Thursday, December 29, 2011

Happy 2012 from the Carpet and Rug Institute!

Happy 2012 from the Carpet and Rug Institute!

Happy and Healthy

New Year 2012 to all of you!

Anthony, Bethany, Frank, Georgina,
James, Jason, Jeff, Jennifer, Joy, Ken,
Linda, Louise, Pat H., Pat J., Ryan,
Susan, and Werner

Image Credit: Dobson Floors Blog - New Year, New Floor

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Asthma, Allergies, Carpet and Flooring: Advice From Carpet Cleaner

Asthma, Allergies, Carpet and Flooring: Advice From Carpet Cleaner

Most Popular Post on CRI Blog: Great Carpet Advice for Asthma/ Allergy Sufferers from Carpet Cleaning Professional

Of all the scientific research about asthma and carpet vs. hard flooring, professional opinion on asthma and allergy and technical information dispelling myths about carpet and allergies or asthma I have written about on the CRI Blog, the most popular and most frequently read article since we started publishing in April, 2009 comes from a carpet cleaning professional.

Written by David Gruttadaurio of UBS Clean Care in Indiana, the article, Great Carpet Advice for Asthma/Allergy Sufferers is an entertaining balance of professional knowledge mixed with some of the best common sense advice on the subject I have ever read. Gotta love a straight-talking Hoosier.

The first question he asks readers is:

Is ripping out the carpet the answer for asthma and/or allergy sufferers?

To which he replies,

“This is what I do know for sure - only 12 people out of 100 clean their carpeting… ever. Of that number, about a third chooses to do it themselves. Vacuuming? Most people say they vacuum every week. The honest ones tell me they’re lucky to vacuum the carpets once a month...

How many people would tolerate their hard surface flooring (tile, wood, etc.) having spills and food and mud and grease all over it… and then keep it that way for years!...

Is it any wonder that health issues are aggravated by an unhealthy and bacteria infested carpet? It’s not the poor carpet’s fault. All it needs is routine maintenance.

How routine? Vacuum it twice a week with a quality vacuum that has high-efficiency micro-filtration bags. Micro-filtration bags will trap even the tiniest of particles, such as dust mites and their feces, to keep it from becoming airborne.

Then have it professionally cleaned at least once a year (preferably twice a year). Every major carpet manufacturer recommends this same routine."

Thank you David.  And if you are looking for a vacuum that removes soil, contains that soil in the machine, and does all of that and takes care of your carpet in the bargain, look no farther than the list of the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval-certified vacuums on the CRI website.

Next, David tackles the question of hard versus soft floors and what difference they make to the quality of the air indoors. (Spoiler alert: He talks about dust mite doo-doo.)

The flooring construction issue: hard vs. soft. Which is better for allergy or asthma sufferers?

“Many people feel that since hard flooring is… well, hard… that it’s a more sanitary surface since there is no place for the dust to settle. And this is true. But if you are an allergy or asthma sufferer, this is really bad news.

The very ‘complaint’ that people have about carpeting is actually its best characteristic: The fact that it has soft and fuzzy fibers make it act like a filter or a sink. It traps and holds all of the junk and contaminants we haul in to our homes on our clothing and shoes.

Hard floors cannot do that. The dust (a lot of which is dust mite do-do) has nowhere to land so it’s constantly airborne and being breathed in.

In fact, one way to prove that to you is to watch the air in a home when the sun is shining through a window. With clean, carpeted surfaces, you see some dust in the air, but not much. In a home with hard floors, you see much more dust because there is less surface in the home that holds onto dust.
Even if your vacuum doesn't have a good filter bag, these dust-mite allergens disappear from the air about 20 minutes after vacuuming. This is because they are heavy enough that they’ve settled back down into the carpet. And if the vacuum uses micro-filtration bags or if it has a HEPA filter, the allergens are efficiently removed before even becoming airborne during vacuuming."

David outlines the following two options for asthma or allergy sufferers:

#1: Have carpet in the home hold onto contaminants, keeping them away from your breathing space, and remove these contaminants with regular vacuuming and cleaning...

#2: Have hard floors in the home, which do not hold contaminants but instead allows them to "hang out" in the air, likely triggering allergen reactions from the occupants...

Here’s the bottom line of living with carpeting: Your carpet is a terrific filter. But you gotta clean it! If you don’t, the pollens, dander, dust, etc. will build up until your carpet is completely overrun with this stuff, aggravating allergies, asthma and many other breathing conditions.”

