Carpet Cleaning is Now Rocket Science

A real life 'ray-gun' is now being aimed at earthly matters - measuring how much soil is removed from household and commercial carpet and to scientifically identify the most effective carpet cleaning extractors. The hand-held x-ray fluorescence (XRF) analyzer was developed by KeyMaster Technologies of Kennewick, Washington in cooperation with NASA to determine the composition of aluminum alloy parts on the Space Shuttle.

That same technology is now used in the new Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Seal of Approval testing program. ZeroRez was among the first to be awarded the Seal of Approval.

To qualify for the Seal, extractors must meet stringent CRI standards in all three of the following test categories:

  • Amount of soil removed from the carpet
  • Amount of residual water left in the carpet
  • Impact of the equipment on carpet fibers and appearance

To test for soil removal performance, the laboratory uses a "designer" soil that has properties similar to soil found in carpet across the United States. Using the XRF analyzer, laboratory testing staff measure the starting concentration of each compound applied to the carpet sample and, following cleaning with an extractor, then quantify the precise amount of soil removed. Soil removal efficiency is then rated on three levels. Extractors that exceed average soil removal receive a Bronze Seal rating. Those achieving higher soil removal receive a Silver rating and those receiving the highest level of measurable soil removal are awarded a Gold level Seal of Approval.

The initiative marks the first-ever transfer of NASA-enhanced technology to an entire industry. Plans are being made to test vacuum cleaners, chemicals, and even equipment operators to create certified cleaning systems. Underscoring the value that carpet manufacturers place on the program leading U.S. carpet manufacturers will begin requiring the use of CRI Seal of Approval products as part of their carpet warranties. The CRI Seal of Approval and Certified Space Technology seal help customers recognize quality products and learn the best methods for preserving the life and beauty of their carpet. The Carpet and Rug Institute, headquartered in Dalton, Georgia, is the national trade association for the carpet and rug industry. Its members are manufacturers, suppliers, and service providers, representing over 90% of all carpet produced in the United States. CRI is the source for science-based information and insight into how carpet and rugs can create a better environment - for living, working, learning and healing."

Source: Space Foundation

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