To Groom or Not to Groom: CFI President’s Message

To groom or not to groom…that is the question. Knowing the basic fundamentals of cleaning will set you apart from your competitors. Believe it or not, performing the most common steps of carpet cleaning will have the homeowner asking what you are doing and why are you doing all that?

A client of ours once asked me “What are you scratching my carpets with?” English was her second language, so I got a kick out of her question! I replied, “This is a carpet rake.” The previous carpet cleaner never used mechanical agitation to release the embedded soil – they didn’t even have a vacuum and requested that the client vacuum the carpets before they arrived. That’s a shame!

The standard of cleaning doesn’t always apply to every carpet cleaning company in the cleaning world. Not all companies perform by the same standards. I have found that the most promising and successful companies stick to a cleaning process and procedure. Their employees buy into the culture of the owner’s vision of being a successful cleaning company and “We are a team not individuals” attitude. Most of all your cleaning technicians – your entire team – works within the basic principles and documented standards of cleaning, such as the ANSI/IICRC S100 The Standard for Professional Cleaning of Textile Floor Coverings.

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III President, CFI 2020-2021

Now what are the five recommended Principles of Cleaning?

Dry particulate soil removal

Soil suspension

Extraction of suspended soils

Pile setting or grooming


Basically, it comes down to these nine procedures: Pre-inspection, pre-agitation with a carpet rake, pre-vacuuming, pre-conditioning, agitating the pre-spray into the carpet with a carpet rake to perform proper soil suspension, detergent extraction rinse, post-cleaning grooming with a carpet rake, applying protector, and finally grooming with a carpet rake.

Not every client wants a carpet protector reapplied to their carpets or textiles, however as professionals we should be asking – it will help maintain the carpet and prevent potential staining. You may think that’s a lot to do on one job, however that’s the basics of cleaning. Out of the nine steps to cleaning I hope you saw how many times we should be using a carpet rake to prepare the carpet fibers for the steps of cleaning. I counted four times. Believe it or not, we as professional and knowledgeable cleaners should be preparing the carpet before wet-cleaning to remove as much dry particulate soil as possible – otherwise it turns into mud! Agitate the pre-spray into the fibers to properly distribute the pre-spray, pre-groom to receive protector, and a final grooming to distribute the protector through the fibers.

Now there are some cleaning companies that don’t believe in grooming, or even vacuuming. If you’re not going to vacuum, then you should at least groom your carpets at the end of every job. We as professional cleaners want to give the appearance of a new carpet, just the way the carpet came from the manufacturer and after the carpet was freshly installed. Leaving wand marks that look like shark teeth is sacrilegious, don’t do it!

Remember that when being a team player and living up to the standards of your company, the standards written by the IICRC, and the promise to live up to the ethical standards of the CFI, you won’t go wrong! What it comes down to is that the basic steps of using a carpet rake and grooming carpet will set you apart from your competitors.

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Your President Roby Harris,

Roby Harris III
President, CFI 2022-2024

Roby Harris
  • IICRC Senior Carpet Inspector
  • IICRC Master Textile Cleaner
  • Certified Master Rug Cleaner

“The Nose, Knows!”

A Message from CFI President, Roby Harris

A mentor of mine once told a group of cleaners a story about the call back that changed his life. The story involved his number one goal, to give his clients the best customer service he could provide. He cleaned for some of the top high-end clientele in the Silicon Valley and had the reputation of being one of the highest charging cleaners in the South Bay Area. So, a call back was a big deal, even bigger when you’re charging close to a dollar or more per square foot for cleaning wall to wall carpet in the late 1990’s.

One evening he received a call about a faint urine odor coming from around the staircase. He knew of this area because three months earlier, he treated and cleaned this area where the family cat had taken the liberty to show their love to the family.

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III President, CFI 2020-2022

He found himself back at his client’s house searching this area again with black light in hand. Both clients, husband and wife, were there to help look and see if six eyes would be better than two and nothing was found, not a hint of odor was in the air.

