Malaysia. April 1 2018. An ATP meter with reading of the dirty white chopping board. it is use to test for the presence of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to verify cleaning effectiveness.

Contributed by Kaivac

In a post-COVID world, hygienic cleaning is here to stay. It removes the maximum amount of potentially contaminated soils and bio-pollutants from a surface, but also goes one step further.

“With hygienic cleaning, we not only remove pathogens, we prove it,” says Matt Morrison with Kaivac. “The most scientific way to ‘prove it’ is by the proper use of ATP (adenosine triphosphate) rapid monitoring systems.”

Morrison emphasizes the word “proper” because he believes many cleaning professionals are not using these monitors correctly, most likely because they do not fully understand ATP technology. To rectify this, he suggests some key points about ATP that are worth considering:

1. ATP is found in all living cells, those that are harmless, as well as those that can be health-risking.

2. ATP monitors measure the concentration of ATP as relative light units. The more light units, the greater the ATP, and the greater potential pathogens are on the surface.

3. An ATP meter typically determines test results in about 15 seconds.

4. “Do not perform just one test on one surface,” adds Morrison. “Test at least five areas on a surface, then divide the results by five. This will give you the ‘average’ ATP [reading] on that surface.”

5. Be aware that chemical residue on a surface can impact the results of an ATP test.

6. When conducting tests, sunlight can also distort results.

7. Ambient temperature of 70 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit is optimal for best results.

8. With some systems, an ATP reading of zero to 10 is pass, meaning the surface is clean and safe; 11 to 30 is caution, the surface should be re-cleaned; and 31 or above is fail, the surface is likely contaminated.

In a post-COVID world, we should eliminate the caution zone.

“At least for now, cleaning professionals should not consider any surface clean and healthy unless it gets a pass score," says Morrison. "This may even become the norm from now on.”