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A Prescription for Cleaning

April 23, 2010

Rug Doctor has developed several green cleaners in the past few months and continues to thrive despite the bumpy economy.

A Prescription for Cleaning

Rug Doctor has developed several green cleaners in the past few months and continues to thrive despite the bumpy economy.

By Tom Branna
Editorial Director

Rug Doctor, Plano, TX, has grown from a regional west coast operation to an international manufacturer and marketer of the most convenient, compact, and powerful hot water extraction carpet cleaning machines and products available today. U.S. operations include a main manufacturing facility in Fenton, MO and more than 35 warehouse distribution points and service centers around the U.S.

Schubert Pereira, director, R&D, Rug Doctor.
In addition to offering Rug Doctor carpet cleaning machines for sale or rent, the company offers a full line of Rug Doctor carpet cleaning products can be found in over 33,000 grocery, drug, hardware, and home center stores across the U.S.

Happi recently conducted a Q&A with Schubert Pereira, the company’s director of research and development, to discuss Rug Doctor’s newest introductions and how the company excels in an increasingly complex world.

Happi: What new products has Rug Doctor launched in the past year? What makes them different from products already on the market?

Periera: Rug Doctor introduced several new products during the past year, including Green Formula Concentrates for all brands of carpet extractors or deep cleaners: 2X Plus OxySteam Carpet Cleaner, 2X Plus Pet Formula Carpet Cleaner, and ready-to-use trigger spray Green formulas—Spot & Stain Remover and Urine Eliminator—all were launched within the past year and showcased at the International Home & Housewares Show in March 2010.

2X Plus OxySteam Carpet Cleaner
These new products propagate Rug Doctor’s heritage of concentrated professional strength formulas and superior performance with sustainable ingredient selection. All formulas are non-toxic, safe for household use and made from ingredients that have demonstrably lower carbon footprints and better LCA values.Packaging material sources are carefully selected for minimal environmental impact. For example, the trigger sprayer contains no metal and is thus 100% recyclable.Rug Doctor’s RTU formulas have been so successful that the market demanded creating pre-moistened wipes from the analogous trigger sprayer products.Rug Doctor introduced Spot & Stain wipes and Urine Eliminator Wipes with a difference—which also debuted at the IH&H 2010 show. The wipes are 100% biodegradable, will not shred while cleaning a stain and the re-sealable closure will prevent the wipes from drying out. Moreover, Rug Doctor sourced a recyclable packing material to keep the entire package green.

When tested using established, peer-reviewed deep-cleaning test methods like those developed by the CRI, Rug Doctor’s cleaning systems test superior.However, we are also inspired every time our DIY consumers are delighted by their superior results and find out how easy it is to clean their carpets and upholstery using Rug Doctor products.

Happi: Are there new ingredients that make cleaning better or more convenient?

Pereira: Yes there are several new ingredients that merit vigorous testing and, in turn, demonstrably better and more effective cleaning results.These ingredients excite formulators who are passionate about improving product performance while increasing the sustainability profile of their formulas.

2X Plus Pet Formula Carpet Cleaner
Typical ingredients are a new class of stable non-fluorinated super-wetting agents that minimize contact time.Rug Doctor also pioneered the use of phosphate-free naturally-derived dispersing agents.

Another formulator’s challenge is stabilizing hydrogen peroxide with ingredients that are safe and approved by Green certifying authorities. This has been made possible via proprietary technology. The simplicity of hydrogen peroxide is its effectiveness on stains, when combined with the right surfactants and its ability to dissociate completely into two safe ingredients—water and oxygen.

Another area to consider is rejuvenation of the old anionic surfactants.Several versions of old work horses like sodium alkyl sulfonates now being made from easily renewable sources are on the Cleangredients list and are effective cleaners that prevent re-soiling.

Happi: Similarly, over the years has there been a move away from certain ingredients due to their environmental profile?

Pereira: Formulators are moving away from butyl cellosolve, which is an excellent degreaser, but does not belong in household formulations.Phosphates are also virtually out of most household formulas due to eutrophication legislation.

Similarly, NPEs and phthalate-based plasticizers are frowned upon because of their toxic profile. The use of metallic cross linking agents in polyacrylic dispersants is also on the decline. None of these ingredients are present within Rug Doctor formulas. Ample substitutes for each of these ingredients exist, several of which can also be found on “green” lists.

New Urine Eliminator debuted in March.
Happi: How have consumer trends impacted the rug, carpet and upholstery cleaning category? It seems like consumers have moved toward hardwood flooring in the past decade.

Pereira: We closely follow these trends. Published data indicates there is a rise and fall in the percent carpet versus other flooring over the past 80 years based on popularity of flooring styles, but carpet has always averaged at about 60-65%. While these trends wax and wane, for every hard-surface floor installed, a couple of area rugs are purchased. This is substantiated by the fact that the Carpet & Rug cleaner category was least affected compared to virtually every household cleaner category in 2009. The fact is that carpet remains the most economical, low-maintenance flooring system and can last a long time—if it is deep cleaned with regularity.

Carpeting can actually improve indoor air quality, if it is properly maintained. It is the largest air filter in your home, holding soil, bacteria, pollens, chemicals and other contaminants that would otherwise become airborne.The EPA has recommends that carpets are cleaned at least once every 12-18 months.

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