The Cleaning Between Vacuuming and Deep-cleaning
Interim maintenance cleaning focuses on making carpet look good. Interim maintenance systems remove soil, which improves the appearance of carpet and in turn, prolongs a carpet’s useful life.
For Seal of Approval interim maintenance testing, systems are used on uniformly soiled control carpets then rated visually and instrumentally to determine the degree to which the maintenance system was able to visually improve the appearance of the control carpet.
Careful Measurement Leads to Superior Performance
- Efficacy Evaluation — The pass level is a full one-step visual improvement as measured by spectrophotometer and the AATCC gray scale.
- Surface Appearance — The criteria for the surface appearance change between the exposed and unexposed specimens must be equal to or better than the surface reference change represented in the CRI reference photograph.
- Rate of resoiling — This ensures that the product does not attract dirt to the cleaned areas faster than the rest of the carpet.
- pH — A more neutral pH ensures that carpet dyes and fibers are not adversely affected.
- Optical brighteners — None are allowed, as they can leave some patches of carpet lighter than the rest.
- Colorfastness — Products must not be so aggressive that they cause a color change in the carpet.
Interim Maintenance System Testing Criteria
1. Standard Laboratory Practice for Determining the Level of Visual Improvement Attributed to an Interim Maintenance System
This test practice determines the interim maintenance efficacy of carpet maintenance systems which are designed to be used between deep cleaning maintenance. The interim maintenance system is tested on uniformly soiled control carpets then rated visually and instrumentally to determine the degree to which the maintenance system was able to visually improve the appearance of the control carpet.
- A minimum of one full step visual improvement per AATCC gray scale is required.
2. Standard Laboratory Practice for Accelerated Re-soiling Propensity of Pile Yarn Floor Covering
This test is intended to determine the effects of cleaning equipment, chemistry, and technologies on the resoiling properties of a specified floor covering. A control test carpet (non-soiled) is cleaned according to the client’s directions, allowed to thoroughly dry, and then soiled per ASTM D6540-2012. An additional control carpet, that has not been cleaned, is soiled per ASTM D6540-2012. The differential soil level between the cleaned and soiled carpet and the non-cleaned control soiled carpet is evaluated using the AATCC Gray Scale for Color Change.
- Less than a half-step differential per the AATCC gray scale is allowed.
3. Standard Laboratory Practice for Determining the pH of Cleaning Chemicals Intended for Use on Carpets
Chemicals which are extremely acidic or alkaline have been known to adversely affect dyes and factory applied soil and stain release treatments. Chemicals with a more neutral pH are generally considered safer to use when cleaning carpets or rugs. The diluted formula is tested by a standard pH meter.
- The acceptable range is between 4pH and 10pH.
4. Standard Laboratory Practice for Determining the Presence of Optical Brighteners in Cleaning Chemicals
The presence of optical brighteners in carpet cleaning chemicals has been known to adversely affect fiber color, appearance, and long-term performance. The cleaning agent is evaluated for optical brightener content using fluorescence.
- No optical brighteners are allowed.
5. Standard Laboratory Practice for Colorfastness Assessment of Cleaning Chemicals on a Standard Carpet Sample
Cleaning chemical residues present on pile yarn floor coverings have been known to adversely affect dyes and accelerate color change. The level to which a chemical residue contributes to color change is determined by exposing a chemically treated standard test carpet with an untreated control sample to accelerated light in accordance with AATCC test Method 16. Accelerated color change in the treated test carpet is compared to the untreated test carpet after exposure.
- Less than a half step differential per AATCC gray scale is allowed.
6. Standard Laboratory Practice for Evaluating Surface Appearance Change Due to Repeated Cleanings
This test practice provides a laboratory test for the measurement of surface appearance change of a textile floor covering as a direct result of multiple cleaning passes in a controlled environment. This test practice is applicable to all commercial cleaning systems. Thirty-three cleaning cycles (determined to be the life of the carpet) are applied to commercial cut and/or loop pile carpet for commercial specific systems.
- Texture appearance change is visually rated and be less than or equip to the CRI Reference Photograph.
Seal of Approval Interim Maintenance Systems Test Program Protocol