Frequently Asked Questions


What is encapsulation and how does it work?

Encapsulation is the process of encasing foreign soils in a clear polymer that can be easily fractured and vacuumed away. Please refer to Encapsulation.

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Isn't hot water extraction the best cleaning method?

Hot water extraction is certainly the most effective method for removing soil. However, facilities traditionally clean with water extraction only when carpets start to look bad (soiled). The problem with this "restorative cleaning" is that layers upon layers of dirt must build up before it is noticeable, and cleaning at this point can leave up to 85% of the layered grime and pollutants trapped in the carpet fibers. Smart Care® complements hot water extraction by improving everyday soil removal during scheduled vacuum cycles. Please refer to Smart Care® Carpet System.

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Why do carpet spots return the next day?

In most cases returning spots are caused by over-wetting, usually with hot water extraction. The liquid reaches all the way down to the carpet backing and base of the fibers, where most liquid spills collect. As the liquid dries at the carpet fiber tips, more liquid containing soil is drawn up to the tips - making it visible again. Smart Care® cleaning eliminates this potential.

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Besides price, aren't all machines and chemicals basically the same?

There are similarities in equipment, chemicals, and processes, but Whittaker prides itself on being innovative and ahead of the industry with world-class product offerings. You can be sure our products will be safe, productive, and easy to operate.

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Why do spots return after a couple of weeks?

If spots return after a couple of weeks, the reason is almost always re-soiling. Re-soiling is caused by an oily residue in the carpet fibers. As shoes or wheels travel across the carpet, dry soil on them sticks to the sticky carpet fibers. Several cleanings with a CRYSTAL® Chemistry may be required or in extreme cases hot water extraction is the best option. Years of residue are very difficult to remove.

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Is the Smart Care® Carpet System safe for my carpet?

Smart Care® has been proven safe by many of the largest carpet mills and fiber manufacturers. It is even approved by the Woolsafe Organization. Please see our Approvals list for more information.

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Can anyone on my staff use Smart Care®, or are there special requirements?

All Smart Care® equipment can be operated without special skills or training, with no more physical effort than operating a vacuum. All chemicals are numbered and color-coded for sure identification, and the system is a simple 1-2-3 step operation.

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Where can I find information on how to use Whittaker products?

Please refer to the following pages: Cleaning Instructions Training Videos and Product Documentation

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Why don't I have to let CRYSTAL DRY® dwell after spraying onto carpet?

With CRYSTAL DRY®, the dwell time is after agitation with our world famous Smart Care® machine. The brushing action helps comb the polymer throughout the fibers - not just on top. Then the chemistry dries, encapsulating the soil, and is ready for recovery at the next scheduled vacuum cycle.

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Will CRYSTAL DRY® cleaning crystals build up on carpet fibers?

While harsh chemical cleaners can leave a sticky residue, CRYSTAL DRY® becomes very brittle once it dries to fracture easily. It can therefore be removed easily by vacuuming, which may occur at any time without adverse effect. Please refer to Encapsulation.

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What can I expect from the 15" Smart Care® System under normal soiling conditions with no obstructions?

A reasonable expectation should be to clean more than 2,000 sq.ft./hr. with manual spraying. By adding the Automatic Sprayer Attachment, you can expect to cover at least 4,000 sq.ft./hr.

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What can I do to clean up the edges of walls?

Simply add the Side Brush cleaning tool, which extends 4" to the outside of your Smart Care® machine. It snaps on easily with no tools required.

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Why can't I buy the Smart Care® system at my local distributor?

Whittaker sells its products only factory-direct because it maximizes cost-effectiveness and personal service. We prefer to get to know our customers, so they can give us firsthand feedback and we can give them consistent pricing and supply arrangements.

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Why is my machine vibrating or bouncing?

The most common reason a Smart Care® machine will vibrate is due to its brushes. Brushes may have a flat spot somewhere on them due to improper storage. Soaking in hot water will often remove minor flat spots. Another reason may be infrequent brush rotation (end-to-end) to change the direction they spin. After allowing the brush to rotate only one direction it will form a slant in the bristles, and if one or both are rotated end-to-end at this point it becomes very aggressive and can bounce or not spin due to excessive friction.
IMPORTANT! Do not operate the machine if it is vibrating badly, or a drive gear may be stripped.

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Why is one of the machine’s brushes not spinning?

When a drive gear is stripped, one or both of the brushes will not spin.

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Why is my sprayer not spraying evenly?

Spray tips can become clogged by debris or even chemical that is not flushed after use. Remove the tip and soak in hot water, then use a nylon brush (tooth brushes work great) to clean the tip.

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Why is my sprayer making noise, but not spraying?

If the solution tank is not empty, check all connections. Check to ensure filter inside bottom of tank is clean. Call our service department for more troubleshooting.

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What is Whittaker's return policy?

Within 30 days, products may be returned for credit, less freight and a 20% restocking fee. Products must be in original packaging, unused and in sellable condition. Private label or custom products are only returnable if defective when received.  To make a return, contact customer service for a Return Authorization at (800) 422-7686, or e-mail The Return Authorization Number must appear on the returned product package label.  When sending the equipment back, please do not use packing peanuts or shredded paper for padding. Be sure to insure all parcels.

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How can I obtain service on my equipment or get a machine repaired?

Visit our Service Department's Blue Ribbon site for information.

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