In a continuing expansion of its Seal of Approval carpet cleaning testing and certification program, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has announced two major “green” additions:  higher performing vacuum cleaners that improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and green cleaning chemical certification.
The CRI Seal of Approval program currently identifies superior carpet cleaning solutions and equipment that, when properly used, remove soil and stains without damage to the carpet.
“The Seal of Approval program sets a new standard for carpet cleaning effectiveness, and we are raising the bar again by enhancing standards for vacuum cleaning performance. At the same time, we are partnering with nationally recognized green certifiers to ensure that a product not only cleans effectively but also is environmentally friendly,” said Werner Braun, CRI president.
Tough New Vacuum Standards for Soil Removal and IAQ
CRI’s long established Green Label vacuum cleaner program employs an independent testing laboratory to measure soil removal, containment of dirt and dust within the machine and carpet fiber protection. The new Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum program is a tiered program with the entry level of Bronze requiring a 10 percent improvement of cleaning performance over the existing Green Label program.
In addition to even tougher standards for Silver and Gold performance levels, a Gold level machine must also meet a higher dust containment standard to insure a better air quality standard. The new gold standard requires that a machine has no more than 35 micrograms of dust particle emission. The old standard allowed for 100 micrograms of dust particle emission.
“The consumer will soon be associating the Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum program with excellent cleaning and improved indoor air quality,” added Braun.
The Seal of Approval/Green Label vacuum program will utilize NASA’s X-ray fluorescence technology (XRF) to measure soil removal more accurately and clearly differentiate performance levels.  The new program also qualifies vacuum manufacturers who obtain the Seal of Approval to display the seal of the Space Foundation, which helps promote consumer applications for space technology.

Manufacturers in the current Green Label vacuum program will retain certification for their machines until 2010, at which time the program will be phased out.
New Green Chemical Certification
To certify that Seal of Approval cleaning products do not damage the environment, CRI is partnering with Green Seal and the U.S Environmental Protection Agency’s “Design for the Environment program.” CRI intends to add nationally recognized green product partners so that Seal of Approval manufacturers have a choice of certifiers.

“CRI does not recommend any specific program or programs over another,” said Braun.  “We want to encourage all cleaning product manufacturers to review their products to ensure they clean to a high standard and are also environmental friendly.”
In order to become a Seal of Approval green product, the manufacturer must provide CRI with documentation from one of the green partner organizations attesting that its product meets the certifier’s criteria for environmental friendliness.
According to a recent trade magazine survey of carpet cleaners, more than 80 percent of carpet cleaning companies recognize the CRI Seal of Approval as identifying effective carpet cleaning extractors.  A list of all Seal of Approval cleaning products can be found at