Thursday, September 29, 2011

Carpet Fiber: What Should I Know?

Carpet Fiber: What Should I Know?

Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 7th in a series

"I don't know anything about carpet fiber. Should I?" is the seventh in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website Talkfloor.com. The banners ads contain great information for consumers, from choosing the right carpet, to safeguarding a home’s indoor air quality, to keeping carpet clean and beautiful as new. Today's is about carpet and Kool-Aid stains.

Let’s go over the questions – and pay careful attention because there will be a quiz. ;-)

Carpet Question Corner #7: I don't know anything about carpet fiber. Should I?

The type of fiber used, and the way the carpet is constructed, determines its basic performance. What you choose depends on what you want from the carpet.
  • Nylon comes in a variety of color schemes, has a soft feel and excellent resiliency and durability.
  • Olefin is resistant to water stains, making it the primary fiber used in indoor/outdoor carpet.
  • Polyester features luxurious feel, inherent and permanent stain resistance, and the ability to produce bright colors.
  • Wool is a natural fiber noted for its luxury and performance. Its features include soft “hand”, high bulk, color variety and inherent flame retardant characteristics.
Visit carpet-rug.org and criblog.org to learn more.

How do you respond when consumers ask you about carpet fiber? What resources do you use to help them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

DIY Carpet Cleaning Advice From Chicago Tribune and CRI

DIY Carpet Cleaning Advice From Chicago Tribune and CRI

Carpet Cleaning Advice for do-it-yourselfers (DIY) ~ from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and Chicago Tribune

An article titled, “Carpet cleaning, removing stains without a pro”  from the Chicago Tribute contains a lot of good information. Much of it sounds familiar, perhaps because a good bit of it comes from the Carpet and Rug Institute website. No problem with that – we here at CRI are all too happy to share our carpet cleaning information!

"Carpet cleaning, removing stains without a pro" focuses on removing stains and using a rental machine like the Rug Doctor and offers the following carpet cleaning advice for doing it yourself.

“…the fibers of most modern carpets come with a stain-resist coating (such as Scotchgard), which minimizes staining if you quickly blot the spill. Use a white absorbent cloth or plain white paper towel. It's tempting to scrub the area, but that can distort and fray the carpet pile, leaving a noticeable blemish even when the stain is removed.

On set stains, test the cleaner following manufacturer's directions on a carpet sample or small section that's not in view.

Apply the cleaner and press a white cloth on it for 10 seconds or so to see if there is any color transfer. Then, to keep from spreading the stain, work from the edges toward the center — likely several times on stubborn stains — before rinsing with cold water and blotting repeatedly with paper towels until the area is dry.

With pet stains, after standard cleaning you may need to deodorize the spot so it doesn't trigger a repeat performance. As always, check the treatment, including proprietary products, on a carpet sample. Among many home remedies is foam shaving cream, applied and then gradually towel dried. Another is white vinegar diluted at least 2-to-1 in water. One of the most thorough treatments starts with a solution of two tablespoons of ammonia in one cup of water, then, after rinsing, a 1-to-2 solution of white vinegar and water.

Unlike stains, burns usually damage carpet fibers structurally and don't respond to conventional cleaning. On light-colored carpets, bleach may make a dark burn less noticeable. Or you can try clipping the burned ends even if it leaves a slight depression. If all else fails, consider a patch — cutting out a small circle and replacing it with a sample or a piece from a location where the carpet isn't seen. But even when you duplicate the pile direction, there's likely to be a slight mismatch because the covered patch won't show any effects of exposure and wear.
Deep carpet cleaning

When you can't bring a carpet to the washing machine, the solution is to bring a portable washer to the carpet. With chemicals or steam, they soak and agitate the fibers, then draw up most of the liquid along with the dirt. Manufacturers including Bissell, Hoover and Rug Doctor put their own twists on the basic cleaning system.

