By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada
As our world continues to face unprecedented challenges this year caused by COVID-19, there is a heightened focus on cleaner, safer spaces. We should expect this to remain a priority for the foreseeable future. This is good for us all!
Our cleaning teams can no longer clean in the same manner as they did before the pandemic. Within facilities, there is a movement toward quality based cleaning, away from price-based cleaning. This is long overdue! For too long, we’ve continued to strip costs and downplay the importance of health and wellness as related to cleaning. One factor built into quality-based cleaning is the measurement of cleanliness. But how do we ensure we achieve success and validate our work?
Just judging a surface by its look or smell is not safe or acceptable in today’s times. Our customers are more educated and aware and quite honestly, not willing to risk their health and wellness. The post-COVID world of facility management is going to see an increase in the demand for measurement and validation of clean. Will you be ready?
One traditional method of measuring cleanliness is through the use of ATP monitors. If you want a simple, cost effective solution to begin tracking your cleaning efforts, ATP monitors are a great place to start. These tools come in various shapes and sizes, but they all do essentially the same thing—measure the level of specific enzymes on a surface. Cleaning is the effective removal of unwanted matter from a surface. So, if a matter is left on a surface after you’ve “cleaned” it, you know you need to fine tune your protocol. ATP monitors are easily implemented into an SOP program. They provide accountability, give backup to the public, and can inform your facility’s infection control efforts.
A quick tip about reading your ATP results: The lower the number, the better.
Lower readouts on an ATP monitor, in about the zero to ten range, will indicate that a surface is clean. As the number gets higher, facilities will need to review protocol, cleaning frequency and areas of a higher risk as they may be a concern for potential outbreaks. If the number on the readout of an ATP monitor is over 30, you need to address this sooner rather than later, as you may have an issue.
Different manufacturers have different size and shaped monitors, with readout systems that vary slightly. However, for most ATP monitors the bottom line is that you want the lowest number possible to indicate that you have as close to zero enzymes on your surface as possible.
New innovations in the field of validation and measurement are making it even easier for end users and facility managers to do their jobs safety and effectively. For example, Optisolve makes technology that provides precise digital imaging through smart tablets, allowing you to see exactly where contaminants are present on a surface. This takes the guesswork out of measurement. With a standard ATP monitor, you might have to guess at why your readout number is high. But with the addition of Optisolve technology, you can see exactly where and even why you have contaminants on a surface.
As your facility prepares to move beyond a year of shut downs, lock downs and the hygiene theater, it is time to invest in the tools that will actually help you create a safe and healthy space. While you may have tailored your infection prevention protocol to the most efficient, most effective it’s ever been, you will still face pressure from building owners, building occupants and the community. Being able to measure and validate your hard work will be a key component in keeping everyone calm, informed and safe. Now is the time to find the right measurement and validation tool for your program and incorporate it into your SOP.