Thank you, David, for contributing so much good information in a readable and believable way. How does it feel to be Number One at talking about dust mite number two?

Readers, how often do you encounter recommendations to rip out carpet to benefit asthma and allergy sufferers? How often does that solve the problem?

~ Bethany

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Joyous Holidays From The Carpet and Rug Institute!

Joyous Holidays From The Carpet and Rug Institute!

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and a joyous season for all!

Anthony, Bethany, Frank, Georgina,
James, Jason, Jeff, Jennifer, Joy, Ken,
Linda, Louise, Pat H., Pat J., Ryan,
Susan, and Werner

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Carpet Recycling To Handle Carpet Waste

CLEAR says Recycling, an Attractive Method for Handling Carpet Waste Carpet Recycler: No Mandates, Please. CLEAR says Recycling, an Attractive Method for Handling Carpet Waste.

There is no question that the American carpet industry has taken a leadership role in carpet stewardship and product recycling. In just the last decade when such measurements began,  more than two billion pounds of waste carpet have been reclaimed from landfills in the U.S. and recycled or otherwise reused. The fact that the carpet industry’s role in all of this was taken on voluntarily is also impressive, especially in light of critics who contend that industry does not take action to protect the environment unless forced to by some form of government or another.

Controversy exists over who should ultimately be responsible for disposing of products we no longer need, and battle lines are usually drawn between those who say manufacturers should pay for everything and those who say governments should bear the costs.

So I was interested in this web page posting from CLEAR, a national carpet and pad recycler located in the Milwaukee area. The site states, “CLEAR Carpet Recycling shares the opinion that laws, mandates and legislation are not needed to make carpet recycling an attractive method of handling carpet waste.”

Under the heading, “All in Favor of New Taxes, Say ‘Aye’”, CLEAR  outlines the company’s position on carpet stewardship, saying that carpet stewardship is, in effect  a form of tax or a fee, “assessed by a governing body and charged by a retailer when new carpet is purchased.”

California is the first state to impose such a fee, (or, as the state calls it, an assessment) on carpet. Beginning in July, 2011, California law AB 2398 requires consumers to pay an additional 0.05 per-square yard for new carpet. This fund is administered by the non-profit Carpet America Recovery Effort and the money is used to promote carpet recycling. CLEAR Recycling supports CARE’s position that recycling and landfill diversion efforts work best when the free market system controls the process. The CLEAR site says:

Over the past few years, carpet recycling has grown dramatically. The number of companies involved in carpet recycling, from the collection to the processing, continues to expand. The carpet recycling sector is experiencing a gold-rush of sorts, as players enter the market and claim their turf.

If the trend continues and companies like CLEAR are successful in setting up carpet recycling in large parts of the country, additional stewardship laws will not be needed

Finally, it points consumers to the map on the CARE website that tracks U.S. carpet recyclers

What do you think?

Thanks to CLEAR for helping make this new business model work for them and ultimately, for all of us.

~ Bethany 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Carpet Cleaning Tips and Advice

Carpet Cleaning Tips and Advice from Werner Braun

Carpet Cleaning Tips and Advice for Cold-Weather Carpets

In his November 4, 2011 column titled Random Facts About Carpet for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun offers some valuable carpet cleaning tips as well as some inside information about carpet and static electricity.

“While many new carpets are manufactured using conductive fiber in the face yarn that is durable and protective even for modern day electronics, the static performance of a carpet may be altered in service as a result of wear, soiling, cleaning, temperature, relative humidity, etc. Changes in any of these variables can alter the amount of static electricity that is generated in carpet and, therefore, the degree of shock. However, studies have revealed that static electricity does not become a problem with most people until the relative humidity drops below 40 percent.

The next set of random carpet facts are to help remove those pesky stains that happen in everyday life.

To remove ink, from a ballpoint pen for example, use rubbing alcohol (70 percent isopropyl). Apply the rubbing alcohol to a cloth or paper towel and do not pour the rubbing alcohol directly on the spot.

To remove blood from carpet, rinse the spot quickly with cool water. Then follow with an approved cleaning solution from the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval products or a mix of 1/4 teaspoon clear (nonbleach, nonlanolin) dishwashing liquid with one cup cool water. Blot and dry quickly.

Wine stains also come out with the very same dishwashing detergent solution found in the blood remedy above. Blot, repeat and dry.

