For the last few years, green cleaning has been the major — and to some, the only — trend in the cleaning industry. But, science-based cleaning programs seemed poised to make an impact in 2009. Scientific research has been brewing in the cleaning industry for a number of years, but a few recent announcements have really brought it to the forefront.

This past October, the Integrated Cleaning and Measurement (ICM) system debuted, which defines clean by scientific measurements. Last month the Cleaning Industry Research Institute and ISSA embarked on field-testing a science-based “Clean Standard” for K-12 schools. ISSA even plans to have a Science Center at the next North American ISSA/INTERCLEAN®.

What would science-based cleaning do for the industry? Beth Risinger, CEO of the International Executive Housekeepers Association, (who sponsored the ICM symposium) says that correlating “measurable contaminant levels with measurable health outcomes and measurable fiscal impacts will help demonstrate the importance of cleaning.”

Risinger is right. Proving health benefits associated with cleaning won’t go unnoticed by facility managers. According to a survey conducted by Sanitary Maintenance’s sister publication, Contracting Profits, 56 percent of facility managers rank a healthy and sanitary building as their primary reason for choosing a building service contractor, beating out appearance and price.

So, the market seems ready to accept measurable cleaning standards and many manufacturers have begun producing products with a science focus, as well as promote the use of ATP hygiene monitoring systems. If cleaning science is going to take off, distributors should be ready to educate and work with their customers to incorporate these science-based products into their cleaning programs.