IEHA and UMass TURI Announce High-Tech Scrubbing Test


The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) and the University of Massachusetts TURI lab have announced that performance analysis during the IEHA/TURI High Performance Cleaning Product (HPCP) testing program will be enhanced through use of the BYK-Gardner Abrasion Tester.  The device enables a real-world, variable and repeatable rubbing or scrubbing action to compare the cleaning performance of hard surface cleaners, such as detergents or cleansers; or to test the durability and efficacy of scrub brushes or scouring pads.

According to Jason Marshall, UMass TURI Lab Director: “This device takes the guesswork out of comparing product performance since it precisely matches pressure and rate of cleaning from surface to surface and from product to product. It enables apples-to-apples comparisons between cleaning methodologies to identify high performance.”
The BYK-Gardner Abrasion Tester uses a reciprocating linear motion at approximately 37 cycles per minute with a constant speed over a 10 inch travel. It utilizes a brush, sponge, cotton cloth, microfiber, or other wiper to simulate real life situations and can be used for testing either wet or dry cleaning.
Products demonstrating 85% soil removal using this method qualify as High Performance under the program, according to Marshall.
IEHA plans to utilize the results of these findings and others as part of its High Performance Cleaning Product (HPCP) Report and to augment the IEHA Field Test published in Executive Housekeeping Today.

About the Toxics Use Reduction Institute

The Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell provides research, training, technical support, laboratory services and grant programs to reduce the use of toxic chemicals while enhancing the economic competitiveness of local businesses. The TURI Laboratory tests the performance of both industrial and janitorial cleaning products to encourage companies, institutions, and product formulators, to choose and develop safer substitutes. To learn more, visit


IEHA and UMass TURI Announce High-Tech Scrubbing Test:  Created on March 11th, 2010.  Last Modified on March 11th, 2010


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· 11 years ago

Yes, I remember CRI awarding Gold to machines and procedures that didn't come anywhere near to finishing the job, and I think the problem, seriously, is lack of high expectations.

When you are satisfied that a vacuum has a cord and runs when plugged in, rather than actually removes a high percentage of soil without contaminating the room, you have a low standard.

I have written time and time again, the standard for the cleaning industry must become, no visible soils remaining after the operation is complete. The standard cannot be, three passes, 85% clean, and that is "high".

If the goal is 100%, 85% is rather meaningless. It means 15% of the soil is still present after the test. Why not select a cleaning chemical (standard surface, uniform pressure), make strokes within a set time, and measure results until the surface is 100% free from the greasy soil?

The detergent that uses the fewest strokes (and the least amount of dwell time) wins the "High" designation. The ones taking twice as many don't make the grade.

The way these tests are run ignores the fact that there are no uniform strokes per minute in the industry and that uniform surface coverage is a myth as well. So you don't set a machine to make a pass and then rate the product by what is left, you run the passes until there is nothing left and use that for comparison. You may be surprised to find that more passes don't always equal more cleaning at all. I suspect some cleaning agents on some surfaces with certain soils can sit there a week and, agitation or no, leave bonded soils.

And I suspect that some carpet cleaning procedures using just wand injection and rapid extraction of detergent solutions are inferior to a pre-treat, agitate, and rinse procedures using the very same machine. The difference is our old friend, dwell time, and more strokes of a wand won't get us what we need.

Handing out Gold or High Performance awards for simply showing up for the game fails to point out any real winners.

Of course, it does make all the players happy. Maybe even some unsuspecting fans.

March 28th, 2010 | 8:41am Reply
· 11 years ago


Interesting questions you pose. The testing is based on standardized lab protocols: x-number of passes with y-cleaner at a given pressure = z-percentage of soil removal.

It's similar to what Carpet and Rug Institute does with vacuum cleaners where Gold is awarded for 55% or better soil removal after several passes. Of course, more passes would equate to more cleaning, with perhaps 80% soil removal possible with many passes of the vacuum.

Thanks for commenting. Raising the bar may make sense...

March 27th, 2010 | 6:26pm Reply
· 11 years ago

I love it! "Products demonstrating 85% soil removal using this method qualify as High Performance under the program."

Wouldn't you think High Performance would hit close to 100% soil removal? 98% or better, maybe?

Is a surgeon who succeeds in 85% of his operations designated "High Performance"?

Evidently, our expectations in the cleaning industry are not exceptionally "High".

March 27th, 2010 | 2:04pm Reply

About IEHA

The International Executive Housekeepers Association (IEHA) is a 3,500-plus member organization for housekeeping management. Executive housekeepers are managers that direct housekeeping programs in commercial, industrial or institutional facilities, including upscale hotels, hospitals, schools, and other public places. The non-profit was founded in 1930 in New York City, and is now located in Westerville, Ohio, a suburb of the state’s capitol.

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