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ATP Surface Testing and COVID-19
Cleaning Verification Services

As the COVID-19 public health crisis continues to develop, many organizations across the U.S. are beginning the process of reopening their facilities. In fact, some have already re-opened to the public as of early May.

To minimize the further spread of COVID-19, most organizations are taking steps to regularly and thoroughly clean their facilities, a process that includes disinfecting floors, furniture, door handles, bathrooms, appliances, counters, desks, and other surfaces in common areas. Some organizations will utilize in-house janitorial staff while others will opt to hire outside cleaning services.

But how do you know if your cleaning crew is doing a good job?

Unfortunately, just because a facility was cleaned, does not mean it was thoroughly disinfected. Even with the right disinfectants, equipment, and protocols, it’s very easy for cleaning crews to make mistakes.

If you are concerned that your facility is not being cleaned well enough to prevent the spread of disease (or you just want the peace of mind that comes with good oversight), Higgins and Associates can provide:

  1. COVID-19 cleaning protocol consulting

  2. Cleaning verification via ATP testing and coronavirus screening

  3. Disinfection monitoring and oversight

It all starts with your cleaning protocol


Before your in-house cleaning crew or contractor can effectively minimize the spread of disease, they need an effective disinfection protocol. Higgins offers both on-site and remote EHS consulting to optimize the effectiveness of your cleaning and disinfection procedures. These include:


  • Assessing your current cleaning and disinfection procedures according to CDC and OSHA guidelines

  • Validating your crew’s cleaning agents according to current lists of approved products

  • Mapping out likely exposure routes and transmission pathways in your facilities

  • Delivering on-site or remote training, if needed

Even with outstanding protocols, human error is always a factor. Some cleaning crews are simply better at adhering to protocols than others. So how do you know if your crew is doing their job well?

Get reliable insight with ATP surface testing

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One of the most effective methods to determine if surfaces have been adequately cleaned is with ATP surface testing. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an energy-carrying molecule found in organic cells. The cells that make up all living organisms contain adenosine triphosphate. Human saliva and other bodily fluids also contain ATP.

When ATP is exposed to a specific type of enzyme, a bioluminescent reaction takes place and emits a very small amount of light. Although this light can’t be seen by the naked eye, it can be detected by a luminometer. The amount of light produced by this reaction is directly proportional to the amount of ATP present in the sample.

To determine if a specific surface is clean, an industrial hygiene technician carefully collects a sample using a sterile swab. The tech then re-inserts the swab into its sterile receptacle before placing the sample into a pre-calibrated luminometer, which reads the amount of light being emitted. Within moments, the industrial hygiene technician knows how much ATP is present on the swab and therefore if there is organic material present on the surface.

By testing a wide range of surfaces, adhering to a specific testing protocol, and maintaining a detailed log, Higgins and Associates’ technicians can determine whether your cleaning crew is adequately cleaning surfaces in your facility or not. This is a method that has been used by food and healthcare industries for years. ATP is a quick and cost-effective process for testing a large variety of surfaces in your facility. Higgins can also test high traffic areas for a coronavirus screen, which includes COVID-19.

What is cleaning/disinfection monitoring?


If we establish that your facility is not being adequately cleaned or disinfected:


  1. Higgins will go through your cleaning protocol to determine how it can be improved

  2. We can provide on-site training to help your crew perform a more thorough cleaning

  3. Finally, we can have a trained industrial hygiene technician monitor your cleaning crew or janitorial staff to determine if they are adhering to the established cleaning protocol

Following these steps will help us determine the best way to address any issues and start to quickly improve your results.


Choose an EHS team with a proven track record

Higgins’ COVID-19 response services, including cleaning verification, surface testing, and disinfection monitoring, are all overseen by an EHS director with more than 30 years of experience. Our staff has in-depth knowledge of both CDC and OSHA guidelines. In addition to consulting for businesses, Higgins and Associates also provides environmental infection control consulting for healthcare facilities. When implemented correctly, our protocols are designed to deliver the best possible results.

​Questions? Contact Art Goguen at or call (303) 994-8122 for more information on these services.

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