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ATP Testing for Hygiene – Simple and Proven

As a local company who offer a range of specialist cleaning services both domestic and commercial customers. As part of that, one of the things we offer is ATP testing. In his article we will explain what ATP testing is, how it works, benefits, equipment we use and also include an example video of some ATP testing in action.

ATP tests are a fast and proven method measuring and quantifying how clean surfaces are and has a wide range of applications including – food production and preparation, hospitality services, mould remediation, water damage, biohazard & trauma scene, general cleaning and, in some situations, leak detection. This is especially the case where sewage clean up and bodily fluids are involved.

We have specialist antimicrobial cleaning solutions, including some that are food safe, to help clean and decontaminate areas which need special cleaning of a high standard.

ATP Testing, Yorkshire.
ATP Testing Swabs

What is ATP Testing? – ATP Meters

ATP testing usually involves taking a swab test on the surface we wish to evaluate. Not only can ATP testing be used to determine the amount of contamination present but also evaluate how clean something is after it has been cleaned all treated.

In other words, ATP tests can be used to see how effective cleaning has been for example. ATP testing is especially important in industries where food production and preparation is carried out, to avoid contaminating foods and potentially making people ill from it, which is clearly something they want to avoid. It is also potentially unhygienic, which businesses want to protect their customers and staff from.

ATP Testing - UltraSnap Swab
ATP Testing – UltraSnap Swab

As you will see in our video later, ATP test testing can be done in a matter of seconds results available using an ATP meter very soon after the swab test is done. One of the ATP testing meters we use is the Hygiena SystemSURE II (or 2), Which is a very repeatable base or ATP testing kit. One Off the ATP testing swaps that we use are the Hygiena UltraSnap range, which can be seen above.

How Does ATP Testing Work?

One of the obvious questions about ATP testing is what does ATP stand for? ATP stands for adenosine triphosphate. The Obvious next question is. What is adenosine triphosphate?

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is a substance which is present in all organic materials and is produced by living bodies, associated with their energy production. This includes humans, animals, mould & fungi but even in food substances and also bacteria.

If you would like to see more about ATP, take a look at the Hygiena ATP Monitoring page.

ATP Testing - Hygiena SystemSURE II
ATP Testing – Hygiena SystemSURE II

It can also be found in some of the by-products of these living bodies. For example human bodily fluids. Clearly, these type of materials would not be expected on the type of areas where you are doing ATP testing and so consequently if ATP is found in significant enough quantities can pose a contamination or health risk.

Take ATP mould testing for example, it can be used as an indicator of the presence and concentration of mould in on surfaces in buildings (vs control areas) but also as a quantification of the effectiveness of mould remediation and the sanitisation process to show before vs after.

How do you do an ATP Test?

ATP testing kits and equipment are designed to measure the amount of ATP on a swab test by carrying out a luminosity / luminometer test to quantify the amount of ATP present

This is measured in RLUs (Relative Light Units) and the higher the reading, the higher the amount of light emitted in the test and the higher the amount of organic material found on that surface. This is all done in a matter of seconds as you will see later. On the subject of data and measurements, see our guide to remote monitoring.

On the topic of light, we discuss UV and how it can combine with fluorescein leak detection dyes

A special swab test is taken on the surface and then put into the ATP testing machine which then gives a reading. different situations will have different levels of pass all fail number. however for example, in a food hygiene environment or production facility below 10 is a pass, between 10 and 30 is a warning and over 30 would be considered a fail. So let’s take a look at ATP testing in action:

ATP Testing in Action

As you can see from the ATP testing video above, we start with two apparently identical petri dishes side by side. We then carry out an ATP test on each of them. The first comes back with a reading of 81 which although not perfect, is not hugely high. In comparison, the second test on what appears to be an identical petri dish to the eye, gives a reading of 5723, which is over 70 times higher and would clearly be of concern!

ATP Testing – Top Tips
Understanding what will be a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ will depend on the environment, situation and material you are testing. Carrying out ATP testing in a laboratory is different to a hotel, a restaurant kitchen or food production factory etc. Plus, measuring a smooth (non-porous) surface is different to measuring something which is textures or rough. There is no ‘one size fits all’ acceptable pass score”

Leak Detection Team

What Other Cleaning Services do you Offer?

We offer a wide range of other specialist cleaning services to our customers in the York and Yorkshire Coast Area, this includes the following:

See more on our page about our fire and flood damage services, and things to compliment them. On that, for both those services, we often utilise HEPA air scrubber devices to aid with air quality and cleaning.

You may be interested in our handy and quick article on how to unblock a toilet or, on the subject of hazards and biohazards our Hazard Symbol Guide

At Rainbow Restoration – York & Yorkshire Coast we are experts in a wide range of services, from Leak Detection, including Commercial Leak Detection, to Water Damage Restoration, so if you need help finding a water leak or getting your property back to normal after a leak or flood, get in touch with our friendly local team who will be happy to help you with this.

Leak Detection Logo
Leak Detection Logo

What is a hygiene test?

Leak Detection Logo - Small

A hygiene test, which can be done vie ATP testing swabs, is a process to check for cleanliness, in particular for viruses, bacteria or mould on surfaces in the home or workplace. Clearly this is something that is not desirable to be seen so hygiene tests look for the amount of contamination to see if cleaning is required or if cleaning has been effective. As you might expect, hotels and restaurants are especially keen on this.

What does ATP testing do?

Leak Detection Logo - Small

ATP testing is a fast, reliable and quality way of measuring for cleanliness and contamination on surfaces. ATP meters usually utilise a special swab which is mixed with a liquid and tested within the meter to check for ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) which is a substance found in organic materials, including those associated with bacteria, viruses and mould. A number reading is given which indicates the volume of contamination present.