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What Is ATP? The Importance of Reducing ATP

Dispelling Tradition

If you thought “good” smells and some persuasive writing on a toxic bottle of chemicals means you are sanitizing or disinfecting, think again. Get a deeper understanding of what it means for a surface to be clean. What you read below explains what ATP is and the importance of reducing it.

What Is ATP?

Scientifically: ATP – or Adenosine Triphosphate – is present in and around all living organisms on earth. Cells and microorganisms capture and store energy from food and light sources in the form of ATP. This means plants, animals, bacteria, and fungi all have ATP present in each one of their cells.

Why Should That Matter To Me?

Being present in all living and active microbial cells, ATP is a great indicator of biological concentration in fluids and on surfaces. Biological concentrations could be made of a combination of germs, fungi, and/or probiotics.

For instance, you can measure ATP on a surface to determine if there is a small or large amount of biological activity there. The smaller the ATP measurement, the less biological activity is taking place on the surface.

You can interpret this to mean that the smaller the ATP reading, the less germs are present on the surface. Conversely, you can interpret a higher ATP reading to mean more germs are present on the surface.

Many health departments in the United States, for instance, consider an ATP reading of 30 or less to be “clean” for purposes of food preparation. Any reading greater than this and a food establishment can be cited or shut down.

Here’s a video I made showing the ATP readings of various items around the house.

Your Goal In Cleaning Is To Reduce ATP

Although they have been linked to extremely negative health consequences, sanitizers and disinfectants, like bleach and ammonia, all reduce ATP. Whatsmore, they reduce ATP to levels deemed as “safe” or “healthy” or “clean” (at least for a brief time).

What you need to know, though, is that other, more natural substances and cleaners also reduce ATP. When you use vinegar to clean, you’re reducing ATP. When you use certain essential oils, you are reducing ATP. When you clean or fog with probiotics you are reducing ATP.

At this point, a valid question to ask is: if those natural cleaners reduce ATP, why aren’t they heavily touted as sanitizers or disinfectants?

EPA Registered vs. Non-EPA Registered

EPA Registered Sanitizers

By regulation, to make any sanitizing or disinfecting claims, chemicals must be registered with a given number by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So the cleaners you think of that make sanitizing or disinfecting claims have each been registered with the EPA as a pesticide (anything that reduces the number of pests of microbes is classified as a pesticide).

Registration with the EPA means the manufacturer has submitted all types of documents, instructions and money to the EPA. The EPA conducts a review for health risks and tests for the chemicals effectiveness in reducing ATP and killing the specific microbe(s) or pest(s) that the manufacturer claims it does. If a chemical passes the approval process the manufacturer can then make sanitizing claims.

The funny part about EPA registration is that it does not mean a sanitizer or disinfectant is safe to use or even healthy for humans to be around. It simply means the EPA has approved a chemical for a particular use, evaluated the health risks and placed the onus on the manufacturer to reflect those risks on warning labels.

Have you seen that little multi-colored diamond symbol on the back of a fuel tank truck cruising down the freeway? That diamond is often accompanied by a skull and bones symbol for poison or death if consumed. Many warning labels on EPA-registered products contain such a grave warning. That’s the EPA at work.

Non-EPA Registered Products

There are many well-known products people have been using for millenia to reduce ATP and keep themselves healthy. Certain plant species (essential oils), fermented foods and liquid (kimchi, yogurt, vinegar, alcohol),  and probiotics  have all been used for cleaning and reducing ATP, but these substances are not EPA registered.

Since many natural cleaners, especially those that are time tested, are never submitted for EPA registration their manufacturers cannot make sanitizing claims – even if the cleaner’s sanitizing properties are common knowledge. That’s why people still clean with and trust vinegar although there are no sanitizing claims nor EPA registration number on the bottle.

What’s The Difference Between Sanitizing and Reducing ATP?

What Is Sanitizing?

First, to better understand the technicalities, you should know what sanitizing really is – in terms of process. According to a published 2014 review in the journal Clinical Microbiology Reviews, sanitizing is the breaking apart of proteins, splitting cells into pieces or messing with a cell’s metabolism. So when you use a sanitizer or disinfectant a chemical reaction takes place that destroys the cell.

Sanitizing: The Technical EPA Term

Sanitizing, according to the EPA, refers to the significant reduction of specific or a class of microorganisms, but does not eliminate all bacteria. The term “sanitizer” is reserved for those companies who paid their money and went through the rigamarole of obtaining an EPA registration number. When you sanitize, you are, in effect, reducing ATP and creating a healthier area to exist in.

