Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Carpet Cleaning Strategies for Facilities

Growing up a sports nut, I always understood the strength of a sound strategy. 

If you are a facility manager, having a carpet cleaning strategy can keep your carpet visually appealing and long lasting. But if you don’t have a strategy in place, it can be a daunting task to create one for your facility

Thankfully, Cleanlink.com released a comprehensive guide a few years ago focused on carpet cleaning strategies and we thought it would be best to share their guide along with some advice from The Carpet and Rug Institute.

The most basic strategies in keeping carpet clean are:

Effective entryway mats

A majority of the dirt that enters a building can be removed by walk-off mats. Remember to clean the mats on a regular basis, otherwise their soil-removing capability will be compromised.

Walk-off mats are effective tools in the fight against carpet soiling, but it is important to remember that they need to be cleaned too. These mats should be cleaned 1-3 times per day depending on how dirty they are.

Vacuum on a regular basis

Probably the most powerful cleaning method for carpet, and the simplest to use, is the vacuum cleaner. A daily or consistent vacuum cleaning program will pay off.

Vacuuming removes dirt and other particles that can damage carpet fibers. CRI’s Seal of Approval program certifies carpet cleaning solutions and equipment, including vacuums, to help keep carpet clean and long lasting. Here is a list of SOA-approved vacuum cleaners.

Remove stains and spills as soon as they appear

The most effective way to keep spots and stain from proliferating in your facility is to treat the spot as soon as it appears. Successfully removing a spot or stain is largely contingent upon how long the spot is allowed to “set” before removal. A quick response to cleaning a stain is also advisable to keep a stain from recurring. Often, clean water and a clean cloth will remove a large percentage of stains and spots.

When water alone is not enough, it is best to keep a Seal of Approval certified cleaning solution handy for those stains that are bound to happen.

Bonus Tip: Professional Carpet Cleaning

Professional carpet cleaning removes the dirt and stains that normal cleaning are not able to handle. A periodic deep cleaning restores the look of carpet by removing debris and stains you may be unable to remove.

By following these carpet cleaning tips you will be able to keep your facility’s carpet clean and long-lasting.

- Paul

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Cleaning: Cleaning Carpet for the New Season

I remember when I was growing up there was a commercial for a local garden store that declared, “It’s spring time!”

The recent rise in temperatures and the arrival of beautiful days here in the Carpet Capital have made me want to declare spring is here, and with it the annual practice, and necessity, of spring cleaning.

Everyone has a different ritual for spring cleaning. Some people like to focus on the outdoors with gardening and landscaping while others prefer to concentrate on tidying up inside their homes.

For this edition of the CRI Blog, we’ll be focusing on getting your carpet and rugs in tip-top shape for the new season.

Here are some tips for your spring cleaning campaign:

Recommit to Vacuuming

Spring cleaning is a great time to recommit to vacuuming more frequently. Consistent vacuuming eliminates exposure to allergens and other airborne particles, which are more prevalent in the spring.

Remember, different areas will need to be vacuumed more often than others. CRI recommends:

High-traffic and pet-occupied areas: Daily
Medium-traffic areas: Two times per week
Light-traffic areas: Weekly

Call in the Professionals

A professional carpet cleaner (CRI recommends a Seal of Approval certified service provider) will restore the beauty of your carpet by removing dirt and stains you might not be able to otherwise remove. If you haven’t had a professional clean your carpet in a while, spring cleaning might be the perfect time to refresh your carpet with a deep cleaning. You can browse a list of SOA-certified cleaners in your neighborhood here.

Clean Your Door Mats and Area Rugs

Entrance mats are effective tools for defending your home against dirt. However, they need to be cleaned to maximize their effectiveness at trapping dirt and keeping it out of your home. Regularly shaking out the mat and vacuuming it will remove much of the dirt, but refer to the owner’s manual for advanced washing techniques.

