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Carpet Cleaning Is Now Rocket Science

A technology that was developed for use in outer space may now help zap dirt and allergens in your home. It's yet another case where "rocket science" has come home to improve life on earth. The technology, an X-ray analyzer "gun" used on Space Shuttle Discovery, has been adapted to measure exactly how much soil cleaning products remove from carpet. That's good news for homeowners because this technology is being used to keep today's durable stain-resistant rugs cleaner and help them last even longer. Periodic Deep Cleaning Vacuums and wet-cleaning equipment that you buy or rent can remove loose soil, spots and spills. But even with this type of regular cleaning, soil builds up.

Proper carpet care requires periodic deep cleaning, preferably every 12 to 18 months, to remove trapped soil and residues, say experts. Professionals using portable extractors and equipment mounted in service vans do this type of cleaning. Your carpet warranty may require such periodic cleaning. Not all cleaning equipment and solutions clean equally well. Independent testing shows that various cleaning detergents and spot removers clean no better than water.

These cleaning products can leave a sticky residue that attracts soil back to the carpet, degrading carpet appearance. There are also vast differences in the soil removal capability of carpet cleaning equipment, especially extractors. Seal of Approval Fortunately, the X-ray fluorescence technology enhanced by NASA has allowed the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) to develop a new Seal of Approval testing and certification program for carpet cleaning products. Only those products meeting high performance standards receive the bronze-, silver- or gold-level Seal of Approval. This not only helps customers recognize quality products, but it also highlights the best methods for preserving the life and beauty of carpet.


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