Fingernail polish can be removed using a non-acetone fingernail polish remover. Simply apply a small amount of the remover on a white cloth and work it in from the edges of the spill to the center, and continue to blot the area using lukewarm tap water. Dry the spot with a clean cloth.

So as “random” as these carpet facts might seem, they’re all available to help make you a carpet “expert,” because life gets messy and there are “shocking” moments, but you will know how to keep your house clean and static free amongst the chaos.”

Thanks, Werner!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Carpet Recycling: Georgina Sikorski on CARE Entrepreneurs Meeting

Georgina Sikorski on 2011 CARE Entrepreneurs Meeting

The Large (and small) Business of Carpet Recycling: Georgina Sikorski on the 2011 Carpet America Recovery Effort Entrepreneurs’ Meeting

In an interview posted on the Talkfloor TV flooring news site, interviewer Dave Foster spoke to Georgina Sikorski, Executive Director of Carpet America recovery Effort, or CARE, a non-profit group whose mission is to increase the landfill diversion, recycling and reuse of post-consumer carpet in the United States. The annual CARE Entrepreneurs meeting is a chance for people involved in carpet recycling, as well as those who are considering entering the field, to meet and discuss issues of interest.

In the interview, MS. Sikorski said approximately 90 people attended the Eighth Annual CARE Entrepreneurs’ Meeting, which was held October 26, 2011 at the Atlanta Airport Marriot in College Park, Georgia. Attendees classified themselves as carpet collectors, processors, collector/processors, carpet manufacturers and finished product producers (people or companies that make saleable products using post-consumer carpet content).

Ms. Sikorski noted a few planned additions to the CARE website, including the “CARE Exchange” which serves as a 24/7 connection for everyone in the value chain, and the updated U.S. map on the CARE homepage that now features click-through details on the collectors and processors listed.  An updated reclamation calculator is also new on the website. The calculator helps architects and designers calculate how much benefit their carpet diversion has created, in terms of landfill space, energy conservation, etc. Ms. Sikorski pointed out that the network of carpet collectors has grown to 110 across the U.S. Collectors are expanding their territories, in some cases, she said, establishing several collecting sites around one processing hub.

On the AB 2398 Carpet Recycling Program in California, Ms. Sikorski said there have been “very few issues” for retailers in the first few months of collecting the 5-cents per square yard assessment the law requires on carpet sold or shipped into the state. She said CARE will report on the amounts collected at the group’s annual meeting in the spring. She said CARE was in “a good position for growth.”

As always, Ms. Sikorski said CARE is focused on new product development.  Several new products are currently under review and testing for specification into other products, she said, adding that it is vital that CARE works with the plastics industry to find outlets for post-consumer carpet content. She noted that several end-product manufacturers attended the Entrepreneurs’ Meeting to evaluate PCC carpet materials for possible inclusion in their products.

Click on this link to download and view the TalkFloorTV interview with Georgina Sikorski in its entirety.

~ Bethany

Friday, December 9, 2011

How Do I Match Carpet to Carpet Cushion?

How Do I Match Carpet to Carpet Cushion?

Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 16th in a series

"Should My Cushion and My Carpet Match?" is the sixthteenth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website 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 whether to match carpet and carpet cushion.

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

Carpet Question Corner #16: Should My Cushion and My Carpet Match?

You should first check with the manufacturer to see if a specific cushion is required.

Generally, residential cut pile, cut-loop, or high-level loop carpet requires a resilient, firm cushion with a thickness of 7/16 inch and no less than 1/4 inch with 6 pounds per cubic feet density. Types of cushion may be various polyurethane foams or rubber.

Berber carpet or thinner loop or cut pile carpet is made with large, wide loops, and it has been found that a stable, low-flexing, cushion foundation is necessary. Cushion thickness should not exceed 3/8 inch for these type products.

Visit and to learn more.

How do you answer consumers when they ask you about what carpet cushion to choose? What resources do you use to help them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Better Carpet Cleaning Starts in School Systems: Werner Braun

Better Carpet Cleaning Starts in Schools: Werner Braun

Werner Braun: School Systems Benefit From Better Carpet Cleaning

In his October 9, 2011 column titled "It starts in the schools" for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun talks about the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products and equipment and how the SOA program can help school systems.

“When the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) first began certifying cleaning products and equipment with our Seal of Approval (SOA) program, we envisioned a day when firms all across the country would either recommend or require the sole use of SOA-certified products to clean the carpets within their properties.