Area rugs can spruce up any room, but their cleaning can be overlooked, similar to door mats. Be sure to regularly vacuum and have them cleaned. As with door mats, refer to the recommended cleaning techniques in the owner’s manual for best results. Many SOA-certified cleaners offer rug cleaning, either in your home or at their facilities. Make sure to ask.

Clean carpet is the base of a beautiful home and by following these spring cleaning tips you will be able to keep your carpet fresh and beautiful for the wonderful seasons to come.

Have some spring cleaning advice of your own? Share it in the comments below.

- Paul 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Mohawk Employees Give Back to Wounded Veterans

Workers donate flooring to Building For America's Bravest

Mohawk Industries is partnering with Building for America’s Bravest to provide flooring in 46 customized “smart homes” for severely wounded veterans.

Mohawk hosted the 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit at their Calhoun headquarters in early March for employees, community leaders, local firemen and wounded veterans to view the exhibit.

Cpl. Todd Love, one of the wounded veterans in attendance, will receive a customized “smart home” from Building for America’s Bravest. Cpl. Love is a former Marine who sustained injuries when he stepped on an IED on patrol in Afghanistan. The accident left him without both legs and one arm.

Despite the loss of his legs and left arm, Cpl. Love has not become a victim of his injuries and has taken to multiple extreme sports since his accident.

“I’ve fallen in love with skiing and skydiving” he said. “They’re both very much a passion that I look forward to trying to keep as a full time hobby.”

Cpl. Love shared his inspiring story with Kemp Harr of FloorDaily.net – which you can hear more about in the video above.

His new home is currently under construction, but Cpl. Love is excited about it.

"I’m looking forward to getting a home and one that's accessible and hopefully I'll have it for the rest of my life," he said.

The Carpet and Rug Institute thanks Mohawk for donating to this causes that will have a tremendous impact on the lives of our veterans.

- Paul

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Werner Braun Says Farewell to the Carpet and Rug Institute

Rep. Tom Graves presents Werner with an official
US flag flown over the US Capitol.
For the past 14 years, I have had the honor of serving as the president of the Carpet and Rug Institute.

But now it’s time to pass the torch to my successor, Joe Yarbrough. He’s experienced, knowledgeable and will lead CRI well. We’re fortunate to have him at the helm of this important organization.

When I think back on my tenure here at the carpet industry’s trade association, I think of a group of people and companies that have consistently banded together for the good of the industry as a whole.

One quality I’ve always appreciated about the talented and capable members of the CRI board is how each of these very diverse individuals, often representing competing interests, always manage to work as a team.

I have valued the relationships I have been able to establish over the years not only in the carpet and rug industry, but also in the numerous related businesses. You’ve been great to work with, and I’m delighted to have known every one of you.

I’m also incredibly grateful to my talented staff. They haven’t just served CRI and its members; they’ve served the larger community in many ways. And they aren’t “just a staff” to me nor are they “just a staff” to each other. They’re a very close-knit group that has become, in essence, a family. I’m proud to include them in mine.

While I look forward to retirement, spending more time with my wife and family and pursuing a myriad of interests and hobbies, I have to confess that I will miss my staff, my CRI board members, and the hundreds of wonderful industry folks that I’ve been privileged to know and work with over the past 14 years.

Sooner than I ever imagined possible, it is, indeed, time to say farewell. And it’s also time to say thank you. Thank you and God bless.

- Werner

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Welcome CRI’s New President, Joe Yarbrough!

This is a big week for the Carpet and Rug Institute as we welcome our new president, Joe Yarbrough.

A Georgia native, Joe comes to CRI after more than 30 years with Mohawk Industries, where he most recently served as senior vice president of advanced manufacturing engineering.

He has expressed enthusiasm about his new position with the carpet industry trade group.

"I look forward to working with the CRI member companies and their representatives and the dedicated CRI staff in order to advance the mission and objectives of this great organization," he said.

He might be new in his position with CRI, but Joe has been actively involved with many CRI committees, including serving as the former chairman of the Strategic Issues Leadership Council.

