Thursday, August 30, 2012

Carpet Industry Offers Input to ISSA Congressional Committee

Carpet Industry Offers Input to ISSA Congressional Committee
Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif) House Committee
on Oversight and Government Reform
In his July 20, 2012 column titled "Carpet industry offers input to congressional committee" in the Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talks about how CRI was included in a group of manufacturers and others who were invited to provide input to Rep. Darrell Issa’s (R-Calif) House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on how those involved with manufacturing see the potential for existing and proposed regulations to threaten job creation and the overall economy.
“We feel that carpet manufacturers have voluntarily made major strides in reducing the environmental footprint of carpet through reduced landfill use, as well as lowered carbon dioxide emissions, energy consumption, waste generation, water usage and hazardous air emissions.

As an example of our voluntary stewardship, we’ve reduced by 50 percent the amount of water used in carpet production today, and we’ve reduced the draw on the river by reusing “grey water” in our industrial settings. Grey water is water that has already been used in manufacturing, and by recycling and reusing it, we are able to decrease the demand on fresh drinking water.

That’s one reason we become concerned when government agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) put mandatory regulations in place that threaten to negatively impact the growth of our industry.”

Mr. Braun cited proposed regulations on water usage, producer responsibility, mandated green cleaning programs and restriction on the use of coal fly ash as examples of the negative impact that overly aggressive government regulation has on the creation of jobs and the impact over-regulation has on American companies’ ability to be economically viable and to create a good economic future for this country.

We fervently hope that, in the future, we may see some tangible reductions in over-regulation and federal mandates.”

Thank you, Werner!
~ Bethany

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tips for Choosing; Caring for a Vacuum

Tips for Choosing; Caring for a Vacuum
There is so much good information (as well as plenty of bad) online on how to keep our houses clean – when I find a good one I like to share. The Grayson Smith Company of Memphis, Tennessee, has a blog with lots of good articles.

Here are two I noticed:

1. Vacuum Cleaner Selection Tips

• Select carefully

• Check the Features

• Give it a Spin

Here’s an extra tip the article did not mention: to find the vacuums that work better than others to remove and contain soil, without harming your carpet, see the list of Seal of Approval vacuums on the Carpet and Rug Institute website.
Here’s another good one:

2. The Biggest Vacuuming Goofs

1. Not Changing the Bags: When your bag or bin (for bagless vacuums) is 1/2 full, suction power is reduced by at least 50%. This means you need more strokes over an area to clean it and it is making the motor work harder. It is best to change the bag or empty the bin when 1/3 to 1/2 full.
2. Using the Brush on Bare Floors: A powered brush is critical for deep-cleaning carpets. But the revolving bristles can scatter debris while scratching the finish on hardwood and the plastic wear layer on laminate floors.
3. Vacuuming Hard, Sharp Objects: Nails, screws, coins and even paper clips can rip bags and damage the machine. Either pick them up or sweep them up with a broom before vacuuming.
4. Sucking Up Water or Wet Messes: Had a flood? Avoid the risk of electrocution by leaving your upright or canister in the closet. Use a wet-dry vacuum with a ground-fault interrupter for standing water or even damp debris.
5. Tossing It When It Loses Suction: Full bags are not the only reason a vacuum's suction can suffer. Check the hose to see if it is clogged. If the hose is clear, check the filters found on bagged and bagless vacuums. Also, if the brush roll barely turns, check it and the drive belt for tangled string or hair.
6. Assuming the Motor has Blown: Many models have a thermal switch that cuts current to the motor if it begins to overheat. If your vacuum shuts off during use, check for a full bag or bin or a dirty filter. The switch should reset itself, though some models have a reset button for that purpose.

Good stuff! What else could you add to this article?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Green Label Plus Means Healthy Air Indoors

Green Label Plus Means Healthy Air Indoors
Today’s carpet is not only beautiful, comfortable, and a good value, it is made to adhere to the strictest standards of health and safety. In his August 10, 2012 column titled "Buying carpets with low emissions" in Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun talked about how you can make sure you are purchasing carpet that will protect the air indoors – by looking for the Green Label Plus logo on the display. 

“It’s actually a fact that carpet has long been one of the lowest-emitting products you can bring into your home. But the myth that carpet releases high levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has persisted. And it’s just not the case. In fact, I call it an urban legend.

 The myth began in the 1980s with a New York Times article decrying the “toxicity” of “Killer Carpet.” Back then, a combination of compounds, including latex, with small amounts of 4-PCH was used in carpet production, resulting in that “new carpet” smell. But in the 1990s, manufacturers worked very hard to get those 4-PCH levels in latex down to extremely low parts per billion levels. And today, within four days of a roll of carpet coming off the assembly line, 99-plus percent of the VOCs are gone and they are gone forever.

