New Seal of Approval program encourages improvement, CRI
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."