In a world where news travels at the speed of light and untrustworthy sites and sources are all around us, we hope (for the sake of humanity- and for our clients!) that someone is out there objectively evaluating the stuff we buy everyday. Lucky for us, the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI) serves as an authoritative voice on consumer products, and provides us with the checks and balances we need to select the best of the best.
Last week, the VP+C team took a trip to the GHRI — the most prominent consumer product evaluation laboratory in the country. And, when we say laboratory, we mean six huge labs occupying the entire 29th floor of the Hearst Tower in Midtown. The place is pretty incredible.
But, what goes on inside each lab is even more impressive. With experts in each field, the labs are equipped to test and measure the claims of products. And then, the pros review each product and rank it among similar items. All very scientific, GHRI tests thousands of products each year and uses its website to communicate the findings to the consumer world.
My favorite lab, which is the health, beauty and environmental sciences lab, has tools that can actually measure eyelashes if mascara claims to lengthen lashes, and then ranks the products according to its elongating power. So groovy!
We toured several other labs, featuring a dishwasher test that puts products through 14 serious scrubbing rounds if a product claims to be dishwasher-safe, and a vacuum challenge that sees how a “sweeper” stands up to a floor covered with rice, dirt and pet hair. All of the things you do and don’t think of when buying a product are tested at the Institute… a wall full of stain swatches for washing machine and detergent testing, a flammability tester and a rain tester are just a few of the many hurdles products are faced with there.
The GHRI also raises red flags when warranted. Over the years, many products from food to textiles to beauty products have been identified for false claims and dangerous designs. These products get showcased inside a wall at GHRI, whether it’s a towel that shrinks to half its size after a few washes, bedding thread counts that just don’t add up, “miracle” diet pills, or foods that claim to have lower fat content than they actually do.
On the other hand, the best products that go into the institute for testing come out with the Good Housekeeping Seal, which means the Institute will replace or repair anything bearing the badge of honor that is defective within two years of the date it was sold.
Oh, and we think it’s totally worth mentioning that many of JCPenney Home’s private label cooks cookware and kitchenware items proudly don the Good Housekeeping Seal. Cool, huh?
Speaking of cool, Margaux got to try on a GHRI lab coat – checking that off her bucket list!