Pro's Corner

Explanation of Encapsulation Cleaning

What is it?

Encapsulation is a high production rate, low moisture carpet cleaning system. Encapsulation is not new to the industry but the chemistry and equipment available today is so much better than before that it has become the premier way to clean and maintain commercial glue down carpet. Encapsulation can be done in the residential sector but is mainly directed at commercial carpet. 

Typically in a residential setting, the homeowner is expecting the once-a-year restorative cleaning or truckmount experience. Some carpet cleaning companies promote encapsulation cleaning to residential clients as a fast-drying method. This is a way to differentiate or separate their company from the many cleaners using truckmounts. The use of encapsulation in homes is sometimes hotly debated by cleaners. However, encapsulation cleaning can still be a viable option for maintenance or touch up cleaning in a home.

The process of encapsulation cleaning is different than hot water extraction (HWE) in several ways, though the principles of cleaning do NOT change. Whether you are performing HWE or encapsulation, the principles are still:Brush Pro 20 in use

  1. Dry Soil Removal (vacuuming)
  2. Soil Suspension (wash cycle using chemistry, heat, agitation, and time)
  3. Extraction (wet or dry removal of chemical and suspended soils)
  4. Finishing and drying

With HWE, your chemicals are designed to emulsify soils and suspend them in a solution that is intended to be rinsed or extracted away. Encapsulation is slightly different. Encapsulation chemicals are agitated into the carpet coming in contact with all the different types of soil. Some of the formulas are fortified with hydrogen peroxide, which not only clean but brighten the fibers. The "encapsulated" soils dry into a crystal lattice structure or brittle film. This film shatters and is vacuumed away when dry. The polymers prevent the suspended soils from reattaching to the fibers. In addition, the polymer is left behind and soil resistance by repelling future soils. This makes subsequent vacuuming more efficient as soils do not readily bond to the fibers. The carpet may be vacuumed several times before it starts to lose the protective value of the encapsulating polymers. This is separate from the stain resistance offered by the acid dye resistor polymers found in a few specialized encapsulation products, which may be vacuumed many times before their protection diminishes.

Most contractors do not perform the post-vacuuming step. They simply educate the property owner to vacuum the carpet thoroughly when dry, or on their next scheduled vacuuming cycle. This saves the property owner money as they typically have their own janitors on site. If the contractor does perform the post-vacuuming, he will usually add a few cents per square foot to the bill. The speed and efficiency in which one can clean with encapsulation makes it one of the most profitable forms of carpet cleaning available, if not the most profitable.

Benefits of Encapsulation Cleaning

  • Cleaning Rates from 1,500 to 3,000 square feet per hour - Higher in many situations. No other cleaning system is faster
  • Dry times of 10-60 minutes
  • Virtually eliminates wicking or yellowing
  • Competitively bid against all cleaning systems and/or methods on the market due to amazing performance and incredible production rates at a very low cost of operation
  • Encapusulation products contain additives that provide a higher level of soil resistance than any other product
  • They improve vacuuming performance and spot removal
  • Encapusulation products keep the carpet looking cleaner longer
  • Easy to train technicians. Encapsulation takes about 10 minutes to become an expert.
  • Performed with many types of machines such as cylindrical brush machines (CRB) like the Brush Pro, 175 RPM floor machines with bonnets, shampoo brushes or even floor pads, the Cimex and orbital or oscillating agitation machines
  • Works extremely well with the Brush Pro which is a plus since some carpet manufacturers discourage the use of rotary machines.
  • Contains special polymers that prevent suspended soils from re-attaching to fibers during the drying process and protects the carpet from future soiling issues.
  • Reduces cleaning frequency demands and satisfies carpet manufacturer warranties.

Encapsulation is endorsed by major carpet mills, especially Shaw (the largest carpet manufacturer in the world). Shaw heavily endorses Bridgepoint Systems' products and the Brush Pro counter-rotating machine.Hydro-Force, Counter-Rotating Brush Machine, Brush Pro, 17"

See the following testimonial from Charlie Rollins of Shaw Product Care.

"We at Shaw Industries believe that the use of Bridgepoint Systems' products as part of a proper maintenance process (or program) will help ensure that your carpet meets your highest expectations. We highly recommend the use of their low moisture system with a cylindrical brushing machine called Brush Pro for interim maintenance and have also have found Bridgepoint Systems' products designed for restoration cleaning of your commercial carpets to be some of the best products in the industry:"

--Charlie Rollins; Director of Product Support, Shaw Industries, Inc.

The Brush Pro is the premier way to perform encapsulation cleaning as the cylindrical counter-rotating brushes reach deep into the pile (pile lifting) reaching all parts of the fiber and getting the chemical in contact with more soils for better removal. The Brush Pro can also be used without chemical to perform pile lifting and heavy dry soil removal.

-Scott Warrington