ICS Magazine

CRI Testing Will Help the Cleaning Industry

December 10, 2004
The Carpet and Rug Institute recently expanded its Seal of Approval program.

Attained by fulfilling an agreement of ethical practice and passing a test to ensure knowledge, the Seal is offered to carpet retailers, installers and cleaner. The program recently shifted its emphasis from cleaning firms to the products used to clean and maintain carpet. The Seal of Approval program for Carpet Cleaning Products will test cleaning products for quality and efficiency, in spot removal, as pre sprays and as in-tank solutions.

The existing Seal of Approval for professional cleaning firms will be discontinued as the new program launches. The new testing program will give cleaning product manufacturers the opportunity to attain the CRI Seal of Approval for their products by submitting their products for rigorous testing in cleaning efficacy, pH, and the potential for re-soiling. Further testing at six months, and then at annual intervals to make sure they are still in compliance, will deliver quality, consistent products to the professional cleaner in the field.

This will create a more level playing field for the carpet mills, better results for the consumer, and more consistency for the cleaning technician, all while helping to make carpet the preferred floor covering and the carpet care and maintenance industries more sustainable.

Spot-removal products will be tested according to manufacturer recommendations on common household products like mustard, catsup, black coffee, grape juice, permanent marker, synthetic soil and dirty motor oil. Results for cleaning efficacy will be measured against AATCC Evaluation: Procedure 2, using the Gray Scale for Staining.

The re-soiling evaluation will be measured in accordance with ASTM D-6540. Pre-spray and in-tank solution cleaning products will be tested for cleaning efficacy and re-soiling potential.

Cleaning products will be applied to the carpet, and the carpet will be cleaned according to manufacturer recommendations. Any visual change in the test carpet will be recorded. Ten spectrophotometer/colorimeter readings will be taken as a measure of efficiency.

A panel of three independent, trained technicians will measure the differential soil level between the cleaned sample and the control sample using the AATCC Gray Scale for Color Change. Evaluation of re-soiling is measured first, and is subjected to accelerated soiling using AATCC synthetic soil, in accordance with ASTM D-6540 scale for color change.

Other tests that are part of the program include measuring pH levels. As many of you know, a lot of new information on how pH relates to cleaning has come out this year. Optical brighteners are not recommended by most carpet manufacturers because of their long-term affect on fiber appearance and performance. Colorfastness to light is critical, because carpet-cleaning product residues on pile yarn have been known to have an adverse effect on dyes.

The Seal of Approval program for Carpet Cleaning Products will evolve and spawn another program, starting in 2005, which will evaluate and provide a Seal of Approval Program for Carpet Cleaning Equipment. This will create an even stronger force in the marketplace, making equipment manufacturers more competitive with each other and resulting in the best cleaning equipment for the carpet-cleaning technician, so he or she can deliver the cleanest carpet possible to the consumer. This is largely due to the IICRC's volunteer involvement in the CRI.

Today's carpet manufacturers continue to gain confidence in IICRC, making our Certified Firms and Technicians the right choice. Do yourself and your company a favor and become more familiar with the CRI web site, www.carpet-rug.com. Recommend it to your colleagues and clients. The CRI is the cleaning industry's strongest link to the carpet value chain.