Cleanfax Magazine Founder John Downey Announces Retirement

John Downey

Industry icon and Cleanfax magazine founder John Downey announced his retirement during Restoration Winter Break, held earlier this month at the Fairfield Inn by Marriott in Bonita Springs, Florida.

Winter Break host and conference facilitator Pete Consigli made Downey the guest of honor of the Winter Break Banquet and Networking Dinner, held on February 2 at the Bonita Bay Promenade in Bonita Springs.

Downey addressed the Winter Break Banquet delegates during the dessert and coffee service, giving a heartfelt retirement message to his many friends and colleagues in attendance.

Downey is a fourth-generation carpet cleaner who began his cleaning industry odyssey in 1973. He recently stepped down as chairman of the Cleaning Industry Research Institute (CIRI), a nonprofit cleaning science research organization.

Downey decided to make Winter Break 2024 his swan song. Over the course of his career, Downey:

  • Managed his family’s cleaning business in Columbus, OH from 1979–1984
  • Founded and ran his own cleaning business, also in Columbus, from 1984–1989.
  • Founded Cleanfax magazine and served as publisher and editor from 1989–1997
  • Continued as editor of Cleanfax, after selling it in 1997, until 2000.
  • Became the master distributor and later the owner of Steamin Demon Company, the manufacturer of a high-flow extraction carpet cleaning machine invented by his brother, Mike, from 2000–2005.
  • Founded and continues to serve as owner-operator of Downey’s Carpet Care of Granville in 2005.
  • Established the first peer-review journal for the cleaning and disaster restoration industry, The Journal of Cleaning, Restoration & Inspection in 2014 for the IICRC.
  • Was the Conference Manager for the industry’s first series of technical science-based symposiums under the IICRC and CIRI brands
  • Became executive director (and more recently chairman) of CIRI in 2018. While at CIRI Downey established a new peer-review journal, Cleaning Science Quarterly. In 2021, the journal’s name was changed to the Journal of Cleaning Science.

For more information, check out this interview of Downey on

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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