Just before he was about to give up the search, his black light hit a small spot under one of the staircase steps. The staircase was the type with no riser, so you can look through the stairs. One small spot shone under the second step, far enough under the staircase that during cleaning this could easily be missed. He said, “there it is” and went over and put his nose right on the spot and gave a big sniff to an old stale pet stain that could have been present for years. Yep, that’s it. He treated the problem and left everyone happy, not knowing that what he just did would change his life forever.

Months later, he started experiencing shortness of breath, had a tough time finishing his jobs, and just walking from place to place without losing his breath. He told us that while in Las Vegas at Connections, during the long walks from his room to the trade show, he would lean against the staircase and along the walls for 10 minutes at a time to catch his breath.

He eventually found himself in the hospital thinking he had some type of lung disease or worst, cancer. After tests, X-rays, and days in the hospital, the doctors determined he had mold in his lungs. How could that have happened? His mind was racing, where did this come from? Light bulbs and stars went flashing in his head. Ah, the cat pee. When he put his nose on the spot a mold spore dislodged and went into one of his lungs and attached itself to one of his lung walls.

What does mold need to grow? A little moister and a little warmth and now you have mold growth even in the human body. There are plenty of cases of people eating and inhaling food into their lungs and months later experiencing respiratory issues from a green bean or a spinach leaf growing in their lungs, all very serious problems. Who would have thought that smelling an old dried-up pet stain would have such repercussions?

Remember, ladies and gentlemen, using our natural senses when walking into a cleaning situation is always the best beat – what we see, what we smell, the location of stains on the carpet, the earth smells from mold that may be coming from an area in the home you can’t see with your eyes. That’s why we let our man-made equipment do the work for us – black light for pet stains and odors, moisture probe to identify pet stains and severity of the contamination, and thermal imaging cameras for water damage in the structure of residential homes and commercial buildings.

Having tools in your truck for pet stains that can also crossover for water damage is a huge advantage for cleaners. Being ready for any situation gives your clients peace of mind. My mentor has never returned to cleaning again, he was never the same. However, he moved on to other areas of the industry helping cleaners in other ways. He became an instructor and marketing guru for the industry and currently helps with the CFI in great ways.

So, before you stick your nose on a spot or a stain, think about what happened to a former cleaner who almost lost his life for doing something as simple as taking an innocent whiff of a small inconspicuous pet stain.

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my Cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

To Vacuum or Not, That is the Question

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III
President, CFI

Did you know that dry soil removal is one of the best forms of pre-cleaning a technician can do? The proper vacuum cleaner will make all the difference. The first requirement of any cleaning method is maximum removal of dry soil. No matter how big and powerful a carpet cleaning truckmount can be, removal of dry soil is a must. Even in a low moisture cleaning, technicians should be pre-vacuuming the carpet. Pre-vacuuming should be done with a good quality commercial vacuum cleaner that meets the standards of the Carpet and Rug Institute, (“CRI”).

When a carpet is properly vacuumed a technician can remove at least 79% of all carpet soil and loose fiber. In some situations pre-grooming with a carpet rake or Counter Rotating Brush (“CRB”), with renovator tool and collection trays added, can provide some of the best results of pre-cleaning. Dry soil removal prior to adding our preconditioner and cleaning solutions makes our job much easier and efficient. Cleaning without dry soil removal creates a problematic situation, turning dry soil into mud.

The vacuum cleaner / vacuum sweepers have been around for over 160 years. In 1860 the manual vacuum was invented by Daniel Hess, called the carpet sweeper. Picking up the dust and extracting dry soil with rotating brushes. Home owners had to hand pump and push at the same time to make the sweeper/ vacuum work.

If you have been cleaning carpets for any amount of time you would have seen the trends come back around for many different carpet styles, colors and texture. One of the newest carpet piles is the Ultra-Soft Carpet. Consumers love the softness of the carpet pile and acutely have removed their shoes in showrooms to walk on samples. Nice to the touch, the “OH YEAH” that feels so good comes with a number of problems, choosing the right vacuum for the right carpet fiber, is a must. The introduction of softer yarns in carpeting has led to the use of an old industry term “denier”. Denier quantify softness and the numeric calculation for yarn. The denier of a fiber is the weight in grams of 9,000 meters of yarn. The larger the denier, the thicker the yarn giving the surface of the carpet the lustrous soft feel. Here is where the challenge comes when cleaning carpet with more surface area. With a larger surface area this creates more drag. More drag makes the vacuum harder to push and pull through the carpet. This creates more vacuum lock-down and even stopping the whole process.