 And that’s good for consumers, who have a right to products that are environmentally friendly and which contribute to good air quality in their homes.

 For those of you who are concerned about levels of VOCs in your flooring, you should know that the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) has created an indoor air-quality testing program called Green Level Plus, which tests carpets for VOCs and certifies those brands that are low-emitting.

This program has been in place for over two decades, and I’m happy to say that since then the vast majority of products produced by CRI members have surpassed the Green Level Plus standards.
 We also have a Green Label Plus program for the adhesives that are used in installation, and a Green Label program for the padding that is used to cushion the carpet.

 By far, the vast majority of commercial and residential carpets available for purchase today meet the Green Label Plus standard. You can find a long list of certified products on the CRI website."

Thank you, Werner!

~ Bethany

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Carpet Vacuuming Essential to Clean Indoor Air

Carpet Vacuuming Essential to Clean Indoor Air
If you ever wondered if running the vacuum really makes a difference, an article published on the cleaning industry news and education site CleanLink online gives a very clear picture of just how important vacuuming is to the home or workplace.

Written by BJ Mandelstam, founder and president of Cleaning Matters, a Denver-based custodial consulting practice, the article, titled, Reduced Vacuuming Impacts IAQ, tells how reducing how often you run the vacuum not only robs your beautiful carpet of its “new” look, it also makes it wear out faster and lessens the quality of the air indoors.

Health experts are especially concerned about people with asthma. The estimated number of people with asthma has risen more than 59 percent since 1970. (While carpet use has gone down 20 percent or more, in some areas [ed.]).

In 1993, John W. Maunder, Ph.D., director of the Medical Entomology Center at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, established the connection between the level of dust mite allergens in an indoor environment and the prevalence of asthma.

Asthmatics are not allergic to living mites but to the airborne feces of mites and, to a much lesser extent, to dead mites. Dr. Maunder states that although living mites are difficult to remove from carpet, their feces are readily removed from carpets by proper cleaning.

‘A carpet regularly cleaned will not and cannot contain enough allergen to affect people. The proper maintenance of carpet completely prevents trouble from that source,’ he writes.

A recent study concludes that carpets may benefit indoor air quality by acting as a filter for indoor air, trapping and holding dust mites, pollutants, and allergens such as pollen, pet dander and molds, which play an important role in allergic diseases. The key to maintaining good indoor air quality in a school or office building is to clean this filter regularly, i.e., remove these pollutants through vacuuming.”

You can find a list of effective, high-performing vacuums on the Carpet and Rug Institute website.   I have a new vacuum that (almost) makes it fun to clean my floors! Maybe I’ll take it for a spin when I get home…

How often should I vacuum? Is there a way to know when it’s time?


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Carpet Sustainability Reports: Shaw and Mohawk

Carpet Sustainability Reports: Shaw and Mohawk
In his July 27, 2012 column titled Hats off to Mohawk and Shaw in the Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun congratulates CRI-Member manufacturers Shaw and Mohawk on the two companies’ recently released 2011 sustainability reports. The reports detail the remarkable progress the carpet industry has made in environmental stewardship.

 “We hear, and talk, a lot about sustainability these days. It’s becoming more and more important for industries to be responsible stewards of our natural resources and to show the public what progress they’re making as an industry to reduce, reuse and recycle.

Shaw’s report highlights particular successes, like its Evergreen Nylon Recycling facility in Augusta, which is the only Nylon 6 recycling facility of its kind, and which has the capacity to process 100 million pounds of post-consumer carpet.

 And its new Re2E project is expected to convert a projected 84 million pounds of carpet each year into 50,000 pounds of steam energy per hour, which will save enough fossil fuel to power the equivalent of about 7,500 homes each year.

Vance Bell, the chairman and CEO of Shaw Industries, touts their commitment to “Sustainability Through Innovation” as guiding “everything we do, every day — from maintaining the health and well-being of our people and communities, conserving energy and water, and recycling raw materials — to designing Cradle-to-Cradle products that can be remanufactured over and over again.”

 ‘Setting the standard for environmental excellence, social responsibility and product design is more than our responsibility,’ he says. ‘It’s also good business.’

Mohawk’s report is equally impressive, and highlights the company’s strong commitment not only to the environment but to employee wellness and charitable giving as well. In 2011, the company:

• Purchased more than three billion discarded PET soda bottles, or about 20 percent of all plastic bottles recycled in the U.S., to create beautiful polyester carpet.

• Initiated the Healthy Mohawk wellness program, which resulted in employees losing more than 6,500 pounds.