Put another way, reduction of ATP is simply the goal to achieve a healthier environment.

Can I reduce ATP Without Sanitizing or Disinfecting? Yes!

Sanitizing or disinfecting with chemicals is only one way to help reduce ATP. Yet there is another way: using probiotics to clean.

Probiotics reduce ATP without sanitizing or disinfecting. The ways in which they reduce ATP is unique. Here is how probiotics reduce ATP:

  • Probiotics consume the microscopic food sources that other microorganisms may eat. Without food to live on, the other microbes die off. And since only living things contain ATP, with less living things around, the amount of present ATP drops.
  • Probiotics crowd out other microorganisms by occupying surfaces they would normally land to setup their community of biofilm. With no place to live, microbes die off and ATP is reduced.
  • Probiotics may be able to quorum sense with other bacteria to inhibit their reproduction. With microbes not reproducing and dying off, ATP is being reduced.

As you can see probiotics do not use chemical reactions to destroy cell walls or membranes or disrupt cell metabolism to reduce ATP. The probiotics are just existing as themselves. It just so happens their existence has dire consequences for other microbes like germs.

Which Is More Effective At Reducing ATP: Sanitizers or Probiotics?

There are several lab tests that compare side-by-side ATP test results between sanitizers and probiotics. Several of the probiotic cleaner manufacturers have published their results. For instance, Z Bioscience found that probiotics are just as effective at reducing ATP than toxic-chemical sanitizers like bleach. However, what they also found may surprise you.

In the lab tests comparing probiotics to various toxic-chemical sanitizers, the researchers looked at performance over time. They took ATP readings before cleaning, immediately after cleaning, then at different times during a 24-hour period. They found that at each interval, ATP readings from probiotic-treated areas remained lower than that of toxic-chemical sanitizers.

In fact, the probiotic-treated areas remained in an “effective clean” range for the entire 24-hour period whereas areas treated with toxic chemicals were only effectively clean for less than 2 hours. Whatsmore, the ATP reducing benefits of probiotics are known to last for several days.

With that simple information, you can draw your own conclusion of which is more effective at reducing ATP.

The Longer The Better

With many germs, like viruses, only able to live on surfaces for minutes to hours it is critical to use something that reduces ATP for as long as possible. Toxic-chemical sanitizers, as seen in studies, are only effective for a few minutes. Once they evaporate and dry up, any germ-fighting or ATP-reducing abilities dry up with it.

On the other hand, probiotics’ ATP-reducing abilities can last for up to several days. This means that microorganisms that would normally flourish on a surface shortly after a toxic-chemical sanitizer had been used, would stand a much lesser chance of survival on the probiotic-treated surface.

Health Benefit of Probiotics To Reduce ATP

Probiotics are natural and naturally occuring. Aside from their long-lasting ATP-reducing effects, the biggest benefit you can gain from using probiotics to clean or fog with is that their use won’t harm your health.

With so many diseases and afflictions caused through the use of toxic-chemical cleaners, why subject yourself or your family and pets or colleagues to their ill effects just to reduce the ATP in your home, office or car?

In Closing

The goal of cleaning is not just to make things look nice, but to reduce ATP in your environment. You can achieve lower ATP with toxic-chemical sanitizers that are sure to give you health issues or you can go a natural, healthier route that won’t harm your health at all.

When choosing a cleaning service, be sure to recognize the facts of ATP and inquire about how they reduce it: chemically or naturally.

At Germz Be Gone, we care about our clients’ health. That’s why aside from all-natural steam, we use probiotics to reduce ATP and achieve a healthier environment for you. No toxic chemicals. No fragrances. No harsh fumes. No need to leave your home or let it air out. Our services can be ordered here

Probiotic cleaners to reduce ATP is the future. Are you on board?!

How Is ATP Measured?

Rather than rehash the explanation, the folks at Luminultra – an ATP measurement device manufacturer – sum it up nicely:

To measure [ATP] we turn to a well known example of bioluminescence; the tail of a firefly! Through a chemical reaction, ATP reacts with luciferase and light is produced. The amount of light can be quantified in a luminometer and the amount of ATP present can then be calculated. Because this reaction happens instantly, the amount of microbiological content can be quantified immediately.