I tested a Bissell ProHeat 2X (about $200 with a 24-ounce container of cleaning fluid) on a large bedraggled and wrinkled rug and found it effective and easy to use. The machine heats water and cleaning fluid, brushes it into the pile, then sucks it up. (See a thorough demo at bissell.com/how-to-videos/proheat-2x/.)

With most cleaners, the drill is to clear the room, vacuum, and then stick to the instructions for deep cleaning. Adding extra chemicals or underdiluting a mix is counterproductive, and can leave discolorations instead of removing them. Work slowly to pull up as much of the cleaning solution as possible, and supply ventilation to aid drying, which often takes eight hours or more.”

Great article. Who has used a home use machine? How did it work for you? What carpet cleaning advice would you add?

~Bethany

Friday, September 23, 2011

How Do I Remove a Kool-Aid Stain Without Harming My Carpet?

How Do I Remove a Kool-Aid Stain Without Harming My Carpet?

Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 6th in a series

"How do I remove a Kool-Aid stain without harming the carpet?" is the sixth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website Talkfloor.com. The banners ads contain great information for consumers, from choosing the right carpet, to safeguarding a home’s indoor air quality, to keeping carpet clean and beautiful as new. Today's is about carpet and Kool-Aid stains.

Let’s go over the questions – and pay careful attention because there will be a quiz. ;-)

Carpet Question Corner #6: How do I remove a Kool-Aid stain without harming the carpet?

Kool-Aid is a very strong substance and in some cases, has even been used as a dye. The safest stain remover is ice cold water. Remember to use a cloth to blot the stain, and not scrub it (scrubbing can push the stain further into the carpet fiber). There are also products that can be used to lift the stains, but sometimes they can be harsh on carpet dye. 

Visit carpet-rug.org and criblog.org to learn more.


How do you answer consumers when they ask you about tough carpet stains such as Kool-Aid? What resources do you use to help them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Interface's Ray Anderson Inspires a Generation

Interface's Ray Anderson Inspires a Generation

Inspiring a generation by Werner Braun

In his August 26, 2011 column titled "Inspiring a generation" for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun remembers Ray Anderson, chairman and founder of Interface, a respected manufacturer of commercial carpet, and CRI member company. Mr. Anderson died of cancer in August, 2011 in Atlanta.

In the article, Mr. Braun mentions the first time he ever met Ray Anderson.

“It was in the early 1990s, when then-President Bill Clinton put together the President’s Council on Sustainable Development and Ray was a part of this.

And from that day forward I was impressed with how he understood and expressed his view that sustainability isn’t a place, but a vision, and that you must have a process in place in order to be able to grow.

Interface began in 1973 making modular carpet for businesses and residents, and education, health care, retail, hospitality and government facilities. By the early 1990s, Interface was a booming company located in LaGrange.

But in 1994, the 21-year-old company had a dramatic wake-up call, one that Anderson describes as “a spear in the chest”: Interface needed to head in a different direction, and its commitment to
Mission Zero began.

On its website, Mission Zero is described as a “shared mission (to) be the first company that, by its deeds, shows the entire world what sustainability is in all its dimensions: people, process, product, place and profits — and in doing so, become restorative through the power of influence.”

Interface’s “promise” is to eliminate any negative impact Interface has on the environment by 2020. To date, it has reduced energy use per unit by 43 percent, greenhouse gases have been reduced by 44 percent, and water use per unit is down 80 percent. Interface also uses 30 percent renewable energy, the amount of waste sent to landfills is down 77 percent, and recycled/bio-based raw materials are used 36 percent.

Mr. Anderson inspired a generation to rethink their companies’ missions by striving for more than the everyday norm. Ray Anderson will be remembered as the man who challenged us all to think outside the box on how to “pay back” and not “take away” from the environment.”


Thank you, Werner.

~Bethany

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What to Look For in a New Carpet Vacuum: Soil and Dust Containment

What to Look For in a New Carpet Vacuum: Soil and Dust Containment

Looking for a New Vacuum? Look for the Best.