• Invested more than $3 million in our communities through employee and company contributions to local and national charitable organizations.

• Recycled more than 3 billion pounds of waste stream materials to make quality tile, laminate and soft surface flooring products.

• Reduced water usage by 30 percent, or 1.13 billion gallons, during the last six years.

• Converted more than 24 million pounds of rubber tires into doormats last year alone.

 These annual sustainability reports are subject to review by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines, and the submitted data is verified by an independent auditing firm. This is impressive as well, and places both companies among the leaders in transparency of reporting sustainable practices.

Jeff Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries, believes that investing significantly in Mohawk’s employees, in its products, and in the neighboring communities has added value for the company’s stakeholders and its customers.

‘As our company’s sustainable practices evolve, I am inspired by our people’s dedication to reducing our environmental impact by creating innovative products for our customers in more sustainable ways.’

Letting you know about Carpet and Rug Institute members’ many accomplishments — in sustainable practices and otherwise — is one of my favorite things to do in this column.  Look for more in the weeks to come.”

Thank you, Werner.

~ Bethany

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flooring Myths Dispelled: Bob Vila Praises Carpet!

Flooring Myths Dispelled: Bob Vila Praises Carpet!

Home Renovation Expert Bob Vila Praises Carpet; Clears Up Misconceptions and Dispels Flooring Myths

On his Bob Vila Nation home renovation blogging community, well-known renovation expert Bob Vila features an article titled, Flooring Myths Dispelled that lists some of carpet’s benefits

Carpet is a cozy and comfortable flooring choice. It is soft on your children's feet and makes your home slightly quieter by muffling noise.”

…and clears up some common misconceptions about soft floor coverings.  

A common myth about carpet is that it is unhygienic. Some people think that carpet should not be used in the homes of asthma sufferers because it traps dust. However, by immobilizing dust particles, carpet fibers actually stop dust from circulating in the air of your home. These allergy-triggering particles can be removed completely from the home by vacuuming your carpets regularly.”

The article was originally posted by Todd Vendituoli on his Building Blox blog
Thanks, guys!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

Can Carpet Help Patients in Hospitals?

Can Carpet Help Patients in Hospitals? Carpet Question Corner Q and A
Carpet Question Corner - Carpet Q and A - 25th in a series

"Can Carpet Color Really Help Patients in Hospitals?" is the twentyfifth 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

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

Carpet Question Corner #25: Can carpet color really help patients in hospitals?

Carpet color actually can have an impact on patients. It can be chosen to provide a variety of simulating or soothing effects.

Interestingly, color also plays a significant role in the care of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, patients seem to remember colors better than numbers. So color in carpet can provide them with a link to a specific hall or wing. In the care of visually-impaired patients, brighter colors aid in depth perception and differentiation of areas.

Visit and to learn more.

How do you answer consumers when they ask you about the effects of carpet color on patients in hospitals? Do they ask you about other spaces, too? What resources do you use to help them?

Let me know in the comments!

~ Bethany

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Getting Urine Out of Carpet: Carpet Cleaner Stories

Image Credit:
Story #3: Urine Luck: CARPET (getting the “P” out of carpet!): Struggles, successes, and silliness - Stories from the Field – Insights, Innovation and Inanity from Carpet Professionals

Chances are, if you have carpet, you will, at one time or another, have to clean pee out of it. Pee happens, and the good news is: there are products you can buy that will work to get out the stain,  and – equally as important – the odor.   (See related blog post How To Clean Vomit From Carpet: Cleaning Tips.)

The spot removers that have been passed by the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products and equipment have been thoroughly tested and shown to work effectively, without damaging your valuable carpet.

Among the most popular recent topics on the CRI blog have been this series of “Stories from the Field” – war stories, if you will, from carpet cleaners discussing some of their wackiest or most confounding cases (and customers)! The content has been culled from comments left on the CRI LinkedIn group.

Today, as promised, an article on what many would say is a carpet cleaner’s “Number One” problem: getting Urine out of Carpet [aka getting the “P” out of carpet].

From the owner of a carpet cleaning company in the metro DC area:

“About twenty years ago I was cleaning a customer’s home and I advised her that her dog was urinating in the house. She told me the dog had never gone in the house! At the very same time, the dog lifted his leg right there in front of us and urinated on my helper’s leg. It was all I could do not to laugh.”

I would have laughed, wouldn’t you?

Here’s a common theme – if it’s not the pet, it must be the husband.

