Mighty Clean Carpet offer a particular type of carpet cleaning service that incorporates a technology called “Encapsulation”.
Encapsulation utilises a specific, polymer based detergent, that dries down to a non-sticky substance. Encapsulation detergents can be used with the steam cleaning (more correctly known as hot water extraction) system, but are more typically incorporated into dry cleaning (more correctly known as low moisture) cleaning systems.
Typically, encapsulation, when used in a low moisture cleaning regime, is either sprayed or shower fed onto the carpet. A mechanical means of agitation brings the encapsulating detergent into contact with the soil in in the carpet, helping separate it from the fibres.
Is the soil removed?
Low moisture encapsulation can be performed in a variety of ways. One way is to use bonnets. Bonnets are a type of fabric pad, which have both scrubbing and absorption properties. When encapsulation is performed with bonnets, the detergent is brought into contact with the soil and scrubbed, and some of it is absorbed and removed. Encapsulation can also be performed with non-absorbing scrubbing pads and brushes. In this instance, the soil is scrubbed into the solution, and the solution is left in the carpet to dry. The encapsulated soil is removed subsequently through regular vacuuming.
If encapsulated soil is still in the carpet, does it look clean?
Providing the soil load has not reached a certain threshold, and the soil type is compatible with the detergent, the answer is yes – the carpet does look clean. Essentially the soil is brought into contact with the detergent, and distributes itself over larger volume of carpet. The reduction is soil intensity in any given area is one of the reasons the carpet looks immediately clean. The polymers in the encapsulating detergent also help (temporarily) repair scratches on the fibre which make carpet look dull, and have a crystalline structure which reflect light.
So is the soil still in the carpet after cleaning?
Yes, but it is wrapped in a very fine polymer coating, and distributed in such a way that it is not visible (when performed in the correct situation). The next dozen or so vacuuming cycles will typically snap and chip the dried up polymer, completing the cleaning cycle.
Encapsulation can allow for large areas of carpet to be cleaned quickly, quietly and efficiently. There are enormous reductions in water usage (compared to extraction cleaning), and in some instances the residual polymer provides some protection and barrier to future soiling.
In what instance would you use encapsulation, and wouldn’t use it.
Very low moisture encapsulation was designed as a commercial carpet cleaning system, where carpets are frequently vacuumed, and require rapid drying times with good visual outcomes. Deep spills and soils are not addressed as well with encapsulation, and encapsulation is not suitable for pathogen control (removing blood, urine, faeces or vomit) from carpet. The soils we encounter in most instances domestically, require extraction cleaning. Domestic carpets are typically lived on (sat on, layed down on, crawled on). In most instances domestic carpets are better suited to deep extraction cleaning, although there are exceptions to this.