~Carpet and Rug Institute vacuum testing program identifies the best for soil containment, indoor air quality

I was rushing through the grocery store recently, trying to get everything I needed for a last-minute dinner party, when a woman stopped me and said, “I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who walks around talking to herself.” Admittedly, I had been muttering, but I didn’t think anyone but me was listening.

One thing I have never done is talk to my vacuum cleaner, however I couldn’t help but identify with this post from Nancy Kibbee, editor at NaturalInteriors.com, who doubts her vacuum’s ability to remove and contain soil from her home – particularly since she cites the benefits of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for vacuum cleaners. The article is titled, “A Message for My Vacuum Cleaner,” and it begins: 

“You have served me well for a very long time, but there has to be something that holds dust better.”

“…I am coming to terms with reality: My vacuum cleaner is no longer the top of the line. It has seen me through every tough job, and it operates with admirable suction power. But too much of what it sucks up comes back out of its filter and it’s polluting my indoor air.

It is probably time to look for high-filtration technology, although the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) – which has a certification program for vacuum cleaners – says these costlier options are not always necessary.

For more guidance, CRI, a manufacturers’ trade organization, uses an independent laboratory to test vacuum cleaners on multiple points of performance.  CRI’s website also offers a wealth of information on how to choose the vacuum cleaner that is best suited for your carpet or flooring. For example, engaging the vacuum’s beater bar – the high speed on my vacuum cleaner – is not recommended for the wool carpet in my home.

As for dust containment, the best-performing vacuums are not always the most expensive, says Bethany Richmond, CRI communications manager. 

“That’s good news in these tight-budget times,” she says.

CRI will not give a Seal of Approval to a residential vacuum cleaner that releases more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air. There is a list of brand names and models ontheir website, which have achieved CRI’s Gold, Silver of Bronze Seal ofApproval.”

Thanks, Nancy, for helping spread the word about Seal of Approval vacuum cleaners.

How do you all feel about your vacuums?

~Bethany

Friday, September 16, 2011

How Do I Find a Good Vacuum for my Carpet?

How Do I Find a Good Vacuum for my Carpet?

Carpet Question Corner -  Carpet Q and A - 5th in a series

"I can't tell one vacuum from another, how do I find a good one?" is the fifth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website Talkfloor.com. The banner ads contain great information for consumers, from choosing the right carpet, to safeguarding a home’s indoor air quality, to keeping carpet clean and beautiful as new. Today's is about finding good vacuums.

Let’s go over the questions – and pay careful attention because there will be a quiz. ;-)

Carpet Question Corner #5: I can’t tell one vacuum from another. How do I find a good one?

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has developed the Seal of Approval program to measure cleaning effectiveness of vacuums and other cleaning systems. Tested in an independent laboratory, each product is put through a series of scientific, measurable tests. Those that perform well enough earn platinum, gold, silver and bronze medallions. For a list of the highest-rated products, visit CRI’s website (carpet-rug.org) and search Seal of Approval. In no time, you’ll find a vacuum cleaner that’s right for you.

Visit carpet-rug.org and criblog.org to learn more.

How do you answer this question? What resources do you use to explain the difference between vacuums and how one is better than the other for cleaning carpet?

Let me know in the comments.

~ Bethany

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September 11, 2001: Remember the Bravery

September 11, 2001: Remember the Bravery

A Time to Remember the Bravery by Werner Braun

In his September 9, 2011 column titled "Remember the bravery" for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun discusses his recollections of the morning of September 11 and urges readers to remember the bravery of the responders who gave their lives to save other innocents who died that day. Here are excerpts:

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, I was driving to Helen, Ga., for a conference. As I listened to the radio, the music was interrupted by a news alert that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City. 

