ICS Magazine

IICRC S300: An Upholstery Cleaning Standard

June 28, 2000
The IICRC has just completed another standard and reference guide for the cleaning, inspection and restoration industry. This latest in standards from the IICRC was completed after years of exhaustive work and documentation by the Upholstery Standard Task Force, chaired by IICRC Vice President and Chairman of the Upholstery Technical Advisory Committee, Carey Vermeulen.

Carey has shown excellent leadership ability in guiding this standard to completion. His dedication, effort and skill in developing strong relationships have helped the S300 become accepted throughout the industry much faster and with more enthusiasm than any other standard previously compiled by the IICRC. This project was a major undertaking for this task force, and without much published information on upholstery cleaning, they addressed the challenge.

Although this standard could not have been completed without Carey’s dedication, no one person has written any of the IICRC Standards that have been published. The IICRC could not have completed each and every standard without complete industry support. However, Carey began to develop a relationship with the American Furniture Manufacturers Association (AFMA), and with their invitation, began attending their meetings. This led to conversations about the need for manufacturers to understand the care and maintenance of their products. The AFMA had realized the need to understand this issue and wanted to explore the opportunities of their organization and the IICRC developing a strong relationship.

Carey made himself available to the members of the AFMA and began to get involved with the group. As a matter of fact, he was elected to chair a committee of the AFMA dealing with the cleaning of leather upholstery. The relationships that were developed because of his involvement were critical in the launch of the S300. The AFMA committee on maintenance was instrumental in supporting the S300 project during the developmental phase. A gentleman by the name of Hugh Talley, past president of AFMA, was heavily involved in the initial draft of the S300 standard. During this phase, the AFMA committee adopted a draft of the proposed standard, before its completion, to show their support for the effort. It’s wonderful and encouraging to have this kind of support.

In a related issue, no discussion of the care and maintenance of upholstery occurred without mention of the cleaning codes placed on the decking of finished upholstery. Currently, strides are being made to have those codes changed to have more accurate information placed on them, telling professional cleaners the types of fabric, blend percentage, and manufacturers’ recommendations for cleaning. This effort is ongoing, but the outcome looks bright for its inception. Imagine looking at a deck tag and being able to decipher its’ meaning? You can then select a proper cleaning methodology, and satisfy a customer, all with the help and support of the furniture and fabric manufacturers.

Many other people were involved in producing this wonderful standard for IICRC along with Carey. The task force consisted of Butch Ade, Rossville/Chromotex; David Bell, Culp, Inc.; Jeff Bishop, Chairman IICRC Certification Board; Doug Bowles, Horizon Consultants; Bobbie Grose, Servpro; David Hanks, Bridgepoint; Peter Masi, Master Cleaners; Steven Spivak, Ph.D., Technical Director, ASCR; Hugh Talley, The Hugh Talley Company, Inc.; Ruth Travis, IICRC Secretary; and Mike West, Clean Care by Millers. Many others contributed and are acknowledged in the standard document itself. Without the help of these dedicated people, this standard would not exist. Our industry owes these volunteers a debt of gratitude and thanks.

The mission of the IICRC is to be the central conduit from which maintenance and cleaning information is dispersed throughout the industry. It’s through the efforts of our volunteer base that this goal is being realized. This is an exciting time to be a part of the cleaning, inspection and restoration industry. Many past leaders of the IICRC are seeing that the dream they lived, and were an integral part of, coming to be as most manufacturers of upholstery and carpet, and many insurance companies are using the IICRC as an integral part of servicing their customers. Let’s keep the ball rolling, never stop believing in the IICRC and raising the bar of professional cleaning, inspection and restoration.