Carpet Cleaning: 7 Standards to Know
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), a carpet industry trade association, has developed a comprehensive program to test the effectiveness of different carpet cleaning products and methods.
To accomplish this, the CRI turned to NASA for assistance. Scientists collected real-world soil samples from around the country and analyzed them to identify the primary compounds. They then used these or closely related substances to formulate a standardized and consistent carpet soil mixture that could be used in all the CRI tests. The standardized formula ensured cleaning tests could be consistently replicated across all cleaning products and systems, so test results were both accurate and measurable.
Seven key performance standards anchor the program. The first three focus on equipment and the remaining four emphasize cleaning solutions:
- Soil removal efficacy
Key question: Does the cleaning product effectively remove soil?
The CRI uses enhanced x-ray florescence (XRF) technology to precisely measure how much soil is removed.
- Water removal
Key question: In wet cleaning methods, how effectively is residual moisture removed?
Carpet samples are weighed before and after wet cleaning to determine how much moisture remains in the fibers after the cleaning process is completed.
- Texture retention
Key question: Is the carpet pile unharmed and the surface minimally changed?
The CRI has an established Texture Appearance Retention Reference Grading Scale that it uses to visually score the impact of cleaning equipment on surface texture.
Key question: Does the cleaned area attract dirt at an accelerated rate?
Comparisons are made between carpet samples to determine if the method or solutions encourage cleaned areas to attract soil faster.
Key question: Is the carpet fiber altered?
Carpet pile is evaluated to determine if the cleaning solution alters the color in any way.
- pH Level
Key question: Is the right pH level achieved?
A neutral pH level between 4 and 10 helps ensure carpet fibers and dyes aren’t damaged by the cleaning process.
- Optical brighteners
Key question: Is the product free from optical brighteners?
Optical brighteners aren’t permitted, because they affect carpet appearance and leave some areas lighter than others.
Cleaning products, extraction equipment and integrated systems that achieve above average test results on the seven performance standards obtain the CRI Seal of Approval, which has four effectiveness ratings: Bronze (55% to 69%); Silver (70% to 79%); Gold (80% to 89%); and Platinum (90% to 100%).
Once you know the standards and understand the ratings, you can select a professional company that uses the most effective carpet cleaning solutions and equipment.