As professional cleaners we must choose the vacuum that protects the homeowners’ carpet warranty and assures a safe and efficient removal of dry soil. The CRI, recommends vacuums with good air flow and brush roll and beater bar. Shaw and Mohawk have basic recommendations for what to look for in a vacuum cleaner. Adjustable vacuum motor speed, brush roll height, switchable on / off brush roll, efficient air-flow, and no sealed suction. Most important, a vacuum cleaner must not have too aggressive bristles. My local vacuum dealer will even match the carpet to the right vacuum, by having the homeowner bring in a sample of the carpet that was just installed in their home. This will insure the right vacuum for the right carpet fiber. As professionals, the last thing we want to do is void the homeowners warranty by using the wrong vacuum cleaner.

Vacuum cleaners are a part of every household. Some vacuum systems are large wall mounted with big containers in the garage, most homes have the basic upright. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area as a young kid, my grandfather being a Longshoremen, would come home with all types of interesting things, let’s just say he was the original “ Guy” back in the early 1970’s. One of the things he brought to our house was a Kirby Vacuum cleaner. I remember the boxes were crushed and ripped and damaged during shipping. Nice brown and gold with Kirby on the top and side of the box partially covered with duct tape to hold the box together. He was so proud to give his daughter one of the high end, top of the line vacuums on the market, “The Kirby Vacuum Cleaner”. He showed my mom all the attachments and how you could not just vacuum our 1970’s brown, green and red shag carpet, you can also buff the kitchen floor. He showed my mom how to take the vacuum head off and place the hose on the front of the vacuum for cleaning the drapes and furniture. You would have thought my grandfather worked for the Kirby Company by the way he took the time to help my mom understand her new vacuum cleaner. When we moved to Redding California in 1980 my family still had the old Kirby, not just one but two Kirby vacuums. One for vacuuming the house the other one was used to vacuum around the hearth around the wood stove, until my dad sucked up a hot coal from the stove and almost burned down the house.

In 2015, my dad passed away. Going through his things I came across both, of the old Kirby vacuums. The one that we used for vacuuming the carpets in the house, and the one that almost burned down the house. I couldn’t believe that my dad still had the box that my grandfather delivered to my mom over 45 years earlier. Most of the parts were missing the Kirby head and brush roll was in the box, the body of the vacuum was there, my dad even saved the half burnt up vacuum bag. So many memories in just one household name we all grew up with.

The vacuum cleaner has revolutionized how we as cleaners and homeowners effectively clean our homes and offices. Properly vacuumed carpet is the easiest and most efficient way to keep carpets clean. Simple regular vacuuming can also have the largest impact on the cleanliness of our clients’ home and indoor air they breathe. As professionals we should be giving good advice to clients on proper vacuuming and recommending vacuuming areas often that receive higher volumes of foot traffic, entrances, hallways, in front of sofas and chairs. We should also suggest walk off mats that can easily be thrown into the washing machine to assist in preventive maintenance.

Remember ladies and gentlemen, we are professionals. As cleaners, rug washers and restores we need to always have the top of the line equipment, providing our clients with the peace of mind that their carpets will be taken care of with kid gloves. Meaning we don’t cause a problem and void out the homeowners carpet warranty. Make sure as cleaners that you have the proper vacuum cleaner for the proper application.

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my Cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Your President Roby Harris,
Roby Harris III
President, CFI
IICRC Senior Carpet Inspector
IICRC Master Textile Cleaner
Certified Master Rug Cleaner

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III
President, CFI

“KEEP IT SIMPLE STUIPD!”…One of the best statements from an instructor I ever heard. I have taken numerous cleaning classes throughout the years, and nothing has stayed in my stream of conscience as permanently as that statement.

Why you may be asking? Because that statement “KEEP IT SIMPLE STUIPD” is so true!

