Spotlight: The Carpet & Rug Institute

You probably spend a lot of time cleaning carpets. It’s no surprise, considering carpet makes up more than half of the U.S. flooring market. Facilities like carpet because in addition to being affordable and durable, it dampens noise and provides cushion underfoot.

In fact, carpet is so pervasive that it has its own trade association. The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) provides science-based education on everything from the environmental effects of carpet to preferred maintenance procedures. It also focuses on training and professional certification.

Founded in 1971, CRI’s members are manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers, representing over 90% of all carpet produced in the United States. The organization is located in Dalton, Georgia; the state is home to nine of the top 20 carpet manufacturers in the U.S. and supplies more than 45 percent of the world’s carpet and rugs.

CRI operates two proprietary testing programs that are highly respected in the jan/san industry—Seal of Approval and Green Label Plus.

Seal of Approval

CRI’s Seal of Approval (SOA) is the carpet industry’s only scientific program that tests and measures the effectiveness of vacuums, extractors, and cleaning solutions. The ratings help manufacturers like Tornado improve their products and allow consumers to make informed decisions.

CRI partnered with NASA scientists to develop the SOA, which evaluates seven performance attributes:

  1. Soil Removal Efficacy: How effective is the product at removing soil?
  2. Resoiling: Does the cleaned sample attract soil at an accelerated rate or not? (solutions and systems)
  3. Residual Moisture: Does the extractor or cleaning system remove most of the moisture that results from a wet cleaning process?
  4. Surface Appearance Change: Does the product leave the carpet minimally changed after multiple cleanings? (vacuums and extractors)
  5. Colorfastness: Does the product cause a color change in the carpet fiber? (solutions and systems)
  6. pH Level: Is the level between 4 and 10 on a pH scale? (solutions and systems)
  7. Optical Brighteners: Does the product contain optical brighteners? None are allowed for SOA certification. (solutions and systems)

Tornado has a host of SOA-certified vacuums, including many at the premiere Gold Level – the Pac-Vac 6, the CV 30/1 and CV 38/1, and the Mini Marathon 425 Carpet Extractor (Model 98150).

Green Label Plus

In the age of green cleaning, indoor air quality (IAQ) is top of mind for many facility managers. CRI’s Green Label Plus (GLP) certifies carpet, cushions, and adhesives with the lowest emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The rating helps buyers choose products that meet the most stringent criteria for low chemical emissions and that may help them earn LEED credits.

To earn certification, products undergo a three-tier testing process by an independent laboratory that measures for emissions of more than 30 chemicals. To maintain the certification, products must undergo continued compliance monitoring.

Other Work

In addition to its important certification programs, CRI also offers a plethora of credible information on its website under the “industry resources” tab. There are free research papers, fact sheets, and technical bulletins.

For members, the organization offers even more benefits, including:

  • Networking opportunities
  • Updated information on regulatory requirements
  • Member rates for SOA and GLP testing
  • Promotion in CRI communications
  • Access to statistical reporting
  • A library of instructor-led continuing education courses

To learn more about the CRI, visit the organization’s website.  

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