Difference Between Disinfection And Sterilization

These are types of sanitizing methods of killing or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Both disinfection and sterilization are used to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and any other microorganism that can cause illness or be harmful to health, the way to do it is completely different. While microbes are caused several diseases in animals and are responsible for food spoilage. Hence, it is important to inhibit their growth to minimize their harmful effects. This can be achieved by sterilization or disinfection. Disinfection and sterilization are different processes that are capable of achieving a very similar purpose. In this article, we are going to discuss the fundamental aspects of sterilization and disinfection.

What is Sterilization?

Sterilization is a common process that is carried out with the intention of eliminating the microbial load, pathogenic and nonpathogenic, and spores of different products used in the work of different laboratory apparatus as well as clinics. We commonly accepted that a sterilization procedure cannot be categorically defined. When the sterilization process is complete, the probability of a microorganism should be less than a million shares. If this threshold is reached we are talking about an assured level of sterility.

What are the 5 methods of sterilization?

The method to choose regarding the sterilization of the products can be depended on the material to be sterilized, the equipment, and the facilities available in the clinic. The materials are made from stainless steel and glass, any method mentioned above, heat, chemicals, or radiation can be used. Sterilization can be done through different methods. Some methods of sterilization are listed below:

  • Heat
  • Ethylene oxide gas,
  • Hydrogen peroxide gas,
  • U.V irradiation
  • Radiation (ionization).

When the process has maximum efficiency, it should be carried out on materials that have been sanitized and therefore are clean. Whereas, the processes defined for each type of method must be respected.

What is Disinfection?

The chemical or physical process in which several pathogens like bacteria or viruses that may be in the material are killed or deactivated, preventing their growth on objects is called disinfection. The harmful effects are also reduced to a level that does not affect health or food in this process. They are antibacterial agents that are also used to kill pathogenic microorganisms that survive on non-living objects. Additionally, the disinfectant is a chemical agent used for the process of disinfection. In laboratories, alcohol, especially in the hygiene of micropipettes, gloves, etc. are the most used methods of disinfection.

Read Also: Types of Disinfection

There are two major types of disinfection which are given below:

  • Broad-spectrum
  • Narrow spectrum

Characteristics of a Good Disinfectant

A good disinfection agent should have a number of characteristics:

  • High bactericidal power
  • Wide range of different organisms to fight
  • Stable
  • Ability to be water-soluble
  • Good cost-risk
  • Do not cause unwanted interactions

Factors that Affect The Efficiency of Disinfection

Also, this method can vary depending on many factors, each having the effect of marked the final result obtained:

  • Nature of the contaminant
  • Amount of contaminant
  • Amount of organic matter
  • The condition of the instruments
  • The instrument that is used
  • The Temperature of Disinfection

Check also for more differences between sterilization and disinfection in detail:

Difference Between Disinfection And Sterilization In Tabular Form



This is the method that is used to eliminate all types of microorganisms. The method that is used to minimize the number of microorganisms while does not eliminate them completely.
This technique is used to kill bacteria as well as vegetative spores. The technique does not eliminate bacterial spores.
Wounds are not sterilized. Wounds are disinfected
It completely rids microbes. It only reduces the effect of microbes.
Heat, irradiation, high pressure, chemical and physical methods are used for sterilization For disinfection, chemical methods are used.
Example: sterilization of instruments used during surgery by autoclaving. Example: pasteurization, disinfecting urinals, etc…





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