Not all, but many carpet cleaners make their jobs harder by overlooking the obvious. Sometimes you don’t have to use a truck mounted unit to get the job done. As a cleaner myself, I have always said, “Bigger is better.” When it comes to my truck mounts, my first unit was a HydraMaster Aqua Cat…and now I own one of the bigger truck mounted units, a Sapphire Scientific Pro 1200 se. I can clean carpets at any distance, from 50’ away, or up to 300’ with no problems. But still, I fall into the same trap. What’s the trap you may be asking? Ego. Carpet cleaners are a stubborn breed – we usually don’t want to try other methods of cleaning such as a low moisture cleaning method. Our ego tells us that using a low moisture method doesn’t really clean the carpet. However, the proof is in the results.

Jim and Mark Morris, CFI’s Central Coast Chapter Director and Junior Director, held their first chapter meeting last June at the Seascape Golf Club. They provided the members with a hands-on low moisture encapsulation cleaning class. Mark and Jim did a great job teaching the class! Mark gave an informative lesson on the tools, equipment, and encapsulation cleaning products needed to clean carpet efficiently using low moisture methods. Mark also gave CFI members a great history lesson on the origins of the Cimex Rotary Scrubber, and how the British Royal Navy uses this tool to clean the decks of their ships. This tool is the “King” of low moisture cleaning tools in order to do the appropriate rate of cleaning per hour – up to 3000 square feet an hour! With the weight of the tool and the ease of operation, a skilled operator can blaze a trail of commercial carpet in hours!

What is Encapsulation Cleaning? When applied properly, encapsulation products that contain crystallization polymers are sprayed onto the carpet, attracted to the soil, surround the soils, and lift them away from the carpet fibers. Then the encapsulated soils dry and crystalize into a residue that is vacuumed away after 15-30 minutes.

Encapsulation cleaning has been around our industry for years, but what is the new technology? In the early 1970’s cleaning with rotary machines and cotton bonnets led the cleaning industry in the residential market. Cleaning agents derived from coconut oil soaps were used and they would leave a sticky residue that attracted soil. This led to the misconception that having your carpets professionally cleaned would make your carpets get dirty faster!

When the chemistry standards changed to utilizing synthetic detergents, the whole cleaning game changed. With the new generation of crystallization polymers used in encapsulation cleaning agents, carpets are getting cleaner – and staying cleaner longer. And it is often more cost effective to use a low moisture encapsulation process…one technician can quickly do thousands of square feet of carpet in a commercial setting with just a few ounces of encapsulate solution per gallon of water.

Low moisture cleaning methods have always been popular in the carpet cleaning industry. From the new craze of encapsulation cleaning to one of the oldest products on the market still being used today – an absorbent compound cleaning product such as Host. Host is truly a “dry-cleaning” absorbent compound that is derived from corn husks. A solvent is added to the cleaning media to help break down oily soils for efficient cleaning. Ellen Amirkhan of Oriental Rug Cleaning in Dallas Texas, and Eloy Flores of Max’s Carpet Care, in Southern California, both members of CFI, use absorbent compound cleaning products in special situations. When it comes to rugs that can’t be cleaned with water, rugs with natural backing construction, or the problematic Wilton woven (Wilton’s have four added borders all going in different direction, and often when wet-cleaned the borders will shrink and distort) the use of “dry” absorbent compound cleaning processes are the answer for a safe and effective cleaning. One of the big advantages of using this method when cleaning problematic rugs is technician control. Rugs that are prone to dye migration can be safely cleaned giving the professional cleaning technician peace of mind and a good, safe, efficient cleaning.

When it comes to the tools we use for low moisture cleaning, it’s a personal choice. For residential cleaning we can use a rotary machine or a counter rotating brush (CRB) tool, or an “OP”. No, not Ocean Pacific the former clothing line of the cool kids of the 1980’s! OP stands for “oscillating pad” systems. Oscillating pad machines simultaneously apply a specialty cleaning solution while the oscillating head(s) agitates, releasing the soils, and the absorbent pads absorb and capture the soils in one quick pass. OP machines are manufactured by many different companies, some made better than others. As business owners we must do our research and pick the tools that are a good fit for our cleaning practices and business operations – and if we have employees, we need tools that make the job productive, efficient…and simple!

