Ask the Expert: Maintenance

Why should we invest in cleaning?

In an ISSA survey, The Value of Clean, facility managers say safety is the top-rated concern among FMs in educational settings. By improving cleaning practices in schools and establishing a standard to measure cleanliness, student and staff health is protected, academic performance improves and schools improve their bottom line.

Lost work time due to illness costs businesses $225.8 billion per year. By improving cleaning practices and establishing a standard to measure cleanliness, facilities can reduce the probability of catching the common cold or flu by 80 percent and reduce absenteeism by 46 percent, according industry research.

Cleaning is an investment in human health, the environment and an improved bottom line. Implementing cleaning practices can elevate the level of cleanliness in buildings without increasing annual cleaning costs of the existing cleaning contractor or in-house staff.

ISSA has developed the Clean Standard that relies upon Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) testing systems that scientifically measure the effectiveness of a cleaning process. ATP testers not only measure the effectiveness of a cleaning process, but also identify ways to improve cleaning.

ISSA and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute collaborated on a three-year research project using ATP testers to develop a uniform, scientific measure of clean from a public health perspective so that when a facility is labeled “clean” it means that it is healthy and sanitary for the occupants’ welfare.

The research indicated that standardized measurement of cleaning effectiveness could be used as a practical approach to improve the cleaning practices and contribute to a healthier environment. To learn more about ISSA and The Value of Clean, go to

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of College Planning & Management.

About the Author

Bill Balek is the director of legislative and environmental services at ISSA. He can be reached at or 800/225-4772.

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