- THE MAGAZINE
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) of Dalton, Georgia, announced today the first companies to earn certification for their carpet cleaning extractors under the new Seal of Approval program. The new program uses x-ray fluorescence (XRF) technology to measure precise amounts of soil removed from carpet samples. The initiative marks the first-ever transfer of NASA-enhanced technology to an entire industry.
Winning the gold Seal of Approval, signifying the highest amount of soil removal are truck mount extractors from:
Nine portable extractors from US Products, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, received the bronze Seal of Approval, indicating they meet above average soil removal standards. Rug Doctor, Plano, Texas, was awarded a bronze rating for its self-contained extractor. A CRI technical committee sets the standards and products are tested at an independent laboratory.
Underscoring the value that carpet manufacturers place on the role of quality cleaning products, several carpet manufacturers plan to announce their move towards requiring the use of CRI Seal of Approval products as part of their carpet warranties.
"While proper carpet care requires periodic restorative cleaning to remove built up residues and trapped soil, professional laboratory testing has shown vast differences in the soil removal capability of extractors," noted Werner Braun, CRI president. "The Seal of Approval program addresses the issue of carpet cleaning effectiveness by testing and certifying only those products that meet high performance standards."
The XRF analyzer used in the Seal of Approval testing program was developed by KeyMaster Technologies of Kennewick, Wash., and enhanced by NASA to help determine the composition of aluminum alloy parts.
"The ability to bring 'a chemistry lab in your hand' to something as big as a solid rocket motor and determine alloy constituents to an accuracy of four decimal places represents a major technology breakthrough," said Fred Schramm, independent research and development program administrator, Technology Transfer Department, Marshall Space Flight Center. "The new sensitivity and added capability that resolves chemical similarity between silicon and aluminum alloys has given the carpet industry a means to evaluate the effectiveness of soil extraction."
Because the CRI Seal of Approval program takes advantage of space technology, companies certified under the Seal of Approval XRF testing program are eligible to display the Space Foundation Seal.
"The Space Foundation is pleased to certify the CRI Seal of Approval program. This outstanding program underscores how consumers continue to benefit from space technology in new and unexpected ways," said Kevin Cook, director of brand management, Space Foundation.
"For the first time, the carpet industry can now scientifically distinguish between truly effective extractors and those that do not perform well or even damage carpet fibers," said Paul Petru, director of marketing, Sears Carpet and Upholstery Care. "As a corporation, Sears is committed to improving the lives of our customers by providing quality services, products and solutions that earn their trust and build lifetime relationships. This innovative technology will help our carpet cleaning business achieve that goal."
The Seal of Approval program also rates extractors on effectiveness at recovering water from the carpet test sample and cleaning without damage to carpet fibers. These criteria are included because water and dirt left in a carpet negatively affect the appearance of the carpet, damage the fibers and create the potential for mold growth.
Experience has also shown that some equipment can cause excessive wear on the carpet.
"The Seal of Approval not only helps customers recognize quality products, it also helps them understand the best methods for preserving the life and beauty of their carpet," said Ed Williams, senior vice president, Marketing Residential Division, Mohawk Industries.
"US Products is proud to be involved with the CRI Seal of Approval program. We are also proud to be the first portable hot water extractors to be tested and approved. Certification of extraction cleaning equipment is one of the first steps to insure the proper equipment is used in the carpet cleaning process. Certified equipment is only one part of the cleaning process though, as the system employed, along with trained operators and the proper chemicals are also critical to the results obtained," said Stephen Hanig, vice president of sales for the company.
The CRI Seal of Approval program also tests and certifies spot removal and pre-spray/in-tank cleaning products. Vacuums and cleaning systems will be added to the program at a future date. For a listing of all certified products, visit carpet-rug.org.