Joe’s dedication to the carpet industry is evidenced by his illustrious career. However, he also has a heart for the Dalton community, where he has committed his much of his time to organizations like Ross Woods Adult Day Services and the Greater Dalton Chamber of Commerce.

On behalf of the entire CRI staff, I say, “Welcome, Joe.” We are looking forward to your energy and leadership here at the Carpet and Rug Institute.

- Paul

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

CRI President Werner Braun Discusses His Upcoming Retirement with FloorDaily.net

President Werner Braun is retiring from The Carpet and Rug Institute after leading the organization for 14 years.

Werner recently spoke with Kemp Harr, of FloorDaily.net, to discuss his early life, career and what he is planning for the future.

Werner was born in Stuttgart, Germany, before immigrating to the United States with this family.

“We came over in 1949, three suitcases to our name and didn’t speak any English,” he said.

Werner grew up in Indianapolis, IN, earned a degree in Chemistry from St. Edward’s University, in Austin, TX, and worked at The Dow Chemical Company and Chlorine Chemistry Council before coming to CRI.

Werner also spoke on his impending retirement and what he will miss most about his position.

“I’m going to miss the wonderful people that I’ve gotten to know across the industry,” he said.

At a retirement party on March 18th, family, friends and colleagues from across the industry gathered to pay tribute and say farewell to the longtime CRI president.

When asked about what the future holds, Werner said that he and his family will be staying in Dalton and donating time to the community that he loves.

“There will be more opportunities [for volunteering] than I can probably handle, but it’s part of my giving back to this country,” he said.

For everyone at CRI, thank you, Werner, for your dedication to CRI and this wonderful industry.

- Paul

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

EPA’s “Breathe Easies”: Cute Puppets with a Big Message on Asthma Prevention

A friend sent me this blog post from the EPA. It talks about a new public service campaign from the EPA and the Ad Council designed to teach kids with asthma and their parents how to avoid the most common and powerful asthma triggers: mold, dust, and smoke.

The three public service announcements in the campaign feature colorful puppets who sing and dance as members of the “The Breathe Easies” the world’s most famous (and only) asthma-rock band. The catchy tunes they sing, with titles like, “Don’t Smoke in the House” reinforce the idea that proper cleaning and maintenance is the best way to keep your house safe for kids with asthma.

There’s a website that goes along with the campaign called, NoAttacks.org. it has lots more information as well as games and activities for kids.

As a carpet person, I am heartened to see that the message from the EPA is to clean floors rather than remove the carpets. As a parent, I love the creativity behind this fun and compelling messaging about how to keep kids healthy. I promise you - watch “Vacuum Up the Floor” or either of the other two music videos from the “Breathe Easies” and you’ll be tapping your foot to the beat all afternoon. I sure did!

- Bethany

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Four Tips for Selecting the Right Carpet

I have always been a methodical shopper. I compare things like price per unit and nutritional facts on products at the grocery store all the time, much to the dismay of my fellow shoppers.

It can be confusing to shop around trying to find the best product, and flooring is no exception. It can be a daunting task to find the best style, color, and type of carpet for your home, but Doug Berjer, a product manager for carpet cleaning equipment manufacturer CFR Corporation, recently released some helpful tips on CleanLink.com on selecting the right carpet.

Here are his tips with some added advice from the Carpet and Rug Institute:
  • VOCs: Most carpets are now manufactured with fewer Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). These carpets have a reduced impact on building users and the environment.

    Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a concern for many people as they can be found throughout homes, including in carpet. Thankfully, CRI’s Green Label Plus program certifies that carpet is among the lowest VOC-emitting products in your home. Look for the GLP logo (above) when you’re shopping for new carpet.
  • Padding: Typically, carpeting requires a layer of padding to help protect the carpet and reduce wear.

    Choosing the correct pad also adds extra comfort and support for feet. VOCs are also an issue with carpet padding, but CRI’s Green Label program certifies that carpet padding is a low-VOC emitting product.

  • Read the warranty: Carpet warranties are often long and complicated; however, they are a must-read before making a selection.

