Since 1909, the Good Housekeeping Seal has been a coveted certification among consumer brands, and in order to preserve the integrity of the famous mark, products must undergo exhaustive testing by engineers and scientists at the Good Housekeeping Institute.
Located in New York’s Hearst Tower, it comprises six labs focused on health, beauty and environmental sciences; textiles, paper and plastic; nutrition; kitchen appliances and technology; home appliances and cleaning; and consumer electronics and engineering. On any given day, thousands of products are evaluated for editors of the magazine and its website, and for the seal.
“The institute is at the heart of everything we do at Good Housekeeping,” said editor in chief Jane Francisco. “It’s pretty incredible to have a state-of-the-art facility with test kitchens, labs and even a climatology chamber in the middle of midtown Manhattan.”
According to Francisco, the ovens are tested for “the ability to bake cakes and cookies, to broil bread slices evenly and broil a steak, and the efficacy of the self-clean cycle.” There is room for six ranges in the Kitchen Appliances and Technology Lab, with new equipment cycled in constantly.
Reference shots let the art and editorial departments know what a dish looks like. The pictures are also used on Good Housekeeping’s social media accounts.
“In our Nutrition Lab,” said Francisco, “packaged foods are screened for health parameters, such as ingredients, total calories, sodium and added sugar.”
Suck It Up
To make sure each vacuum is tested in the same way, the institute uses a machine that measures the amount of dirt removed from the carpet.
The Beauty Lab tests hair-care and styling products on human-hair wigs.
The Good Housekeeping Dining Room dates back to the early 1900s and has hosted presidents, first ladies, celebrities and other luminaries, according to Francisco. It was designed to match its predecessor, located in the original Hearst Magazine Building at 959 Eighth Avenue, which would become the base of the new Hearst Tower. Prior to the construction of the Hearst Tower, which was completed in 2006, all items from the dining room were carefully catalogued and stored.
Rinse and Repeat
The Engineering Lab tests showerheads for ease of use, rinse quality and aesthetics.
“The Beauty Lab is constantly testing products for hair stories for the magazine,” said Francisco. Swatches made of human hair are used for testing shampoos, conditioners and dyes.
Back to School
“Primarily, we are looking for the ability of a lunch box to keep a typical packed lunch cold enough to be safe to eat from the time a child might get on the school bus until the time she would eat her lunch,” explained Francisco. The best lunch boxes will be featured in Good Housekeeping’s September Back to School Issue.