Encapsulation is the youngest of carpet cleaning methods, coming into play around the late 1990’s to the early 2000’s. It uses much of the same equipment and methods as shampooing. However, the real difference derives from the chemistry. Since that difference is not typically noticed by the carpet owner, encapsulation has often taken a back seat to shampoo.
The Difference in the Details
Shampooing uses a cleaning agent and water to make a lather to remove unwanted dirt from your carpet upon rinsing. Encapsulation uses a different technology to get at the dirt. It involves an acrylic polymer, surfactants, and other ingredients to grab the dirt and bond to it once it is dislodged from the carpet fibers. An agitator loosens the dirt from the fibers, at which point the mixture absorbs it.
However, there is another significant difference between the two methods: encapsulation does not use water to rinse the mixture out of the carpet. After applying it to the carpet and using an agitator (beater bar, rotary brush, oscillating pad, etc.). After that, you let it dry. As it dries, the mixture crystallizes with the dirt, debris and other particulates encased within a non-sticky residue or powder. The residue is then easily removed with a vacuum.
Pros and Cons of Encapsulation
This method leaves behind very little residue, as it does not bond to carpet fibers. Some cleaners follow up the process with hot water extraction to be thorough. However, doing so will require time and effort to dry the carpet. Encapsulation is also looked upon as environmentally friendly since a significantly lower chemical residue is left behind compared to carpet shampoo.
Encapsulation does its best job with lightly soiled carpet. Some results indicate that heavily soiled carpets are simply too much for the polymer to bond with before it dries. Multiple applications might be necessary, and even then, the soil might be bonded to the carpet fibers too strongly for the solvent mixture to dislodge. Also, if hot water extraction is going to be used anyway, it’s often more cost-effective to work with that method exclusively.
Encapsulation Has Its Place
As with many cleaning methods, there are times when encapsulation might be the best option. However, determining that time is much easier for skilled, trained, experienced carpet cleaning professionals like Preferred Carpet Care in Redding. We make it a point to find out what procedure, solvent, equipment, and application is the best not only for your style of carpet but for the type and level of soil involved. Let us examine what you’re up against with your carpet, and help you overcome it. All it takes to start is a phone call to our team at 530-243-8400 or filling out our convenient online form.
- Posted by Rod Barth
- On November 19, 2020