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What is the difference between cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants, and antimicrobials?

In this guidance, “pests” are bacteria, viruses, fungi, germs, or microbes. Cleaners do not kill pests, and cleaners cannot legally claim they will kill pests. Disinfectants are used on non-living objects to kill or inactivate pests. Sanitizers reduce, but don’t necessarily eliminate, pests from non-living objects to levels considered safe by public health codes or regulations. Both sanitizers and disinfectants are also called antimicrobials - and all three are pesticides. Find more information at