Monday, August 1, 2011

What is “Clean”?

We’ve talked a lot about green cleaning, emphasizing initiatives to reduce chemical, water and energy use. But what about the “clean” factor of green cleaning; what does that really mean? While there are a variety of standards and certifications that clearly define green cleaning, it is less clear what constitutes effective cleaning. There are no laws or regulations that establish required cleaning outcomes to guide those who own and maintain buildings. Sure, we can assess a “clean” area by its physical appeal, but does that really count? According to certain organizations, the answer is no.

Industry organizations, such as the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) and the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), are beginning to address the need to define “clean.” These two organizations have partnered together on a research project to produce a “scientific-based, pragmatic standard” for measuring surface cleanliness in K-12 educational facilities. While this is just one example of a “clean” standard, this is only the beginning for future standard development.

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