Difference Between Disinfection and Sterilization

Disinfection and sterilization are the two common methods of killing or inhibiting the growth of microorganisms. Microbes can cause a number of diseases in humans and animals. Disinfection and sterilization are essential for ensuring that medical and surgical instruments do not transmit infectious pathogens to patients. However, both these processes are based on different principles.

Sterilization describes a process that destroys or eliminates all forms of microbial life and is carried out in health-care facilities by physical or chemical methods. Combination of heat, irradiation,  high pressure, chemical, and physical methods are used for sterilization. High temperatures, steam, radiation, filtration are some of the sterilization techniques.

Disinfection describes a process that eliminates many or all pathogenic microorganisms, except bacterial spores, on inanimate objects. In health-care settings, objects usually are disinfected by liquid chemicals or wet pasteurization. Many disinfectants are used alone or in combinations (e.g., hydrogen peroxide and peracetic acid) in the health-care setting. These include alcohols, chlorine and chlorine compounds, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, ortho-phthalaldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, iodophors, peracetic acid, phenolics, and quaternary ammonium compounds.

Disinfection is used mostly to decontaminate surfaces and air. Sterilization is used for food, medicine and surgical instruments.

Content source:

Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008

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All in one Helix PCD (RRS 14-11280)

Steam Chemical Indicator class 5 (RRS 14-11540)

Steam Chemical Indicator class 6 (RRS 14-11610)

All in one Helix PCD (RRS 14-11280)