"The CRI Seal of Approval signifies to customers that they can trust that when used in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions the product will do an effective job of removing certain stains or soil from carpet or rugs without any damage to their appearance or performance. It sets a high bar for carpet cleaners," said Werner Braun, CRI president.
Braun noted that tests have revealed that many carpet cleaning products are not as effective as water at removing stains and soils. Also, some products have been found to increase the rate of resoiling, which means the area cleaned attracts new dirt at an accelerated rate. Also, some soil and spot remover products can affect the color appearance and performance of a carpet or rug.
Seal of Approval testing is administered by Professional Testing Laboratory, Inc. of Dalton. An experienced panel of technicians tests the performance of two kinds of products: spot removers and pre-spray/in-tank solutions, which may be used in residential, commercial or institutional settings.
Carpet cleaning products are designed to be applied to carpet in order to safely and easily remove spots or stains. The testing program's parameters include efficacy, resoiling, pH, optical brighteners, and colorfastness to light. The independent testing lab's technicians compared the products' performance against that of water in all categories. The Seal of Approval is only awarded to those cleaning products with superior performance in all of the testing categories.
The product must be applied and the spot cleaned in accordance with carpet manufacturers instructions. Staining agents used for the testing include mustard, catsup, black coffee (hot), grape juice, permanent marker, chocolate syrup, dirty motor oil and synthetic soil.
To evaluate the spot removal efficacy, technicians utilize the gray scale for staining according to the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) Evaluation "procedure 2.'' Three independent trained technicians rate the products' efficacy, and those ratings are then averaged to the nearest 0.1.
The propensity of cleaning product residue to attract soil at an accelerated rate is measured by first applying the product to a control sample carpet. The carpet sample is then subjected to accelerated soiling using AATCC synthetic soil in accordance with ASTM D-6540. The differential soil level between the cleaned sample and control sample is rated instrumentally and by a panel using the AATCC gray scale for color change. Products which are extremely acidic or alkaline have been known to adversely affect dyes and certain fibers. Products with a more neutral pH are generally considered more effective to use when cleaning carpets or rugs. CRI recommends cleaners with a pH between 4 and 10.
The presence of optical brighteners in carpet cleaning products also has been known to adversely affect fiber color, appearance and long-term performance. CRI recommends that consumers choose products without optical brighteners.
The final tests measures any color change in the carpet. Cleaning product residues present that accumulate on pile yarn floor coverings have been known to adversely affect dyes and accelerate color change. The level to which a product residue contributes to color change is determined by exposing a treated standard test carpet with an untreated control sample to accelerated light in accordance with AATCC Test Method 16. Accelerated color change in the treated carpet is considered unacceptable.
"The carpet industry has enthusiastically supported this new Seal of Approval Program. The launch of this program carries the hope that it will help with customer satisfaction for both the cleaning chemicals industry and the carpet industry. The bottom line is that this is a win-win-win situation for the cleaning chemicals industry, the carpet industry and the consumers of their products,'' said Braun.
Products that have passed the testing criteria for the cleaning products will be listed on the CRI website: www.carpet-rug.org.