ICS Magazine

Letter to the Editor

January 1, 2007

Dear ICS,

A few years ago we complied with DuPont in order to receive approval to clean their Stainmaster products: we changed our primary residential cleaning agent to a lower pH product; we purged our inventory of all cleaning agents containing optical brighteners. Subsequently, I had the distinct feeling I’d been had. The Stainmaster trademarked cleaning agents seemed a way for manufacturers and formulators to price higher for products that didn’t work as fast but were touted as what I needed to use to get satisfactory cleaning results on Stainmaster carpeting.

We could not ascertain what kind of carpet we were cleaning. Residents didn’t know if they had DuPont Stainmaster fiber, Anso, Mohawk or what. They just knew they liked the carpet they had and someone told them we could keep it clean for them. So…we cleaned the best way we learned how and kept our ears to the ground for comments from clients, comments from our trade association, comments from booths at conventions, comments from our distributors, comments in trade mags and threads on trade mag bulletin boards.

At the 2005 Las Vegas Connections, we hear Shaw is going to utilize IICRC certified firms who use CRI’s SOA manufacturers of equipment and cleaning agents, beginning 2008.

At this moment, our cleaning agents, our equipment and our methodology is not totally CRI-SOAd. Will they all be CRI-SOad by 2008? Who knows? Do I intend to change my SOP (standard operating procedure) in order to comply with CRI?

My firm is certified through the IICRC and we have two Master Textile Cleaners in the field daily. I care deeply about the residues left from my cleaning system. I pre-vacuum because common sense says get out the particulate while it’s dry instead of turning it to mud and trying to remove it while it’s wet. Current chemistry of two-step cleaning may be the only way to go.

Why do I not want to jump on the CRI-SOA bandwagon, wave my flag and announce to everyone that I am 100% behind the program?
  1. I don’t believe anyone cares if I do or if I don’t.
  2. I don’t believe anyone will change a buying habit solely because someone says they should.
  3. I don’t believe my clients care what equipment or what cleaning solutions I employ or what their carpet warranty dictates.
  4. Testing simply proves a given is a given on a given day at a given time.
  5. Our textile maintenance business is built on perception.

Any corporation with a big public relations budget can push the buttons of any target they choose. CRI has NASA commendation for its SOA program, and rightly so. Does it need DEI (Decker Enterprises, Inc.) commendation? CRI would prefer the commendations of franchisers and their franchisees because there is more bang for the buck in numbers. DEI has nothing but its moniker, recognizable by a few people. DEI is the pride with prejudice of one family in one small town in northern Kentucky. DEI has the attitude, the credentials, the affiliations and the contacts CRI values, but DEI isn’t big enough to matter at all. So should DEI seek out SOA equipment and cleaning agent manufacturers just to be approved by CRI and IICRC? I don’t think so.

I’ll continue to monitor commentary by folks who put money into DEI’s checkbook. I’ll continue to monitor commentary by vendors into whose checkbooks DEI puts its money.

When vendors whom I respect and value begin to garner SOA from CRI; when the two step cleaning system is the only music my ears crave, that of no call-backs; when IICRC credentials are maintained by the majority of cleaning firms in my marketplace; then, maybe, the bandwagon will find me on it, waving flags and proclaiming to the heavens that we have all overcome the human nature basic desire of getting something for nothing.

The Bible of Cleaning may be written by NASA, CRI and IICRC, but who fills the pews in the Church of the Clean and Healthy? Personally, I’m for more Bibles, more churches and more congregations. Choice is healthy. It’s wise. It’s culture condoning. It creates an environment which welcomes innovation. It permits me to be a cafeteria corporation – choosing what works best for me and my clients from the myriad of marketplace offers.

Peaches Decker
Decker Enterprises Inc.
Ft. Wright, KY