Symposium Explores School Cleaning
HAMILTON, OH -- John Richter, an engineer and researcher with Kaivac, Inc., will be a presenter at the upcoming Cleaning Industry Research Institute’s (CIRI) Symposium, which is scheduled for June 9-12 at the University of Maryland.

Richter’s presentation will focus on a series of tests that were conducted comparing different cleaning methods in an educational setting.

The goal of the tests was to see how effective each method was in hygienically cleaning surfaces, such as desktops, floors, high-touch areas, computer keyboards, and computer mice in a school classroom.

Previous studies by Dr. Charles Gerba of Arizona University, Helena Rintala, a Finnish microbiologist, and others have found a direct correlation between improper, ineffective, or lack of cleaning with student absenteeism.

“In fact, Gerba found that students are absent, on average 2.32 times more and absent longer when cleaning of these areas is not performed hygienically,” says Richter.

Tests Conducted
One test, which was a controlled experiment, compared the cleaning effectiveness of traditional spray and microfiber cleaning cloth systems with trowel and squeegee (flat surface cleaning) systems.

Cleaning effectiveness was measured by aerobic bacteria assays as well as by using an ATP (adenosine triphosphate) hygiene monitoring system. ATP is an energy molecule found in all living things. Its presence on a surface or object is often used as a “red flag” to indicate that contaminants are present.

Other tests involved:
• A comparison of spray/microfiber cloth cleaning with the trowel and squeegee cleaning system on 24 desktops in an elementary school.
• Before and after bacteria counts on computer mice after cleaning with conventional spray/microfiber cloths and disposable wipes.
• Comparing traditional dust mop floor cleaning systems with dry vacuuming. Cleaning effectiveness was measured by the amount of soil removal in grams per square feet.

“The studies concluded that there are concerns with the traditional cleaning methods tested as to how effective they are at removing contaminants,” says Richter. “However, we did find the trowel and squeegee system, disposable wipes, and dry vacuuming [of floors] to leave areas hygienically clean based on bacteria/ATP counts.”

Other Presenters
Other presenters at the conference will include:
• Dr. Stephanie Dancer, a microbiologist from Scotland;
• Rhonda Jones, Scientific and Regulatory Consultant, Columbia City, IN;
• Dr. Charles Gerba, University of Arizona;
• Greg Parrott, Regional Director, Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, Provo, UT;
• Mary Swanson, Senior Environmental Scientist, Green Seal, Washington;
• Dr. Roger Lewis, Department of Community Health, St. Louis University School of Public Health, St. Louis, MO.

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