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We have Mail: What is clean?
Stephan Arts from Reflex Systems responds to last week's comment by Futureclean Assured Systems' Rafael Cobos. Rafael himself had written to us to argue that the science of cleaning is something that is often misunderstood and that proper training is needed if surfaces are to be cleaned and properly sanitised (read his comment here:
We would welcome further comment on either e-mail.
I read with interest the e-mail from Rafael Cobos, which was published in last week's Cleanzine.
I agree with Rafael's view, but please allow me to share two comments with your readers concerning his statement.
It is true that a proper clean followed by rinsing is more effective than one step cleaning, but only in cases where the surface is dried with a dry mop or cloth.
Even the rinse water will contain ATP or chemical if it is not removed from the surface, but unfortunately this three-stage cleaning process - if carried out manually - is no longer specified as it is expensive. Indeed it was largely abandoned in the sixties - although of course there are exceptions. If a machine is used, this process can be performed perfectly and for this reason as well as others, a machine should always be employed when possible.
The usage of Ultra Microfibre (not normal microfibre) is known for its efficiency in removing dirt as well as up to 99.9% of bacteria if used correctly. In combination with the right chemical and charging of the cloths, this is the best alternative to the three-stage cleaning process.
But as Rafael wrote, a lot depends on the circumstances and how dirty the surface actually is.
My second point concerns the argument that the floor needs to be visibly clean before starting disinfection. This word "visible" is, in our opinion, the root of all evil when it comes to cleaning.
As Rafael clearly has an academic approach to floor cleaning, we assume it should be seen more as slip of the pen.
For years we have preached that visibly clean is not clean (per definition). Human senses are misled in these modern times. Smell, sight and hearing have been devalued and our sensitivity to bacteria and viruses, fungus and spore elements has increased. The only reliable way to see if a surface is clean is to test it. There all kinds of quick tests nowadays that can be conducted quickly and reliably (e.g. ATP Kikkoman Lumitester, but also others).
An instant result is given on the cleanliness of the surface before any attempt is made to disinfect it.
Sure it is unrealistic to conduct testing everywhere that disinfection is needed. However, we have learned that testing helps us to understand the pattern of, say, a floor getting dirty and our knowledge of that pattern enables us to organise the cleaning in such a way that the guesswork is taken out of the process, allowing us to achieve a surface that is both clean and hygienic.
I hope my comments are well received as a contribution to improvements in disinfection.
5th April 2012