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Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning: 5 Best Practices to Achieve Best Results

Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning: 5 Best Practices to Achieve Best Results

Now that you know how encapsulation works, and the steps to perform encapsulation carpet cleaning, you’re ready to tackle the carpets in your facility. 

However, before you begin, there are some best practices you and your team should know to get the most out of this carpet cleaning procedure. 

Not only will these tips help you improve or maintain the appearance of your carpets, but they’ll save you money on reworks and allow your cleaning team to operate more efficiently. 

Let’s dive right in to 5 best practices for encapsulation carpet cleaning. 

5 Best Practices for Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning 

  1. Always Pre-Vacuum Before Encapsulation Cleaning
  2. Perform Carpet Encapsulation Cleaning as Needed
  3. Use a Neutral pH Cleaner
  4. Use a Dry Foam Generator
  5. Use a CRI Approved Dry Foam Brush

1. Always Pre-Vacuum Before Encapsulation Cleaning

Do I Need to Vacuum Before Encapsulation Cleaning? 

While this is technically not a step in the encapsulation process, pre-vacuuming should always be performed before any form of carpet cleaning. 

The primary benefit to vacuuming your carpets before cleaning is that it sucks up most of the loose, dry dirt and soil particles.

By removing as many dry particles as possible before encapsulation carpet cleaning you help ensure that the encapsulation cleaner can focus on those nitty gritty particles that vacuuming won’t take care of.

2. Perform Carpet Encapsulation Cleaning as Needed 

How Often Should I Perform Encapsulation Cleaning? 

Make no mistake, encapsulation carpet cleaning is best used as an interim cleaning process. 

Pro Tip: Interim cleaning, also known as periodic cleaning, are cleaning procedures that you perform between restorative cleanings, with the goal of extending the time between restorative efforts. 

It’s not that using an encapsulation cleaner would be ineffective as a daily cleaning method, quite the opposite; it would be a waste of time, labor, and money. 

Encapsulation cleaning is effective in trapping and removing soil particles that are deeply embedded in the carpet’s surface fibers. It’d be unnecessary to do it daily because the soil wouldn’t have had enough time to get deep enough that an encapsulation cleaning would be warranted.

For the opposite reason, it shouldn’t replace restorative efforts either. Encapsulation cleaning is great at getting deep soil stains, or removing leftover contaminants from detergent, but it struggles to handle more intense stains. Grease and oil stains are particularly difficult for encapsulation. Similarly, it will not be able to remove soil from deep within the carpet padding. 

Encapsulation cleaning is most effective as a means of prolonging the time between restorative cleanings. If your carpet is looking dirty, but you recently performed an extraction and it’s too soon for another, that’s the perfect time to use encapsulation. It will efficiently clean the surface fibers, boosting the carpet’s appearance, but deeply entrenched soil will still remain in the carpet padding. 

We recommend encapsulation cleaning is performed up to 3-4 times a year, between restorative efforts. But really, you can do it as needed. It’s most effective this way, as it will keep the carpet looking clean while elongating the period of time between the need for a restorative clean.  

3. Use a Dry Foam Generator

What is the Best Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Equipment? 

Dry foam generators are the best equipment for performing carpet encapsulation. 

Some encapsulation systems are very alkaline and use a lot of water, which can lead to problems with resoiling. With the dry foam system, this doesn’t happen.

The dry foam generator uses a very low amount of moisture, so it doesn’t require a lot of water, and leads to quicker dry times. It also utilizes a neutral pH cleaner, so you don’t have to worry about detergent particles remaining in the carpet fibers. Because dry foam encapsulation cleaning is very low moisture and uses a neutral pH, the threat of resoiling is all but eliminated. 

Pro Tip: Learn how to use a dry foam generator with our guide, How to Perform Encapsulation Cleaning in 7 Easy Steps. 

In addition to the dry foam generator, we recommend using a high quality vacuum. A high quality vacuum has a separate motor for the vacuum and the brush. The brush should have hard, stiff bristles so it can properly agitate the crystallized polymers from the carpet fibers. 

Traditional vacuums, like backpack, canister, or single motor models, often don’t have the ability to effectively agitate the carpet fibers enough to release those deeply embedded encapsulation particles. Use a powerful, two motor, upright vacuum for the best results. 

Lastly, don’t forget to wait at least a few hours before vacuuming. Ideally, you want to wait 24 hours to ensure that the carpet is completely dry. If it’s dry, that means the encapsulation chemicals have had enough time to fully crystallize any soil particles. 

4. Use a Neutral pH Cleaner

What is the Best Encapsulation Carpet Cleaner with a Neutral pH?

There are dozens of encapsulation cleaning formulas and products on the market, and while each may claim to do something unique, they all use an acrylic polymer to crystallize sticky hard-to-reach particles. 

Regardless of the brand and its advertised effects, the most important detail you want to pay attention to is the formula pH. The best encapsulation carpet cleaners are neutral pH; this is so that, in the unlikely event residue is left behind after encapsulation, it won’t attract additional soil and dirt. 

Many encapsulation cleaning products are alkaline based. With alkaline chemicals, there’s always a chance that it’ll leave behind residue. The residue is incredibly sticky, and it will attract dirt and soil. The last thing you want is for your carpet to attract dirt and soil right after it’s been cleaned. 

Neutral pH products don’t leave behind sticky residue that can attract more dirt and soil.

Another crucial detail you need to pay attention to is the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dilution. If you don’t properly dilute the encapsulation cleaning solution with water, the treatment will be ineffective, costing your business in time spent, materials used, and extended out-of-service time.

5. Use a CRI Approved Dry Foam Brush

What is the Best Brush to Use for Encapsulation Cleaning? 

There are two different kinds of brushes that we recommend for encapsulation carpet cleaning, depending on the severity of the stain. 

The go-to brush for encapsulation cleaning is a CRI Approved Dry Foam Brush. This brush type is great for encapsulation cleaning because it has soft bristles, to prevent damaging the carpet, and steel plate in the center, to help glide across the carpet and evenly distribute the dry foam chemical. 

If you’re dealing with a tough stain, like a grease or oil stain, and you want to be sure that the encapsulation cleaning will work, it may take a more aggressive brush. For this scenario, we recommend a restorative encapsulation brush. It has hard bristles to help agitate the carpet, and multiple center-fed channels to deliver the dry foam chemical.

It should be noted that pre-scrubbing or pre-agitating is unnecessary with encapsulation carpet cleaning. When you encapsulate, you don’t want to extract soil from the carpet during the process. Encapsulation cleaning is the art of putting the chemical into the carpet, scrubbing it in, having the dirt dry up into the encapsulation crystals, and then the dirt comes off when you vacuum. 

Final Thoughts

Carpet encapsulation can be tricky. With these tips, you and your team can see a better outcome. Similarly, issues that frequently occurred before, like carpet wicking, resoiling, and having to reclean your carpets, will happen less and less frequently.

At Imperial Dade, we offer carpet care training for you and your team, so that you can get the best results. We also have all the products you need to get started on your own dry foam encapsulation system. Save money and have cleaner rugs in no time; reach out to our experts today for more information. 

Reach out to one of our facilities, located across the US and Canada, for a free consultation. Our experts will provide you with an on-site or virtual evaluation of your commercial cleaning capabilities and work with you to implement improvements wherever they may be needed!

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