Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning Advantages

Keeping carpet clean can be a challenge, especially in facilities that experience high foot traffic daily. There are numerous methods that facility managers and building service contractors use to clean carpet in commercial buildings. Some are more extensive and disruptive than others, and some processes are preferred due to their simplicity. Read on and view our infographic to learn more about low-moisture encapsulation, hot water extraction and how these two approaches can work well together.

An Easy Approach to Carpet Care

So, what is encapsulation carpet cleaning? Low-moisture encapsulation is an interim carpet maintenance method. This means that it is regularly conducted between vacuuming and hot water extraction carpet cleaning sessions. Some facilities conduct encapsulation cleaning every few days while others opt for once a month or bi-monthly. There are numerous factors that will determine which frequency is right for your facility.

There are many advantages to using the encapsulation carpet cleaning method. These include:

  • Exceptional cleaning results – Encapsulation removes dry and oily soils from the surface of carpet as well as those that are deeply embedded in carpet fibers. The soils bind with the chemistry and do not leave behind a sticky residue that will attract dirt, as is common with many other carpet cleaning products. Whittaker’s CRYSTAL® Chemistry range offers a lineup of 10 low-residue solutions that remove a variety of stains.
  • Productivity – Staff can perform encapsulation cleaning quite efficiently because the machines are easy to use, and the carpet dries quickly. In fact, the carpet is ready for use again after just 30 minutes. Whittaker’s Smart Care® machines can clean 16,000 square feet per hour.
  • Sustainability – Many facilities are looking for ways to be greener. With encapsulation cleaning, 1 gallon water can clean 1,000 square feet of carpet, and results in no water waste.
  • Cost effectiveness – Encapsulation cleaning is a relatively low-cost approach for extending the lifespan of carpet. In fact, it costs just $5.33 per 12-ounce bottle of Whittaker’s CRYSTAL® Dry Extra (sold in cases of 24). With this bottle, staff can clean up to 2,000 square feet of carpet.
  • Safety – It is as easy to operate Whittaker’s low-moisture encapsulation machines as it is to use a vacuum. There is limited contact with cleaning chemicals, as employees simply fill the tank with a full, pre-measured bottle of solution. Plus, unique features like a machine-mounted solution tank and lite-touch control reduce strain that can lead to on-the-job injuries.

Consider the following essentials for encapsulation cleaning:

  • Carpet agitator machine – Select a two- or three-brush machine. Top features include counter rotating brushes, a machine-mounted solution tank, quiet operation and ergonomic maneuvering. Select the width that will work best for your facility and its various obstacles like furniture.
  • Effective chemistry – The formulation of the chemistry you use with your machines and tools is very important. You do not want the carpet cleaning chemicals to leave a sticky residue or strong fragrances on the carpet fibers, as the carpet will become dirty more quickly and will require more frequent cleaning. This will drive up the cost of your carpet care program.

Instead, look for products recommended by the Carpet and Rug Institute, approved by the WoolSafe Organisation or certified by Green Seal. The products should protect the color and appearance of your carpet.

  • Spot removal tools – When staff need to quickly address stains, handheld tools come to the rescue. These help agitate carpet to treat spots caused by food and beverage spills, mud and more.

How Hot Water Extraction Fits into Carpet Care

Hot water extraction (HWE) uses very hot and higher volumes of water to target stains, dirt and allergens that settle on and in carpet. In order to successfully perform carpet cleaning with hot water extraction, you will need the following:

  • Carpet extractor – A portable machine with a powerful motor is a must. Facilities often do not want to invest in this equipment, so third-party service providers are typically called in to perform HWE.
  • Hot water – Water is heated to 180 to 220 degreesFahrenheit to help release contaminants from carpet.
  • Strong suction – One of the most important phases in this process is suctioning out the moisture that has been applied to clean the carpet. Hot water extraction results in longer dry times simply because it uses much more moisture than encapsulation. Waiting for carpet to completely dry before opening it for foot traffic is necessary to discourage the growth of mold and mildew.


Whittaker carpet clean

Due to its cost, many facilities schedule HWE every 2-3 years and opt for regular interim maintenance to prolong the time between extractions. Whittaker’s carpet agitators and CRYSTAL® Quick RestoreTM chemistry achieve the same results as hot water extraction while using 3 to 12 times less water than leading competitors. For more information on this topic, access our white paper here.

Are you looking to successfully implement low-moisture encapsulation within your cleaning program? 


With over 30 years of experience and the pioneers of the first commercial encapsulation carpet cleaning system, Whittaker has the expertise required to help customers maintain a consistently cleaner carpet. For more information contact us at 800.422.7686 or [email protected]whittakersystem.com.

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