I continued listening to the radio as I pulled into the parking lot in Helen. I walked into the hotel lobby, where I joined a group of roughly 100 concerned faces huddled around the television. 

While we were all watching, the second plane hit the remaining Twin Tower.

There were 2,977 victims, including 411 emergency workers who responded to the scene and died as they tried to rescue people and fight fires. The New York City Fire Department lost 341 firefighters. The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers, and eight emergency medical technicians (EMTs) and paramedics from private medical services units were killed.

This bravery is important to celebrate because it demonstrates the power of the human spirit in the face of terror. You hear it all the time: Public service is not an occupation, it is a calling.  On Sept. 11, we all saw men and women who went above and beyond the call of duty, sacrificing their lives for others and for their country. 

So, no matter where you are this weekend I hope you will join me in reflecting on Sept. 11, 2001. Let us remember those who lost loved ones during the horrific events, as we celebrate the bravery of those who faced death that day and refused to run.”

Thank you, Werner.

~Bethany

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Good News About Carpet and Allergies

Good News About Carpet and Allergies: Shaw Industries

Carpet and Rug Institute members help spread the word about carpet and allergies: Shaw Industries

Hats off to CRI member manufacturer Shaw Industries for helping to promote the good news about carpet, specifically, that people who suffer from allergies do not have to remove their carpets. In fact, some studies show that carpeted rooms may actually have fewer airborne allergies.

A story that appeared on a Houston, Texas television station website  and dozens of other websites referred to a 2002 Research Triangle Institute and University of North Carolina study of two North Carolina schools -- one with tile floors, and one with carpets. Investigators found that airborne allergens existed in higher concentration in the school with tiles. The article continues:

"Why? Carpet can hold a large amount of soil before it looks dirty. While it traps dust and dirt, it also holds potential allergens like mold spores and dander. Allergens cannot cause symptoms unless they become airborne and are able to be inhaled… Once trapped, allergens can be easily removed with vacuuming and steam cleaning.”

The article also mentions the report, “Carpet, Asthma and Allergy – Myth or Reality”  that was compiled for the Carpet and Rug Institute by toxicologist Dr. Mitchell Sauerhoff, Ph.D., DABT.  In that report, Dr. Sauerhoff writes that "with respect to asthma and allergies, multiple studies have reported fewer allergy and asthma symptoms associated with carpet." The story refers readers to a special section on the Shaw website on carpet and allergies.

Thanks to Shaw and all CRI members who help spread the word on the scientific research into carpet use and allergies. This is good news about carpet and allergies!

~Bethany

Friday, September 9, 2011

How Does Carpet Affect Indoor Air Quality?

How Does Carpet Affect Indoor Air Quality?

Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A 4th in a series

"Do different carpets affect indoor air quality differently?" is the fourth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website Talkfloor.com. It contains great information for consumers, from choosing the right carpet, to safeguarding a home’s indoor air quality, to keeping carpet clean and beautiful as new. Definitely worth sharing with you!

Let’s go over the questions – and pay careful attention because there will be a quiz. ;-)

Carpet Question Corner #4: Do different carpets affect indoor air quality differently?

The answer is yes. Indoor air quality (IAQ) has never been a bigger concern. Which is why the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) developed the Green Label Plus program for carpets and adhesives. Green Label Plus establishes the highest standard IAQ ever set by the industry. To receive Green Label Plus certification, carpet and adhesive products must undergo a rigorous testing process. Emissions are measured for a range of chemicals and testing is administered by an independent laboratory.

To ensure your air quality is as high as possible, go to CRI’s website (carpet-rug.org) and check the list of Green Label Plus products.

Visit carpet-rug.org and criblog.org to learn more.

How do you answer this question? What resources do you use to explain how different carpets affect indoor air quality?

Let me know in the comments.