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my Cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Your President Roby Harris,
Roby Harris III
President, CFI
IICRC Senior Carpet Inspector
IICRC Master Textile Cleaner
Certified Master Rug Cleaner

Is Bigger Really Better

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III
President, CFI

Most carpet cleaners start off with portables, because of the low cost to start a business. Portables are less costly to purchase than a truck mounted unit; a start up service will pay $60,000 to $80,000 for a new van and truck mount. While a portable will cost $1,500.00 to $5,000.00 depending on the type of portable. Cleaners often purchase lower end portables to get started in business and once they get established, they move up to a truck mounted unit or the higher end portable. One other good thing about portable units is you can pay cash and keep your operating cost at a minimum, with low to no overhead.
CFI Member Mark Goodman of Fibermark The Carpet Bagger of Santa Monica, California exclusively uses portables in his business. Mark cleans mostly high end apartments and condominiums that are hard to reach and would be almost impossible to access with truck mounted units. In some areas of the country, people live literally on top of each other in luxury high-rise buildings. To use a truck mounted unit with long hose runs up stair wells and hoses hanging over balconies, out of windows two and three story’s up is a lawsuit waiting. Portables are necessary for high-rise towers over 15 to 20 stories and the hard to reach buildings.
In some situations security can be a problem, banks and businesses with security issues are less of a concern when using a portable extractor. Matt Cole of Coles Carpet Care of Castro Valley, California works in cleaning situations where security is a must. You have to enter in and shut the door behind you and you’re locked in the building until the job is done. In one of his accounts he uses a large walk behind. The portable unit is completely self contained with motorized wheels, vacuum, heat and 100 psi so carpets are cleaned, rinsed and dry within hours.
Charlene Locke of Sequoia Carpet, Rug & Upholstery Cleaners in Palo Alto, California. Charlene’s guys use portables every day in the shop and out in the field cleaning some of the most delicate fabric and fibers. Charlene’s rug plant is a full service cleaning company. They attract clients and subcontractors who walk in daily with rugs or furniture to be cleaned. The guys of Sequoia clean with some of the smallest portables you can purchase and they are very skilled in their cleaning techniques. By using a portable for upholstery, you have more control over your heat, vacuum, flow of solution and dry times are cut in half. When cleaning upholstery with a portable you don’t need the heat of a truck mounted unit. You can use a truckmount, however a portable is more practical.
In commercial cleaning when your company is hired to clean both carpet and upholstery, your technicians can simultaneously clean using truck mounted and portable units working together in tandem, which promotes jobs that are cleaned in a timely manner.
Portables are also a great back up system for cleaners. For years, I’ve had my Ninja for back-up just in case my truck went down. Fortunately I was always able to work around my repair and limp through the job. Now I use my portable for just cleaning upholstery and is a much appreciated piece of equipment that I keep on my truck. Portable extractors can be the best and the only backup option for a broken-down truckmount. When the truckmount unit goes down, jobs can still be cleaned by simply loading the portable into another truck.
Now, do portable units clean just as well as a truck mounted unit? That’s the BIG question. Carpet cleaners who swear by portables use them daily because of their reliability and low maintenance. Cleaners feel portables do just as good a job as a truck mounted unit, with proper techniques and good chemistry. Hose runs are less than twenty feet and you get great extraction. Let’s face it. Truckmounts are more efficient and faster than portables. Portable units will take a longer time with more dry passes, less power and heat than their truckmount counterparts. Although truck mounted units are more powerful and do have their advantages over portables. Cleaners are discovering ways to capitalize on the dependability of a portable extractor.
When buying a new portable….Let’s keep a few things in mind.
Heaters. In-line heaters are a must. Portable units producing heat up 200 F to 212 F is great heat and needed in cleaning situations. Although cold water units work well, It’s a proven fact that heated water cleans better and faster.
Vacuum water lift. You should find the unit with at least 150 inches of water lift.
High psi output. 100 psi pressure is sufficient however, 250 to 300 psi will do a good job for carpet and upholstery. If you clean tile and grout or hard surfaces a 500 psi unit would be your best bet.
Large capacity. Some units offer up to 20 gallon recovery, cleaning solution tanks, automatic pump out, auto fill and freshwater feeds.
Durability construction and weight. The unit has to be able to withstand the everyday uses that are put upon it. Also the size and weight of the unit can determine technician fatigue. Therefore, make sure you can move and maneuver the unit up stair wells without killing yourselves.
I hope you enjoyed this newsletter and the information that you have read so you can make an informed decision on your next portable unit. Everyone mentioned in this newsletter are long term members of the CFI. I want to thank
Matt Cole, Mark Goodman, Charlene Locke and the guys at Sequoia, for all the encouragement and Support through the years. The Carpet and FabriCare has been a big part of our business and has helped me in my cleaning and professionalism. I hope you take advantage of what the CFI offers. In conclusion, I hope you see that portables are a big part of our industry and a useful tool to consider.

