The easiest way to determine if a carpet extractor is green is to look for the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval. Machines bearing this seal remove significant amounts of soil from the carpeting, leading to better indoor air quality. Machines earn one of four ratings — Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum — based on how much soil is removed. Platinum rated extractors remove at least 90 percent of soil.

In addition, Seal of Approval machines remove most of the water from the carpet, resulting from the wet cleaning process. Wet carpets present a safety hazard to building occupants, as they could slip and fall while walking from wet carpet to hard flooring. Wet carpet also breeds bacteria, mold and fungus.

Finally, approved products will not harm carpet pile, helping the flooring to retain its texture.

CRI’s Seal of Approval evaluates performance, but there are a couple other green attributes of extractors not covered in the program. Carpet equipment can also be considered green if it uses less water and chemicals to clean, or if it cleans using cold water, helping to save energy.