We have been actively engaged with the Environmental Protection Agency Tools for Schools Program. We have worked hand-in-hand with the Council of Educational Facility Planners Institute (CEFPI) to make sure their members were aware of the savings and benefits our SOA program could offer in taking care of their carpet maintenance needs.

As we have worked our way through this process, we have been engaged with as many individual school systems as possible, and we never turn down a chance to get in front of that audience.
Last week, CRI attended an in-service meeting for the Jackson, Mississippi School District to provide them detailed information on how they could better serve the district’s 61 schools’ carpet cleaning needs. 

One school system custodian remarked about the carpet he cares for in the schools he serves, saying, ‘I love to be able to see those kids playing on that soft carpet, and I love the fact that, with all those little voices making so much noise, our carpeted rooms are always quieter. I even have teachers who absolutely wouldn’t teach in a room if it didn’t have carpet, but they also hate it when they have little accidents, and it always falls into my court to make sure the carpet continues to look good. It hasn’t always been an easy task, but having something like the SOA program looks like that might solve a lot of those problems for me.’”

Thank you, Werner.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Replacing Carpet in Your Office? Four Tips

Replacing Carpet in Your Office? Four Tips

Carpet Replacement Time in Your Office? Tips for easing the carpet replacement process from Buildings Magazine

An article on the Buildings Magazine website gives some great information about making the often-hated process of replacing the carpet in a building or other commercial facility just a little bit easier. Titled, “Four Tips for Carpet Replacement” the article begins with tip number one: vacuum it before you remove it.

 “When you’re removing carpet, nobody’s thinking of cleaning it,” says Jeff Bishop, administrator of Clean Care Seminars, Inc. ‘Maintenance stops and you get a buildup of pollutants that tend to be aerosolized in the removal process.’

A high-efficiency filtered vacuum cleaner will minimize the health complaints triggered by airborne pollutants, Bishop adds. One recent investigation in Tampa, FL, involved students who frequently developed respiratory problems by mid-week, recovered over the weekend, and became sick again the following week.

‘We traced it to vacuum cleaners that were part of a 17% cut of the maintenance budget,’ Bishop explains. ‘They quit using the high-performance filter bags and started using cloth bags. It flung all of these things into the air that were doing no harm in the carpet, but students were getting sick.’
If the old carpet is especially dirty or has been contaminated with mold or animal urine, take extra steps to protect occupants’ health by rolling the old carpet in plastic as it’s removed. Afterward, vacuum the subfloor before you install the new carpet.”

Another good tip: look for highly efficient and effective vacuum cleaners on the Carpet and Rug Institute’s list of Seal of Approval-certified vacuums.

The second point in the article is to make a maintenance schedule – a game plan for organizing the carpet replacement process.

“Once the old carpet is clean, coordinate with your contractor, flooring installer, and other key players. Plan around occupants’ schedules to minimize the number of people you’ll displace, and choose the quickest, most painless way to remove partitions and other items.

Look into sending the old carpet to a recycling center instead of a landfill. Many flooring manufacturers will take the carpet back when you’re finished with it and turn it into new products.

‘It can be turned into new carpet or used for other purposes, like automobile parts, park benches, toys, or parking lot stops,’ explains Lew Migliore, president of LGM and Associates Technical Flooring Services. ‘There is value to it – it’s not something that you just take out and throw away.’”  (Note: you can find a carpet recycler in your area on the Carpet America recovery Effort website.  – Ed.)

Step three, remove the old carpet and put down the new – depending on the type of glue used, that will not always an easy process

“Check the substrate after the old carpet is removed. Is it capable of supporting the new flooring material? What type of adhesive was used to install the previous carpet? Depending on the age of the building, removing the old adhesive may be costlier and more time-consuming than you first anticipated.

‘You have to determine what the old adhesive was, particularly if you’re taking out old vinyl tiles. A lot of them could be vinyl asbestos,’ Migliore says. ‘If they are going to come up, there’s a potential for you to be dragged into an abatement process, which can be very costly.’

You may find cutback, a black asphaltic adhesive, beneath vinyl tiles or left over from a previous installation. Bring in a firm familiar with asbestos and cutback removal, Migliore says. Not only is abatement a possibility, but leftover cutback remnants can react with the backings of carpet tiles.

