Get serious about cleaning for health with this powerful technology.

Organic matter is material of plant and animal origin, including bacteria and fungi. ISSA, the Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association, uses ATP measurement as the initial benchmarking tool in its Clean Standard: K – 12 Schools, which is meant to provide a quantitative way to measure “clean.”

 It’s important to recognize that ATP meters do not specifically measure germs. But the soil on a surface is what potentially feeds and grows germs. ATP meters can help technicians measure whether they are effectively removing the stuff that germs live on. Here are some steps cleaning companies can take to utilize ATP meters effectively. 
Buy a Device and Swabs
You can get ATP meters from several companies.  The meters can now be purchased for less than $1,200. Swabs cost about $2 or $3 each.

Swab consistently
Left to chance, no two people will swab alike. This means results can’t be accurately compared. A better way is to create duplicable systems. To do this, it is important to read the manufacturer’s instructions for the meter and swabs you choose. Create a template based on the manufacturer’s recommendations for a “swab zone” and lay it on flat surfaces to be tested. For irregular surfaces, like doorknobs, develop a standard way of swabbing and make sure every technician follows this process. If you do this, your measurements will provide useful data.

Use the same device type 
Different ATP meters have different levels of sensitivity. As long as you consistently use one ATP device, this won’t matter. It’s the comparison of before and after that’s more important. Loyalty to one measurement scheme and device is critical to getting useful results.
Take lots of readings
Since cleaning results are only as good as the procedures created to accomplish them, develop a standardize list of surface points to check with your ATP meter. Gather enough before and after samples to make the results meaningful. Input them in an Excel sheet or use the ATP device’s software to track readings.

Track and improve outcomes
There is something satisfying about seeing numerical improvements in cleaning. Use the data gathered through ATP measurement to track and show progress in your cleaning processes. This will result in a more knowledgeable and accountable cleaning team.

Market your gains
Share your ATP measurement data with your customers. It can be a powerful differentiator for your business. Explain to your clients how using these high-tech devices not only allows your company to “remove it” but to “prove it” as well.  When you’re cleaning with ATP meters, customers will know that you’re serious about cleaning for health.


On a recent episode of Travel Channel’s show “Hotel Impossible,” host Anthony Melchiorri demonstrated the effectiveness of an ATP meter (erroneously called a “germ detector”). He tested a telephone handset in a hotel room. The reading revealed a shocking number of bacteria. When presented with the  results, the hotel revised its cleaning procedures and was able to provide a cleaner and healthier environment for its customers.


Ruben Rives is Chief Executive Officer of Miami, Florida-based H2Only Renewable Cleaning, Inc. Click here for more info.