Once a surface is clean, all dirt and debris removed from the surface, then is the time to decide whether a sanitizer or disinfectant will be needed. Used as directed by the manufacturer, both sanitizers and disinfectant dramatically reduce the number of pathogens on a surface. Sanitizers reduce microorganisms (germs and bacteria) on a surface to a level deemed safe by public health standards. This means that, normally, a sanitizer will reduce microorganisms on a pre-cleaned surface by 99.9% within 30 seconds. By contrast, a disinfectant is designed to kill microorganisms. Thus, the EPA requires a disinfectant to eliminate 99.999% of microorganisms in 5-10 minutes.