Difference between Disinfection and Sterilization

Key Difference: Disinfection refers to the process that kills most of the disease producing microorganisms. On the other hand, sterilization refers to the process that is used to render a product free from any viable microorganisms.

Disinfection and sterilization are both processes that are used to eliminate the microorganisms that can cause diseases. However, disinfection should only be used in a scenario where sterilization is not possible as sterilization guarantees removal of pathogens. Surface of fragile items like impressions are generally disinfected rather than sterilized.

Disinfection is the process that destroys the microorganisms, especially the ones that cause disease. However, it eliminates only a defined scope of microorganisms. The process of Disinfection is also used for the inhibition of microorganisms's growth. However, inhibiting the growth of microbes is less absolute. An item is known to be a sterile when it is completely free from the measurable levels of microorganisms. Sterilization is generally achieved by maintaining a high-pressure environment and/or high temperatures over a very long time.

Some of the differences are listed below:-

 

Disinfection

         Sterilization

Definition

It refers to the process that deactivates the disease producing microorganisms.

It is a process that destroys all microbial life including highly resistant bacterial endospores.

Applied to medical devices

ECG machines

Oximeters

Bedpans, urinals

Surgical instruments

Biopsy instruments

Foot care equipment

Cytoscopes

Disinfectants/ Sterilants

Heat Disinfectant: Moist heat

 

Liquid Disinfectants: Glutaraldehyde, hydrogen peroxide, chlorine dioxide, chlorine compounds, paracetic acid

 

Intermediate level disinfectants include phenolic and iodophor compounds and low level disinfectants include quaternary ammonium compounds.

Physical Sterilants: Steam under pressure, dry heat

filteration, Ultraviolet radiation, ionizing radiation

 

Gas Vapor Sterilants: Ethylene oxide, formadehyde vapor, hydrogen peroxide vapor, plasma gas, chlorine dioxide gas

 

Chemical Sterliants: Peracetic acid, Glutaraldehyde

 

Bacterial spores

Cannot be removed.

Can be removed or killed.

Methods

May use physical or chemical methods.

Combination of heat, chemicals, irradiation, high pressure and filtration.

Level of cleanliness

Adequate

Extreme

Processing Time

Depends upon the process:

For example, heat sensitive semi critical patient care items can be pasteurized for about 50 minutes.

Depends upon the process:

For example, heat tolerant critical instruments can be sterilized by steaming (about 40 minutes) and dry heat (about 1 to 6 hrs); depending upon the temperatures.

New Methods

Ortho-phthalaldehyde (Cidex OPA)

Antimicrobial coating (Surfacine)

Superoxidized water (Sterilox)

Liquid sterilization process (Endoclens)

Rapid readout ethylene oxide biological indicator (Attest)

Methods

 Physical methods

 Boiling and pasteurization

 Ultraviolet radiation

 Chemical agents

 Alcohols

 Aldehydes

 Halogens

 Phenols

 Surfactants

 Heavy metals

 Dyes

 Oxidants

Physical methods

Moist heat in autoclaves

Dry-heat in ovens

Gamma irradiation

Filtration

Plasma sterilization

Chemical agents

Ethylene oxide

Glutaraldehye (high concentration)

Image Courtesy: nailsmag.com, aspjj.com

Most Searched in Health Most Searched Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Most Searched in Cars and Transportation Most Searched in Environment
Different Types of Coal
Tea Party vs Republican
Ceramic vs Tourmaline Hair Dryer
Discovery vs Invention

Comments

i like it

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.