Only products that have been accepted for advertising in the magazine can use the Good Housekeeping Seal.
The magazine, published by Hearst Corp., established the Good Housekeeping Institute as a product evaluation laboratory. The goals of the Good Housekeeping Institute are to provide consumer education and product evaluation. It reviews all ads submitted to the magazine and only those that it finds acceptable are published in Good Housekeeping. Advertisers then become eligible to earn the Good Housekeeping Seal.
Good Housekeeping stands behind its recommendations, offering a limited warranty to buyers or recipients of products that have earned its seal. If any product bearing the seal proves defective within two years of purchase, Good Housekeeping will replace the product or refund a consumer's money. Many products and services, however, are explicitly excluded from this warranty.
The guarantees for the most part are valid only within the U.S., the main exception being for products bearing the Good Housekeeping Seal that are produced in the U.S. but sold overseas.
Over time, the seal's design has changed, although it always has remained an oval. The current wording at the top of the seal reads, "Limited Warranty to Consumers."
A 1996-97 study by the research firm Siegel & Gale found that awareness of the Good Housekeeping Seal among U.S. consumers was higher than that of any other consumer symbol, rating or endorsement.