~ Bethany

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Carpet Capital's Peacock Alley: Remembering Dalton History

The Carpet Capital's Peacock Alley: Remembering Dalton History

Remembering History in the Carpet Capital: Carpet and peacocks by Werner Braun

In his July 22, 2011 column titled "Carpet and peacocks" for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun reflects on Dalton’s history as the “Carpet Capital of the World” and how that history includes hard times as well as boom years. He contrasts the recent announcement that Carpets of Dalton, the city’s powerhouse carpet andfurnishings retailer, recently auctioned its inventory and faces “an uncertain future”.

The same week, the Downtown Dalton Development Authority announced they will display peacock statues downtown as a way to commemorate the city’s textile history.

“To talk about where you are going, you must reflect on where you have been. We’re a carpet town. For all of us Daltonians, whether native or transplanted from afar, it’s our life. And more importantly, it’s our home.

This past week we read in The Daily Citizen that the famous company “Under the Big Sign” — Carpets of Dalton — has liquidated its assets and faces “an uncertain future” after decades of selling carpet, floor covering, furniture and home accessories. 

Once upon a time, there wasn’t any carpet in Dalton. Remember, Dalton started out as the land of bedspreads and peacocks. As it says in the New Georgia Encyclopedia, Catherine Evans Whitener revived the handcraft technique of tufting in the 1890s near Dalton.

As the story goes, by the 1930s, “clotheslines bearing chenille bedspreads lined U.S. Highway 41 through Dalton and other small communities in northwest Georgia. Tourists on their way to Florida stopped to buy these spreads … of the many designs adorning the spreads the most popular among tourists was the peacock.”

One section of Highway 41 became known as “Peacock Alley” because of the peacock designs that dominated the roadside displays.

Last Friday, the Downtown Dalton Development Authority unveiled the upcoming public art project called “Peacocks on Parade,” where 10 five-foot-tall, 100-pound fiberglass peacocks will be painted and placed throughout downtown. The peacocks will be painted by Georgia artists and sponsored by an array of private citizens, businesses, corporations and community groups.     

This idea demonstrates our pride of origin and celebrates our heritage in the midst of change.  Dalton’s peacocks will continue to tell the story of Catherine Evans Whitener and the original chenille bedspreads that started it all, while reflecting on companies like Carpets of Dalton that helped make Dalton “The Carpet Capital of the World.”

Thank you, Werner.

~Bethany

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Allergy Season Tips From Carpet and Rug Institute

Allergy Season Tips From Carpet and Rug Institute

When the Environment Isn’t So Friendly: Allergy Season Tips

~information on carpet, asthma and allergy and keeping allergens away from the Carpet and Rug Institute blog
It always seems to me that allergy season comes on like gangbusters here in Georgia. One day it’s winter, and the next, the entire world is covered in a thick layer of green pollen. After lunch recently,  I walked down the quaint, tree-lined main street in Dalton, Georgia holding an open cup of iced tea. In less than a city block, there was so much pollen floating on top of that tea I couldn’t drink it.

Now, with allergy season somewhat behind us, seems like a good time to review the articles about allergies and asthma that are posted on the Carpet and Rug Institute Blog. 

Keep allergens out of your nose!

Dr John Antalis, a physician specializing in the treatment of patients with allergies describes his simple, low-cost method for helping patients keep allergens out of the most important interior space of all – their noses! He recommends allergy patients rinse their noses out four times a day (or more during allergy season) with an over-the-counter saline nasal spray. This is in addition to their prescription medications. His theory is that, since we can’t keep allergens out of our lives, we can at least keep them out of our noses.

Use walk off mats to keep allergens outside!

An article from the Housekeeping Channel explains why clean carpet is important, especially for allergy sufferers.

An article on the medical information site WebMD recommends walk off mats for keeping pollen and allergens outside, and a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter, similar to the ones found in the list of GoldLevel-rated vacuums in the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval VacuumTesting Program. The article also suggests getting your carpets steam cleaned every year to eliminate dust mite and other allergens. Good idea: CRI has a list of Seal ofApproval Service Providers listed by zip code to make it easier to find a carpet cleaning professional in your area.

