results, those achieved with disinfection are less radical than those achieved with the sterilization process.

Some of the disinfectants best known to all are ozone, alcohol, chlorine, hydrogen peroxide and iodine.

 disinfection and sterilization in points

  • Sterilization is aimed at destroying almost all microbial life, while disinfection refers to the process by which part of microbial life is destroyed or the harmful effects of it on humans are inhibited.
  • Examples in which disinfection is applied: when we wash the dishes when we clean the toilet.
  • Examples in which sterilization is applied: in surgical instruments, in pasteurized milk.
  • Disinfectants do not kill spores, but with sterilization, they can be removed.
  • The level of cleanliness achieved with disinfection can be described as “adequate,” while the degree of cleanliness achieved with sterilization can be said to be “extreme.”
  • Sterilization takes longer than disinfection.

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