ICS Magazine

CRI Expands SOA Program

February 11, 2010

Dalton, Georgia February 9, 2010 The Carpet and Rug Institute has expanded its Seal of Approval testing and certification program by adding two new testing categories and expanding the existing extractors and deep-cleaning systems testing programs. The changes to the Seal of Approval program were approved by CRI's Cleaning and Maintenance Issues Management Team.

Pet Odor and Stain Testing
A new pet odor and stain category has been added to the Seal of Approval Solutions program, joining the existing spot remover, pre-spray and in-tank solutions testing categories. The new protocol will test products marketed specifically for pet stain and odor removal on their ability to remove tracked-in dirt, urine, feces, and vomit stains and related odors.

Plans for the pet stain category have been ongoing for several years, said Gary Asbury, whose company, Professional Testing Laboratories, developed the testing program and will conduct the tests on behalf of CRI. One of the primary challenges, Asbury said, was finding consistent sources of animal urine and feces to ensure uniform testing results. For example, he found his source for cat urine by ordering bobcat urine from a hunting supply wholesaler, but for vomit, he ultimately settled on creating a synthetic formula.

As with the other SOA Solutions testing platforms, water is the benchmark against which products are tested. For malodors, trained personnel test multiple samples of each pet stain and odor product, using a program developed by General Motors to test the odors of various components in automobile interiors. On a scale of one to ten, where ten is odorless and one is "intolerable" odor, Asbury says a product must score "three levels better than plain water" in order to pass the testing. And, because the powerful scent agents in cat urine tend to grow stronger with the passage of time, odor testing is performed at 72 hours after initial cleaning. For the staining component of the testing, products must perform equal to or better than plain water, without causing change in the carpet's color or encouraging accelerated resoiling.

"There is extreme demand in the marketplace for these kinds of products," said CRI President Werner Braun. "Having three pets of my own at home, I appreciate the value of a product that works."

Platinum Level for SOA Systems and Extractors
Another enhancement to the Seal of Approval program is the addition of the Platinum Level of performance for the Extractors and Deep-Cleaning Systems programs. The Platinum level is reserved for the equipment or equipment plus cleaning solution combinations that remove ninety percent or more of available soil. Carey Mitchell, chairman of CRI's Cleaning and Maintenance Issues Management Team and Director of Technical Services for Shaw Industries, said the platinum level was added to recognize superlative performance. "The Seal of Approval program encourages improvement," Mitchell said. "When we have companies that have re- engineered [their products and equipment] and we see these kinds of results - that's what the Seal of Approval is all about."

Systems that have achieved SOA Platinum levels include: Chem-Dry® PowerBase® 10 or PowerBase® 5 with PowerHead®; Chem-Drys Revolutionary Truck mounted system CTS-330 with PowerHead®; Dustbane 1000 XT; Mighty Pack by Rug Doctor; Stanley Steemer Truck Mounted Model 5450 with Wand; Stanley Steemers Truck Mounted Model 5200-5400-5500-5600 with Wand; TCS Warrior 18; Unisource FastBreak 10; Unisource FastBreak 20; Unisource FastBreak 8; Commodore 20 and Priza from Windsor Industries; Windsor Cadet CDT7; Windsor Clipper CLP12, and ZeroRez® Cleaning System.

Energy Efficiency Rating for Vacuums
The Energy Efficiency Rating for Vacuums option for the SOA Vacuum testing program came about in response to a major retailers interest in labeling its vendors vacuums according to their energy efficiency. The new energy testing evaluates a vacuums energy use in relation to its cleaning effectiveness, and can be performed as an optional test or as part of the regular Seal of Approval vacuum testing. Professional Testings Asbury noted that, for large commercial operations like hotel chains, office complexes and conference centers, switching from low-efficiency to high-efficiency vacuums would significantly lower energy consumption per each vacuum used, resulting in substantial cost savings over the course of a year. CRI President Braun says he expects testing under the new energy program will begin in the very near future, possibly in the next two to three weeks.