    Carpet manufacturers’ warranties are full of information about best practice, including cleaning and maintenance. When reading the warranty, mark important sections for future reference.

  • Cleaning: Many carpet manufacturers recommend their carpets be cleaned using the extraction method to protect the warranty.

    Carpet cleaning is the best way to keep your carpet beautiful and lasting and CRI recommends carpet be professionally cleaned every 12-18 months. For a full list of Seal of Approval service providers in your area, click here.
It is best to be informed when making an investment in carpet and with these tips you will be prepared to make the right purchase.

- Paul

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Toxic vs. Hazardous: The Issue of Coal Fly Ash

Coal fly ash is used in many home building supplies.
Image credit: Royce Hansman
As a former chemist and toxicologist, I have a pretty good understanding of the difference between a substance which contains toxins but does not pose a health risk and a toxin-containing substance that should be considered hazardous.

I’ve noticed over the years that the definitions of toxicity and hazard are frequently confused, both in popular understanding and among government regulators. This last fact can have dramatic impacts on policy decisions.

Let’s look at an innocuous example; water. Water is an element necessary for life that we need to consume every day, but water can be harmful to someone who can’t swim, for example.

So, even the most useful substances can become hazardous under the “right,” or wrong, conditions.

This comes to my mind because of recent concerns raised by the environmental community concerning coal fly ash.

For those who aren’t familiar with coal fly ash, it’s basically a component of the generation of electricity made from coal. Looking at it under a microscope, coal fly ash is essentially small glass beads.

Currently, coal fly ash is being “captured” at coal-fired power plants and is reused in the production of materials designed for the building industry, such as cement and bricks, wallboard, and in some instances, carpet backing. This process provides a way to recycle and reuse material that would otherwise be sent to landfills.

Why is there a concern then?

Around five or six years ago, some impounded coal ash held in collection pits was accidentally released into a stream when an earthen dam failed, causing environmental damage for many downstream residents.

That was definitely a problem, but the event generated a movement to regulate coal fly ash and to label it as a hazardous substance.

It’s very clear that the answer isn’t to ban the use of coal fly ash altogether, or classify it as a hazardous substance, but rather to regulate coal fly ash impoundment appropriately.

- Werner

To read more on Toxicity vs. Hazardous Substances, click here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Carpet and Rug Institute at SURFACES 2014

This year I participated in one of the flooring industry’s most venerable traditions - the Surfaces trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada. I had never been to Vegas before I came to work at the Carpet and Rug Institute, and now I have been to Sin City three times in the last year – all for work, but that’s okay.

SURFACES, or The International Surfaces Event, as it is officially called, is a stunning exposition for the flooring industry. It takes place in late January every year, and for the last several years has been held at the Mandalay Bay resort and convention center.

I enjoyed seeing Surfaces. There are so many aspects to the flooring industry – retailers, inspectors, installers, cleaning equipment manufacturers, and Surfaces is the place for them all – whether they’re buying or selling, teaching and learning, enjoying the Vegas nightlife, or all of the above.

We stayed busy at the CRI booth talking about some important research performed by the Irish air quality testing company Airmid Healthgroup that shows that having carpet on the floor lowers the levels of dust in the air. (Read more about the research here.)

We also showed folks how they can use the CRI Blog and our updated ebook for retailers as a source for quick and easy updates to their businesses’ Facebook pages and social media. And as always, we handed out copies of CRI’s ever-popular booklet, “Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies.” If by chance you missed getting your copy, you can buy them singly or by the case off the CRI website.

For my part, I enjoyed seeing our CRI member companies at work in their booths doing what they do best – showing and selling their beautiful products to their customers.

After the show was over, I was exhausted. I’m not exactly Vegas high roller material. I went to bed early (almost) every night and was still dragging by the time I boarded my flight home. Still, I am already looking forward to next year’s SURFACES.

Were you at this year’s show? Let’s hear about your experience in the comments below!

- Paul

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