Its History and Its Future

The IICRC has been developing METHODS TESTING for several years. In my next two articles, I will cover the history and the future of the IICRC’s Method Testing Protocols. Before I begin, I would like to thank Mark Stanley for inviting me to be a staff writer, it is a task that I do not take lightly and hope that you, the readers, will enjoy and benefit from as I pen each issue’s article.

The best information that I have acquired to this point shows that methods testing started in the 198Os with the goals of:

A) bringing a more concise scientific approach to carpet cleaning,

B) creating a system for testing the results of each method verses the long approved “we-think-this-is-the-best-way-to-clean” approach that left many methods singing the blues. The idea was ground-breaking and met with resistance as all the “we’ve-never-done-that-before” and the “Hey!-that-might-make-my-method-look-bad” or “that-might-make-another-method-equal-to-mine” voices chimed in.

The Methods Testing Protocol pressed on, dispite the opposition, largely due to the efforts of Tom Hill as well as other talented people at the IICRC.

To say, this was a large task is an understatement. How do you come up with a protocol that is fair to everyone? Think about it for a moment. You would have to clean a carpet that was the same age, the same type, had the same soil conditions, and realistically, the soil in the carpet should also be of the same age. The list goes on and on. Will the Methods Testing Protocol be 100% perfect? I doubt it, but it will certainly be better than the hearsay that tends to run-a-muck throughout our industry.

Some Details:

An independent laboratory does the testing and the approximate cost is $1800.00. For that fee, you can test the effectiveness of numerous things. One item in particular that caught my attention about methods testing this way was the possibility of setting a standard for “restorative cleaning”. This standard would say: “You must have X amount of soil removal and have Y amount of an increase in light reflection for any cleaning method to be classified as restorative”. The testing variables are naturally more complex than this, but for our purposes, I have simplified them this way.

Presently, Methods Testing is currently not formatted with the goal of determining which method is best, but this possibility certainly does exist. What do we do with this information once it is compiled? I believe it is inevitable that ALL methods will eventually be tested and guidelines set concerning what is “restorative” cleaning and what is “maintenance” cleaning. Wouldn’t it just blow everyone’s mind if VLM methods proved to be restorative by the IICRC’s very own Methods Testing Protocols?

The IICRC is summarizing the Methods Testing Protocol at this autumn’s meeting of the Certification Board. This meeting is set for October 14, 2001 and I have been invited by Tom Hill to be a guest. Should my schedule allow, I will make the trip and hear the results. I can tell you that what I have heard so far has been very positive and I look forward to the practical application of these protocols in the future.

Lonnie McDonald
LMCCA Director
President/CEO of LeatherPro Integrity Carpet Cleaning Inc.