From a Carpet Cleaner in Oregon:

“We install & clean carpet. We went to a very elderly couple’s home to see if [the carpet] needed to be replaced or cleaned as she wasn't sure what was causing such a smell. We take the moisture indicator around & find urine damage behind a recliner chair. She has a little "Fifi" dog so we say, ‘Well, it looks like we found out where the dog is having all the accidents.’ She cries out, ‘OH NO! My little angel wouldn't ever do that. She is so good.’ She would not accept any reasonable thoughts about this - so my husband finally says – ‘well, I am sorry to say but it's either the dog or...your husband.’ ”

From Cary Woodfield, a specifier, inspector, cleaner, and carpet services entrepreneur: 

“Working in a beautiful home overlooking the La Jolla, California shoreline, the lady of the house insisted her prized poodle was not peeing in the corner. You know the type - air conditioned dog house, diamond studded pink collars and silver water dishes.

A few hours later and feeling fairly comfortable with the homeowner, I again suggested her poodle was visiting the corners. Again she insisted it could not be "Fluffy" - at which point I suggested she speak with her husband when he got home because someone was peeing in the corners. She started laughing and got the point.”

Okay, this next one is not about pee, but it’s still good!

From a carpet cleaning company owner in the Boston area:

“Had an upscale customer who decided to have her beautiful Pyrenees dog participate in the son’s birthday party. After feeding it chocolate cake (lucky the dog didn’t die), the dog decided to pay her back and donated the digested results on her very expensive deep pile white wool carpet. One of the most challenging jobs in 30 years of business. But it was restored!”

And finally, a comment that remains a bit of a mystery – read on:

From Rosanne Collins, President/CEO at RM Flooring Specialists, Inc., a commercial flooring dealer in Minneapolis/St. PaulPaul:

“I specified scraper matting for 4 elevator cabs so they could easily replace tiles themselves as needed over time; saving labor costs. The client asked what they should do in the event a person were to urinate on the scraper matting, which apparently happened quite frequently. I am not in the cleaning business, didn't see that one coming. Tell me how I should have responded and I promise to tell you what I actually told her, which I still can't believe.”

Bethany Richmond • “I probably would have said that if someone peed on the elevator scraper mats, they would just whiz right up to the top floor - but then, I'm not in the cleaning business either. Please tell!! This one sounds fascinating!!”

What would your answer have been? Let me know –

PS: I received this answer from Ms. Collins: “I sold them "scraper tile" I told the client to pull them up, hose them off, let them dry and re-install. The adhesive is releasable. I sold them extra tiles to install while the peed ones dried.”

~ Bethany 

Image Credit: Mr. ChemDry, Utah

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Carpet Cleaning for Dummies: a Guide to Easy Carpet Care and Cleaning

Carpet Cleaning for Dummies: a Guide to Easy Carpet Care and Cleaning
When the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and a few friends from the cleaning industry got together in 2007 to produce a user-friendly guide to easy carpet care and cleaning, few suspected that within 5 years, the results of that effort, the book, “Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies” would have 80,000 copies in print and be approaching its third printing.

In his June 8, 2012 column titled "Carpet cleaning for dummies" in the Dalton’s Daily-Citizen, Carpet and Rug Institute President Werner Braun discusses the unexpected popularity of the pocket-sized blockbuster.

“The popularity of the “For Dummies” book template is legendary. With near universal name recognition, and more than 150 million books in print, it’s the world’s best selling reference series.

 We initially decided to come up with our own “For Dummies” booklet to help promote our Seal of Approval Program. The program gives recommendations to consumers for the best carpet cleaning techniques, cleaning products, equipment and service providers available to prolong the life of their carpet investment.”

Aside from tips on regular cleaning and spot removal, Carpet Cleaning Tips for Dummies provides tips for pet owners and advice on how to clean precious Oriental rugs and offers guidelines to consumers to help them recognize when calling in professional cleaners may be their best option.

“We’ve enjoyed watching the reaction of attendees and participants at various trade shows who have come across our “For Dummies” displays. At those trade shows, many of those in attendance who can’t resist grabbing a copy of our book will comment, “I know a dummy that this book can really help.” Of course, that “dummy” may well indeed be the person putting it in their back pocket as they walk away. But we’re glad to get these tips in the hands of all of those who want to protect their carpet investment.

 Some people think keeping carpet clean and beautiful is hard work. It really isn’t. Not if you clean it properly, with the right frequency and the right products

 We are pleased that this pocket handbook has proved to be so valuable to the public, requiring frequent reprints to keep up with demand. CRI has consistently promoted the book’s message that proper cleaning and maintenance of carpet makes all the difference in the world, that using good products is paramount to its beauty and longevity.”

 Booklets can be purchased from the CRI website. The cost for Carpet Cleaning for Dummies is $2 per booklet.

Thanks, Werner,

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