‘If you’ve got multipurpose adhesive, typically all you have to do is scrape that off the floor, make it level, and install the new carpet,’  Migliore explains. ‘Cutback is a game-changer.’

When the adhesive is gone and the concrete is exposed, check for moisture in the concrete – it can seriously jeopardize an installation. The backings of floor coverings can trap moisture, which triggers chemical changes with the adhesives and deals a serious blow to the carpet’s functionality and aesthetic appeal."

Last tip: plan to keep the carpet looking its best with a maintenance plan.

Once the new carpet is installed, don’t walk away from upkeep. Without adequate maintenance, the carpet will rapidly lose its appeal. (for how to develop a maintenance plan, see these related blog articles: Commercial Carpet Cleaning and Maintenance, Carpet Cleaning Maintence Plan: Daily Vacuuming, Periodic Deep Cleaning.)

“’You have to have a maintenance program established prior to the product actually being used,’ Migliore explains. ‘You don’t want to put something down and then all of a sudden say ‘You know what? This thing is getting very dirty.’ You want to keep it looking good from day one.’

Vacuum the low and moderate-traffic areas at least once a day, and pay special attention to high-traffic areas such as entrances and lobbies, which may need several passes with a vacuum every day.
‘If maintenance personnel would spend more time on 1 to 2% of the floor space, they could prevent particles from outside being tracked in and further ingressing throughout the building,’ Bishop explains. ‘If you don’t have a planned program of maintenance and regular cleaning, you’re defeating the purpose of the floor covering.’”

Does this about cover it? Who has anything to add?


Friday, December 2, 2011

Selecting Carpet Cushion: What Do I Need To Know?

Selecting Carpet Cushion: What Do I Need To Know?
Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 15th in a series

"What Do I Need To Know When Selecting Cushion?" is the fifteenth in a series of banner ads developed to run on the flooring news website 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 selecting carpet cushion.

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

Carpet Question Corner #15: What Do I Need To Know When Selecting Cushion?

Start by checking the carpet manufacturer’s requirements for both thickness and density. Choosing the wrong cushion can damage the carpet with problems like wrinkling, buckling and degradation.
  • A general rule of thumb for most residential carpet is to choose cushion no more than 7/16 inch thick.
  •  If you have a Berber or a low-profile carpet, choose a cushion no more than 3/8 inch thick.
Bedrooms, dens, lounge areas and other rooms with light or moderate traffic can use thicker and softer cushion, while high-traffic areas like living rooms, family rooms, hallways and stairs require thinner, firmer cushion.

Visit and to learn more.
How do you answer consumers when they ask you about selection carpet cushion? What resources do you use to help them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Market-Based Product Stewardship Solutions for Carpet Industry

Market-Based Product Stewardship Solutions for Carpet Industry

Carpet Industry Seeks Market-based Product Stewardship Solutions

In his October 16, 2011 column titled "Market-based solutions are best" for the Dalton Daily Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute president Werner Braun discusses CRI’s participation in a multi-industry group called the Product Management Alliance whose aim is to address the issue of extended producer responsibility in the United States. EPR, or Product Stewardship bills as they are often called, shift the costs of disposing of products to the manufacturers. California recently passed the country’s first extended producer responsibility law, called AB 2398.

“The PMA will promote and protect free-market solutions to product stewardship. Through the efforts of the PMA, CRI and the carpet industry will work to address its members’ concerns relating to government policies that mandate extended producer responsibility, and programs that shift the costs of product collection solely to the manufacturers.

The PMA will also work with experts in industry and government to ensure a consistent policy for recovery, take-back programs and other extended producer responsibility models.”

California recently passed its AB 2398 Carpet Stewardship Bill, the nation’s first-ever extended producer responsibility legislation that specifically addresses carpet. The law generates funding to meet the goals of AB 2398 through an initial assessment of 5 cents per square yard of carpet sold in California. Unlike other proposed stewardship legislation that are intended to fund the entire burden of end-of-life management, this law is designed to find ways to incentivize the growth of carpet reclamation and recycling and still allow the market to work.

As we continue to work to gain more visibility on this issue, CRI and all members of the Product Management Alliance want to educate legislators about market-based solutions for the disposal of products at the end of their useful lives. As PMA Treasurer Jennifer Mendez points out, ‘Product manufacturers have come together on this vital issue. It is critical that everyone understands the impact that government-mandated programs have, not just on manufacturers, but on consumers and the environment.’”

Thank you, Werner.

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