Clean Air, Home Improvement

How Green Label Plus Products Set High Indoor Air Standards


Green Label Plus (GLP) is a program created by The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) to test the effect that chemicals found in carpets, cushions and adhesives have on indoor air quality. This program is voluntary for manufacturers and businesses that want to submit their product or service to demonstrate that they meet high quality standards for the reduction of airborne pollutants, dirt and dust.

In addition to the GLP program, the CRI also operates the Seal of Approval program that evaluates vacuums, extractors and cleaning solutions to make sure carpets are healthy and last for as long as possible.

Continue reading to learn why you should buy products that meet or exceed the standards set by these programs.

What Is Green Label Plus?

The Carpet and Rug Institute created Green Label Plus with the goal of making it easier for customers to choose products with the lowest chemical emissions. This program specifically targets architects, builders, specifiers and green-label-plusfacility managers. In some cases, the use of these materials can make a project eligible for credits in the popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Using scientifically driven testing procedures, the CRI evaluates and verifies that submitted carpets, adhesives and cushions pass all applicable testing procedures. The CRI sets high standards with the goal of encouraging the use of “green-friendly” materials and minimizing the use of chemicals that might have adverse effects on indoor air quality.

Green Label Plus Testing Procedure

The Green Label Plus testing procedure was developed in corporation with California’s Sustainable Building Task Force and the Department of Health Services to meet testing protocols used by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS).

To ensure that products meet the highest possible standards, the CRI developed a testing methodology in conjunction with the EPA to measure a range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over 14-days emitted from the item in a controlled environment. To retain the GLP label, carpets, adhesives and cushion must be retested annually.

This test checks for VOCs that include benzene, chloroform, formaldehyde, phenol and many other potentially harmful compounds. Click here for the full list.

In addition to testing for chemicals, each product must meet the following requirements:

Credit: The Carpet and Rug Institute Green Label Plus Fact Sheet.

By developing this checklist, CRI is able to ensure credibility and accuracy before awarding the GLP.

How Does The Seal of Approval Program Work?

The Carpet and Rug Institue states that the Seal of Approval program is the “carpet industry’s only scientific program to test and measure the effectiveness of cleaning products and equipment.”seal-of-approval

The result of CRI’s testing seeks to help consumers make informed decisions when purchasing carpet cleaning products, as well as inform manufacturers about their product’s strengths and weaknesses. NASA helped develop the soil compounds used during testing to ensure an accurate, measurable and repeatable formula.

Products that can be submitted for testing:

  • Cleaning Products and Solutions
  • Deep Cleaning Extractors (professional solutions)
  • Interim Maintenance Systems (consumer level wet-vacs and steam cleaners)
  • Vacuums

Each SOA product is tested for one or more of these seven attributes:

  1. Soil Removal Efficacy – How well does the product lift and remove soil?
  2. Resoiling – Does the cleaning process attract new soil at a faster rate?
  3. Residual Moisture – Does the wet cleaning system remove most of the moisture?
  4. Surface Appearance Change – Does the system negatively affect the appearance of carpet?
  5. Colorfastness – Does the product modify the carpet color?
  6. pH Level – Do the chemicals fall between 4 and 10 on the pH scale?
  7. Optical Brighteners – Does the product contain brighteners (none allowed).

If the product passes the set testing criteria for each product category, then a company can advertise the certification. CRI notes that the benefits of the “SOA Program can be seen at every level of the carpet industry.” This includes consumers, manufacturers and cleaning professionals.

Why This Matters When Vacuuming

We recently published 8 Ways to Vacuum Smarter For Cleaner Carpets, which is important if you want clean carpets, but ultimately useless if your vacuum isn’t up to the task. Dust, mites, bacteria and other organisms live in your carpet and you need a system that can effectvely remove these from carpeting.

As the Carpet and Rug Institue writes:

High-performance vacuum cleaners have a significant impact on improved indoor air quality (IAQ). At the same time, vacuums that effectively remove and contain soil while keeping the carpet looking good will help carpet last longer. Ultimately, better performing vacuums provide a greater return on your investment and ensure a healthier indoor environment.

When you purchase a vacuum that wears the Sea of Approval label must pass the Soil Removal Efficacy test, the Surface Appearance Change test, and an additional Dust Containment test. The dust test states that the vacuum can not release more than 100 micrograms of dust particles per cubic meter of air to ensure dirt and dust pulled from carpets are not released back into the air.

Following testing, vacuums are awarded Gold, Silver or Bronze awards depending on the ability to remove soil and contain dust.

Credit: Carpet and Rug Institute Vacuum Cleaner Testing Criteria

Choosing vacuums that wear the SOA label ensures that homeowners are best able to reduce contaminants found in their carpets.

How to Find Products and Services That Pass GLP and SOA

Click on each of the following links to the Carpet and Rug Institue website to find products and service that meet your needs.

GLP Certified Carpet Products

GLP Certified Cushion Products

GLP Certified Adhesive Products

SOA Certified Carpet Cleaning Solutions

SOA Certified Deep Cleaning Systems

SOA Certified Interim Maintenance Systems

SOA Certified Vacuums

Are you using products or services that have the Green Label Plus or Seal of Approval? If so, tell us about them in the comments below!


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