Dispel myths about carpet and allergies! 

For more detailed information, there’s a post about a special portal on the CRI website with information for healthcare providerswith information about carpets in relation to asthma and allergy symptoms. And this one, about an article in the magazine National Floor Trends called, “Scientific Facts Dispel Myths about Carpet

Change filters and deep clean your carpet to keep those allergens out!

Some of my favorite advice about carpets and allergies I found on the website for an Atlanta-area carpet cleaner. Under the heading: “Pollen Season – Indoors?”, it says:

“Carpets looking a little yellowy? Keep windows and doors closed, change the furnace filters and leave shoes at the door. Then get your carpets thoroughly and deeply cleaned of all that pollen dust!”

Who could argue with that?

Remove allergens and tobacco smoke to breathe better!

Last, but certainly not least, there are two blog articles describing a medical study that looked at inner-city children with asthma and how changes in their home environments brought about significant benefits to their health. (See Childhood Asthma Study: Carpet vs. Uncarpeted Homes and Childhood Asthma Study: Part 2 - Carpet, No Carpet? No Difference.) The study mentions how, when allergens and tobacco smoke were removed from their homes, asthmatic children breathed a lot easier. Incidentally, no differences in symptom relief were detected between kids who lived in carpeted homes vs. those who didn’t. Similarly, no differences in the allergen levels could be detected in the carpeted vs. hard-surface homes.

Read Carpet and Rug Institute's blog articles about carpet, allergy season, asthma and improving indoor air quality!

Here’s a list of more articles on the CRI blog that address carpet and indoor air quality, asthma, and allergy. If you have any more questions, let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.  
See any other sources that belong here? Send them to me – Bethany(at)carpet-rug.org

Thanks!

~Bethany

Image credit: Atlanta's Star 94.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Happy Labor Day 2011 from the Carpet and Rug Institute

Happy Labor Day 2011

to all of you from all of us at the

Carpet and Rug Institute!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Labor Day holiday.
Be safe, have fun, and - once again - join me in gratitude for being employed.

~Bethany


Image credit: Labor Stamp

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Yellowstone and Carpet Industry Form Recycling Partnership

Yellowstone and Carpet Industry Form Recycling Partnership

Yellowstone National Park, carpet industry, form recycling partnership

In his June 3, 2011 column titled "Carpet industry 'making it in America'" for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun describes an innovative partnership between the carpet industry and Yellowstone National Park that helps the economy as well as the environment. The partnership involves Dalton carpet backing manufacturer Universal Textile Technologies and Yellowstone National Park.

“Universal Textile has committed to purchasing the recyclable, plastic bottles Yellowstone collects every year and converting them into a non-woven, fleece material that will be used to manufacture Universal Textile’s BioCel and EnviroCel high-performance backings for carpet and synthetic turf.

Universal Textile explains that, like a lot of recyclable materials collected in America, most plastics collected in Yellowstone had previously been shipped overseas. There, they were used to produce plastic products that were later shipped back and sold in the U.S.

This partnership can now change that course of action by keeping the plastic right here in America. This creates (and protects) jobs for the American workforce by reducing the amount of plastic bottles that go into landfills and it helps Yellowstone meet its recycling goals.

Most of of all, the partnership between Universal Textile Technologies and Yellowstone National Park is a great example of a model system that can help increase the demand for recycled content in American-made products. The way it’s explained on the Universal Textile website, eventually, Yellowstone will have the opportunity to purchase carpets that have the recycled content from the plastic bottles collected from the park, bringing the recycle story full circle.

…I have always been proud of how the carpet industry has taken the lead on recycling and innovation, always looking for new ways to protect the environment and help the economy.”


Thank you, Werner!

Can you think of other examples of the carpet industry 'making it in America' to recycle? Let me know in the comments.

~Bethany
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