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my Cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Your President Roby Harris,
Roby Harris III
President, CFI
IICRC Senior Carpet Inspector
IICRC Master Textile Cleaner
Certified Master Rug Cleaner

“It’s Never Too Much To Ask”

Roby Harris
Roby Harris III
President, CFI

My mom always said, “It’s never too much to ask”. My ask, to all CFI members, is, do you know what your best referral was for the year 2020? Do you know where your referrals are coming from and are you keeping up with your referral sources?

Twenty-eight years ago, my wife and I started a janitorial business with just a few business cards, business licenses, flyers, and a small ad in the phone book. We quickly added carpet cleaning, and the rest is history. The problem we faced was how do we set ourselves apart from the rest of the cleaners? Angela and I had a lot of hopes and dreams to move our business to the next level, but we always ran into stumbling blocks, very few clients with no way to reach people without the phone book. Angela and I were up against 40 to 50 cleaning companies in Ma Bell shouting, Pick Me, Pick Me.

Angela and I tried all types of different ways of advertising, from flyers to radio with no such luck, not even a call. We spent countless amounts of money and no return on our investment. A wise man once said, to do the same thing over and over again, with the same results is insanity. We came to an understanding if we did not make a positive return on our investment then never do it again. Angela and I were at our wit’s end when a business investor invited us to a local business networking group. Within the networking group, there were all types of different businesses, from plumbers, contractors, flooring contractors, to the dentist, lawyers, and doctor. A whole group of business professionals who were willing and ready to give business to one another with the understanding of building relationships first before trusting you with their friends, family, and coworkers.

Once a week as a group we would receive weekly training to better build our group and confidence in our own businesses. Giving the best referral to help our teammates get into the door with two steps ahead of their competitor. One of the best trainings I have received in twenty- eight years of business is what I am going to share with you now. Make sure you take out a pen and paper and write this down.

  • What is your “dream” referral? The referral you always wanted to land; one you would pay out in large sums of money. You have to dream high and go for it and do not settle. You may have had your eye on large retail or a group of designers, or a rug-dealer who works with high-end clients. You might want to be known to them as the expert in your field or for your niche cleaning skills that you may have over your competitors, or even your approach and procedure of cleaning that sets you apart from other cleaners in your area. The goal is to be the go-to guy or gal, the professional that holds the written standard of the industry.
  • What is your “cream” referral? That referral you receive once or twice a year that pays out and gives you more referrals from that one cream referral. You may have been looking at that high end gated community, with very large homes that one job could take you all day or even to come back for a second day or even you may have to come back to pick up all their high-end area rugs that you have to take back to your shop for specialty cleaning. If you do mostly commercial cleaning, you may have your eye on that large Law office of partners with lots of employees that can become a mainstream of referrals just from the employees who work in the office. Like I said a few paragraphs above, dream high and go for it. What do you have to lose? What can they say, NO? I have come to my own conclusion that a simple ask, you can win your way into speaking to the right people that will get you in the door before your competitors.
  • What is your bread-and-butter referral? This referral keeps your doors open, keeps you in business. The referral that you need for everyday cleaning whatever you do.

The referral source keeps your bills paid and your crews working. For example, a large residential community filled with people over 55 years of age. My wife and I work for a large community of mobile homes and every month we are in the park working. Your ask should be, who is the owner, or the name of the property management company that manages the community?

I hope you all have taken what I have given you as a spark and boost to your business. To just go for it, look into a referral group that fits your business. Nowadays groups may be slowing down due to Covid19, however, Zoom Meetings are the way most business meetings are conducted. My goal for all the members of the CFI is simple; To give members the ability to have the resources to be successful through education and camaraderie.

