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Cleanliness in the home: hygiene yes, disinfection no!

18/2002, 30.07.2002

New BgVV pamphlet contains tips for consumers on food hygiene, cleaning and disinfection

"Not just clean but spotless!" Everyone is familiar with this overly used advertising slogan and appeal to the conscience of the German housewife. Kitchen and bathroom, clothing and even foods have to be "absolutely clean" if she is not to willingly jeopardise the health of her loved-ones. This is at least what is suggested. By contrast, BgVV is of the opinion that "Clean enough" means that cleaning products belong in the home but disinfectants do not. This is the message in its new pamphlet.

Whereas cleaning aims to remove "dirt" and reduce the number of microorganisms, the goal of disinfection is to eradicate pathogens and prevent the spread of germs. Disinfection not only impacts on pathogenic germs but also on the safe germs which people need to boost their immune system.

The situation is different in the medical or commercial sectors and in the industrial production of foods. They normally have specific instructions for cleaning and disinfection in order to prevent contamination with and the spread of germs.

The leaflet "Tips for consumers on food hygiene, cleaning and disinfection" (in German) is available free of charge. It can be obtained from the BgVV Press and Public Relations Office or accessed on "Publikationen/Merkblätter für Verbraucher" on the Institute's homepage (


Publications - Merkblätter für Verbraucher

Date Title Size
Merkblatt für Verbraucher
Verbrauchertipps zu Lebensmittelhygiene, Reinigung und Desinfektion 170.1 KB


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