APPA'S Five Levels of Cleanliness

APPA specifies five levels of cleanliness that many institutions, including colleges and universities, use to manage their cleaning efforts. What follows is a summary of APPA’s five levels. A more detailed rundown is available on the APPA website (

Level 1: Orderly Spotlessness:
Floors and base moldings are bright and clean; colors are fresh. Vertical and horizontal surfaces look freshly cleaned or polished. No build-up in corners. The lights work and the fixtures are clean. Washroom and shower fixtures and tiles gleam. Adequate cleaning supplies are on hand. Trash containers contain only daily waste.

Level 2: Ordinary Tidiness:
Virtually the same as level one, but there may be up to two days of dust, dirt, stains, or streaks.

Level 3: Casual Inattention:
Floors are swept or vacuumed clean, but close observation may reveal stains and dirt build-up may be apparent in corners and along walls. In addition, there may be dull spots, matted carpet, and streaks on base molding. Vertical and horizontal surfaces have dust, dirt, marks, smudges, and fingerprints. Lamps work and fixtures are clean. Trash containers have daily waste only.

Level 4: Moderate Dinginess:
Floors are swept and vacuumed clean but may be stained. Dirt buildup is evident. Carpets show paths of use. Molding is dirty. Surfaces are obviously dusty and dirty. Trash containers have old trash and may give off a sour smell.

Level 5: Unkempt Neglect:
Dull, dirty scuffed floors and carpets. The corners and base moldings are obviously dirty. Dirt has accumulated on all vertical and horizontal surfaces. Light fixtures are dirty, and some lamps are burned out. Trash containers are overflowing and have begun to smell.

This article originally appeared in the College Planning & Management October 2018 issue of Spaces4Learning.

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