I have an open-door policy. My email is and my cell number is 530-941-7390. If you have a question or if you just want to talk please feel free to email or call.

Roby Harris III
President, CFI

Introducing Roby Harris as Your 2020-2021 CFI President

Roby Harris
CFI President, Roby Harris

To the members of the Carpet and FabriCare Institute, I want to thank you for your vote of confidence by electing me as your President. I was elected to serve and represent the CFI with honesty and integrity, and I am up to the challenge.

On November 14th, 2020 we held our Annual Business Meeting and Award Banquet, at Sequoia Cleaning, In Palo Alto, CA to swear in the new Board of Directors for the upcoming year of 2021. Congratulations team. It is going to be an exciting year working with this dynamic Board.

  • Andrea Varnai, Northern California Director
  • Terry Jones, Southern California Director
  • Jim Morris, Central California Director
  • Jose Solorzano, Secretary-Treasurer
  • Roby Harris, President
  • Charlene Locke, Chairman of the Board

As I begin my term on the Board of Directors, I will be working on our membership growth by continuing to add value to CFI. The new CFI Webinar Series: Success Wisdom, Meet the Experts, and the first-ever Spanish speaking webinar series – Sin Miedo al Exito, are being recognized as great educational webinars for professionals to be a part of.

In addition to the webinars, I’ll be working with the Board to enhance the already great membership benefits we have. By collaborating with other organizations, CFI can add and increase discounts, perks, and build on our large group insurance coverage like the CFI Long Term Disability, Basic Life insurance and AD&D coverages we already have. Gather information on plumbers insurance to make sure you are covered. I do believe CFI is the only carpet cleaning association that provides disability insurance to members.

We have reached an exciting new era in CFI and I am proud to be a part of the new generation. With all that has happened in 2020, COVID 19, shutdowns of businesses, and the loss of life, our industry pushes on. Online learning and Zoom meetings are the way of the world. However, we will still be meeting in person on some occasions. Make sure you attend the RED – Regional Education Days, Chapter meetings, and Webinars. Take advantage of all the benefits CFI offers you as a member.

Remember, CFI adds value, we are apart of one of the longest standing associations in the industry, and the best. From our beginning’s in 1954 to 2020, I am very proud to represent you as your new President.

Please take the time to email me or call me. My email is and my cell number is 530-941-7390.

Roby Harris III
President, CFI

The Three R’s for 2020-2021 Rethinking, Reinventing, Restructuring

Some of you might be too young to remember the Three R’s. I have vivid memories of being taught Reading, ‘Riting, and ‘Rithmetic. Okay, I am showing my earthy years, but stay with me.

With what our nation is struggling through economically and with no clear end in sight, I have been thinking about the “Three R’s” – not the three I was taught, but three for today’s times. Rethinking, Reinventing, and Restructuring.

We all know adapting is a form of survival. To have a profitable and healthy future, we need to adapt by Rethinking how we do business, then Reinventing and Restructuring our business models. This holds true to both our individual businesses and CFI.

Your CFI Board has embraced and succeeded in Rethinking for the future of our great association. While we bridge the gap between our membership of cleaners and industry leaders, affiliates, distributors, and educators, our vision remains the same. CFI is recognized as “The Association” who is unified and empowers its members.

CFI, clearly acknowledges, a significant part of our Restructuring success is because of your dedication and participation. You have embraced the modernized website where members are accessing their benefits, continuing education, resources, and networking – faster, easier, and safer. Restructuring continues and will bring added value to your membership benefits. We are expanding benefits with new accredited classes, extensive discounts, implementation of the next phase of webinar series, and introduction of a marketing campaign to reach cleaners nationwide.

My Presidential terms have been rewarding. As your President, I am honored to be the architect orchestrating such a monumental restructuring of CFI. As I transition from President to Chairman of the Board, I remain committed to CFI and its Rethinking, Reinventing, and Restructuring.

It takes your participation, it’s your association, get involved, nominate and vote. I passionately believe 2020-2021 Membership year will prove to be one of growth, profit, and a healthy future.

