Cleanliness unravelled: a review and integration of literature

Martijn Vos (First author), Mirjam Galetzka, Mark P. Mobach, M. van Hagen, Ad Pruyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to present a systematic literature review on stimulus, organism and response variables related to actual and perceived cleanliness and develop a conceptual framework to encourage future research on cleanliness. Design/methodology/approach: The PRISMA statement methodology for systematic literature review was applied. After analysing 926 articles, 46 articles were included and reviewed. Findings: Stimulus, organism and response variables related to cleanliness were identified and integrated in a conceptual framework. A distinction was made between articles evaluating the relationship between stimulus and organism variables; stimulus and response variables; and organism and response variables. First, actual cleanliness, staff behaviour, condition of the environment, scent and the appearance of the physical environment were identified as stimuli variables influencing perceived cleanliness and service quality. Second, the presence of litter, behaviour and presence of others, scent, disorder, availability of trash cans and informational strategies were identified as stimuli affecting littering and other kinds of unethical behaviour. Third, the effect of perceived cleanliness (and other organism variables) on satisfaction, approach behaviours, physical activity and pro-social behaviour was registered. Practical implications: The findings of this review allow in-house and corporate facility managers to better understand and identify most effective interventions positively influencing actual and perceived cleanliness. Originality/value: No systematic literature review on antecedents and consequences of a clean environment has previously been conducted.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)429-451
JournalJournal of Facilities Management
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30 Oct 2018


  • facilities management
  • perceptions
  • behaviour
  • cleanliness
  • littering


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