May 31, 2013

Werner Braun: Program promotes pet stain and odor remover products

— I have two pets at home, Gunner, an indoor Yorkiepoo, and Nala, an indoor/outdoor cat. As a pet owner, I reap the benefits of having these constant loyal companions around me and my family. They bring us a great deal of joy.

But if you have indoor/outdoor pets like I do, you know that animals are, like humans, often guilty of dragging in dirt and mud, especially this time of year. And almost all pets are prone to having the occasional indoor “accident.”

Have you ever noticed that if your pet does have an accident on your carpet or floor, it often returns to the same site where it has a “not-so-accidental” accident soon afterward? That’s because animals have the propensity to be attracted to a general area in which to “do their business” because of the odor that they’ve left there. It becomes their territory, in a sense.

So I am one of many who is benefiting from the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval (SOA) program’s endorsement of a number of pet odor and stain removal products.

A few years ago, CRI commissioned the independent testing company Professional Testing Laboratories in Dalton to develop tests for these types of products to see which would meet the CRI’s Seal of Approval program’s high standards. They came up with a list of highly recommended pet odor and stain removal products, which can be found on our website at

Many of you know that since the mid-2000s, CRI’s SOA program has been setting the highest standards for products that are used in our industry, from vacuum cleaners to industrial strength extractors to all types of spot removers, pre-sprays and in-tank cleaning solutions.

Our industry has always been willing to address issues related to carpet, and now we’ve added a means to test products marketed specifically for pet stain and odor removal based upon their ability to remove tracked-in dirt, urine, feces and vomit stains and related odors.

The planning phase for finding the best ways to test these products actually took a few years time because, as Gary Asbury of Professional Testing Laboratories has pointed out, finding consistent sources of animal urine and feces to ensure uniform testing results was a bit of a challenge.

Interestingly, the company found its source for cat urine by ordering bobcat urine from a hunting supply wholesaler. But for vomit, they ultimately settled on creating a synthetic formula.

Professional Testing Laboratories tests various products that are designed for pet stain and pet odor removal in a number of ways.

As with most of the other SOA program testing platforms, water is the benchmark against which products are tested.

For malodors, trained personnel test multiple samples of each pet stain and odor product, using a program developed by General Motors to test the odors of various components in automobile interiors.

On a scale of one to 10, where 10 is odorless and one is an “intolerable odor,” a product must score “three levels better than plain water” in order to pass the testing.

And because the powerful scent agents in cat urine tend to grow stronger with the passage of time, odor testing is performed at 72 hours after the initial cleaning.

For the staining component of the testing, products must perform equal to or better than plain water, without causing change in the carpet’s color or encouraging accelerated resoiling.

There are people in this town who have to sit on what I guess we could call the “Odor Panel,” which doesn’t seem like the most pleasant of jobs in the world. I’m glad we have the good folks at Professional Testing Laboratories who are willing to do that on our behalf.

I can attest to the fact that the products recommended by our SOA program work as they are advertised to work.

Even though our pets spend most of their time indoors, you’d never know it if you walked into our house. I’m proud to say that it doesn’t smell like a house filled with animals. Which, it goes without saying, is a very good thing.

Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.