Do the Two-step with Cleaning

Surface disinfection is important to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. Germs can live on surfaces for extended periods of time, so it’s important to clean and disinfect regularly to reduce the risk of illness and disease. However, many people do not know how to disinfect surfaces correctly and therefore may not be getting the full benefits of surface disinfection.

In the cleaning industry, the process known as ‘two-step cleaning’ is the gold standard for disinfecting surfaces.

In this blog post, we will look at what the two-step cleaning process is and why it is so effective.

What is the two-step cleaning process?

The first step involves cleaning the surface with an EPA registered product that breaks down grease, grime, and dirt allowing for greater penetration when applying your selected disinfectant.

The second step, after the surface has dried (no longer slippery to touch), is applying a disinfectant to the surface.

Why is the process necessary?

The process sounds simple enough, but is it really effective, and is it necessary?

Yes, it is. Surface disinfection using this process is the most effective way to clean and sanitize an environment or surface. This is because it cleanses surfaces of dirt and organic material that can harbor germs, and also because it allows germicidal agents to work effectively.

To understand the necessity for a two-step cleaning process involving both cleaning and disinfecting, we first need to understand the difference between the two terms.

The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) provides the following definitions:

Cleaning – removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects.

Disinfecting – killing germs on surfaces or objects.


This two-step process is important because it allows the detergent or cleaner to remove any dirt, grease, or organic material from the surface. As stated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “germs can hide underneath these materials and are not affected by the disinfectant. Dirt and organic material can also reduce the germ-killing ability of some disinfectants”.


Points to remember

Surface disinfectant products are available in many forms, including wipes, sprays, and gels. There are a few things to keep in mind when disinfecting surfaces whichever products you choose.


  • Use surface disinfectants that have been registered with EPA.


  • Make sure to read the label of any product you use for cleaning and disinfection before starting the process – some disinfectants are not meant to be used on all surfaces.


  • Not all surface disinfectants are effective against viruses, which means you must use a surface cleaner with antiviral properties in addition to your chosen disinfectant if needed.


  • Follow product instructions carefully for dilution and contact time. Surface disinfectants should be allowed to remain wet on the surface for the contact time listed on the label in order to be effective.


  • Always rinse surfaces with clean water after disinfecting to remove any residual product. This is especially important if surfaces will come into contact with food.


  • Surface disinfectants should be applied to clean, dry surfaces only and not to wet or damp surfaces as this could cause damage to the surface and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant.


  • Ensure all manufacturers’ directions are followed and product labels are read prior to any surface disinfecting.


Surface disinfection is an important part of the cleaning process, but it’s crucial to do it the right way. By using a two-step disinfecting approach, you can be sure that your surfaces are properly clean and disinfected, protecting the health of yourself, your employees, and the general public.

For more information on surface disinfection and the right products for you and your organization, be sure to check out our website or contact us today.