Charlene Locke
CFI President 2018-2020

Important Links

Newsletter and Presidents Message

CFI Phases Forward Together

I was once told, “If you look forward, you won’t stumble on the stones behind you.” I find myself referring to this statement now, as I look at what lays ahead, after emerging from a pandemic driven economy. The last few months have been an eyeopener, for all of us, on so many levels. Yet, when I have spoken to CFI colleagues I am comforted in a shared optimism for continued growth and prosperity for our businesses.

The secret to success is adapting and CFI is adapting by looking forward. As we phase through June and July 2020 with on-line meetings at, we plan to continue being on-line while resuming actual social meetings in August 2020.

Your CFI Board continues working on our collective vision; making the CFI brand nationally recognized. We will continue to couple with our longtime supporters, industry leaders, and Associate Members to adapt the groundwork that we have been building to move forward with this vision. We are adapting and phasing CFI to provide cohesive and balanced Chapter meetings membership wide. CFI Directors are working together to create great on-line Chapter meetings for all members while phasing in our Regional Chapter meetings for our members to gather and socialize. All meetings that provide an educational component will continue to be acknowledged by IICRC and receive Continuing Educational Hours (“CEH”) as a membership benefit.

CFI and its members are there for each other to share knowledge, offering their skills, and giving support in any way needed. Always building, adapting, and looking forward! As a 2nd generation CFI member, I can truly attest that members are vested in each other’s success. I want to personally thank all of you for your support and for being an important part of CFI.

Charlene Locke
CFI President 2019-2020

IMPORTANT MESSAGE from Your CFI Board About COVID-19 and Upcoming, First-Ever, On-Line Meeting

Dear CFI Members, Families, Suppliers, and Vendors:

Like you, we are deeply concerned about the impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to our membership and the communities served. In order to provide information to our membership, the CFI Board has been closely following developments concerning the outbreak of COVID-19.

We plan on sharing this information provided from the recommendations and guidelines issued by the CDC and WHO at our upcoming, first-ever, on-line, This meeting is a FREE benefit and exclusively for current CFI members in good standing. All members will receive a separate email with meeting agenda and login directions.

Click here to register for the meeting.

At this time we know of no confirmed instances of COVID-19 at any facility we are scheduled to visit. However, the Board voted to suspended non-essential travel and scheduling of classes or events out of an abundance of caution for the safety and well-being of all. This includes cancellation of the CFI Fabrica Mill Tour. The Experience Conference and Exhibition in Ohio has been cancelled by their event coordinators. If you have any questions, please reach out and contact me.

We are also encouraging our CFI members, their employees and family members to continue taking preventive measures based on the CDC’s guidelines. At this time we all should be focused on preparedness, precaution, and prevention, not panic.

CFI appreciates all your patience during these times. We appreciate your membership, partnership, your business and continued support as we all navigate through this current economic occurrence. We understand this is a tough period for our industry with many challenges.

I look forward to seeing our members at the upcoming where we are planning to provide information from a reliable industry authority, who can answer our questions directed towards our business practices as we move forward. Remember, all members will receive a separate email with meeting agenda and login directions.

We are optimistic the spirit of social distancing will prevail and look forward to a speedy recovery.

Charlene Locke
CFI President 2019-2020

Until Further Notice, The Upcoming Events & Classes Are CANCELLED

CFI Fabrica Carpet Mill Tour – CANCELLED

Fabrica Canceled
This event was scheduled for Tuesday March 24, 2020

The Experience – CANCELLED

the-experience canceled
This event was scheduled for April 1, 2, 3, 2020


Announcements regarding Jon-Don will be updated as CFI is notified. Contact Jon-Don directly for further information.

CFI, First-Ever On-Line, Details to Follow Soon

Please keep your eyes open for an email with directions to join our first-ever This on-line meeting answers as many questions possible during these changing time.

CFI 2019-2020 Board Members

  • Chairman of the Board – Matt Cole,
  • President – Charlene Locke,
  • Secretary-Treasurer – Roby Harris,
  • NorCal Director – Open Position
  • Central Coast Director – Jose Solorzano,
  • SoCal Director – Terry Jones,
  • Emeritus – Ralph Denning,
The Carpet and FabriCare Institute