Crystallizing Polymer

Encapsulating carpet cleaning products are designed with an innovative polymer technology to form a distinct crystal when it dries. The crystal is the vehicle that enables a good encapsulator to capture soil so it can be extracted through post-vacuuming.

Although some products may claim to “encapsulate” on the label and they may get the carpet to look good initially, (it’s easy to get a carpet to look cleaner) the real concern should be whether or not the encapsulated soil can be removed with post-vacuuming.

Here’s a simple test that you can perform to establish what an “encapsulation” product does when it dries. It’s very easy. Just take a few drops of the product and dry it in a glass dish overnight.

Check the content the next day. Did it form a true crystal? Does it readily release from the dish? Or did it dry sticky, gooey? Was it not completely dried? Or was it possibly stuck like a barnacle to the dish?

This simple dish-drying test will reveal the products soil releasing ability. A good encapsulation product should form a distinct crystal that will break up and release from the dish.

Keep in mind that crystallization is the medium that holds the soil in suspension until it can be extracted with post-vacuuming. The soil can’t be vacuumed from the carpet if poor crystallizing or no crystallizing occurs.

(Carpet cleaning detergent dried in a petri dish,
showing its distinct crystal formation)


The first step that should be performed before any carpet cleaning process is a good pre-vacuuming. According to a well documented study, dry soil comprises 79% of the total soil in a carpet. Removal of the dry soil is very important. If we were to add a cleaning solution to a carpet filled with dry soil we would, in effect, make mud. Therefore a good vacuuming program should be encouraged for all commercial clients. And if the carpet is in need of vacuuming at the time of cleaning it should be pre-vacuumed before proceeding with the cleaning.


If there are more heavily soiled areas, pre-treating can assist the cleaning process. Please keep in mind that over-the-counter carpet cleaning products are very limited as to how deeply they can clean; professional cleaning is always our first recommendation. 

Cleaning detergent can be mixed according to label directions and applied as a pre-spray. Use a coarse tip on your sprayer. Simply spray enough solution to dampen the carpet. Do not allow the pre-spray to dry before you progress with the cleaning.

Allowing a few minutes of extra dwell time can help a grubby carpet clean more easily. After allowing a few minutes of dwell time proceed with scrubbing the carpet in the normal manner dispensing the detergent through the solution tank.

Scrubbing Technique

Fill the solution tank of your scrubber with carpet cleaning detergent mixed with hot water according to label directions. Scrub the carpet by working the scrubber at a moderate pace.

Make a wet pass by holding the solution valve open – then return over the same pass without releasing more detergent. In most cases one wet-pass followed with one dry-pass is all that’s needed.

If the carpet needs a little more scrubbing because it’s heavily soiled simply make additional dry passes (just a touch more solution can be applied during the extra passes).

Each gallon of diluted (ready to use) solution can clean an average of 300 square feet. So a gallon can clean an average of 9,600 square feet at a cost of .003 per square foot.

Note: Avoid over-wetting the carpet – only apply enough cleaning solution to lightly whiten the surface – we just want to wet out the fiber.

Scrubbing Equipment

Any scrubber with strong agitation can be used for encapsulation cleaning. The “muscle” of this cleaning method is AGITATION. That’s why we recommend Cimex scrubbing machines for encapsulation. They each produce a very high degree of agitation.

Pads Vs. Brushes

We recommend using high quality carpet scrubbing pads. These pads are well suited for scrubbing carpets with the correct degree of agitation.

Why scrub with pads rather than brushes? Consider this illustration – you have a greasy frying pan to clean. You could get it clean by scrubbing it with a scrub brush, but if you scrub it with one of those green kitchen pads the pan will clean up even easier. Why? It’s because the pads make more surface contact. So when we scrub a carpet with a pad the same principle holds true. We have better agitation and we use less solution to get the job done.

Scrubbing pads will clean an average of 5 hours or in the range of 10,000 square feet before they wear thin and need to be replaced. Scrubbing pads are available for the 19″ Cimex machine, as well as 12″, 15″ and 17″ rotary machines.

Recurring Spills

Carpet cleaning detergents are designed to stop wicking and recurring spill stains. Brief instructions for treating spills should be listed on the product label. Here is the full description of our “never fail” spill stain remedy. This method works! With this simple 4 step process you can now say good-bye to recurring spills for good.

1) When approaching a spill stain – isolate the stain – thoroughly scrub the carpet surrounding the stain leaving the stain untouched.

2) Next, aggressively scrub DRY PASSES on the spot. Criss-cross the scrubber back and forth over the stain. Scrub the stain continuously for a full minute or two. We don’t want to get the area wet with additional detergent. In this way, the spot is being aggressively cleaned with minimal moisture. This is not a totally dry scrub. Moisture is captured within the scrub pad from the surrounding area as the scrubber criss-crosses back and forth over the stain. However the moisture is being kept to an absolute minimum. By scrubbing for a full minute or two, the spill stain is receiving an EXTREMELY thorough scrubbing.

3) Prepare a spray bottle of carpet cleaning detergent for spill stain treatment. Mix up a spray bottle according to the directions on the label. This is an exceptionally effective spill stain remedy. After cleaning the spot thoroughly as described above, spray the spot with a few squirts of carpet cleaning spill stain mixture.

4) The final step is to make one more quick dry pass over the treated spot with the scrubber to work the concentrated detergent down into the fiber. Now the spot won’t return!


Carpet cleaning detergents can correct the majority of wicking problems. Wicking is one of the most common problems seen with commercial carpets.

How many times have we heard the sad story that goes something like this:

Joe is a professional carpet cleaner all the way. Joe cleans a commercial carpet and does a terrific job! It looks great when he’s finished and the building manager tells Joe that the carpet looks beautiful as he is packing up his truck. However the next morning Joe receives the disturbing “morning after” phone call – “Joe something’s wrong, the carpet looks worse than before you cleaned it.”

Why the problem? Commercial carpet is most frequently a flat glue-down construction. So there’s essentially no airflow, hence extraction can become a bit more challenging. Commercial carpets are often loop construction. The densely packed loops can trap a tremendous amount of dry soil.

A considerable amount of commercial carpeting is olefin and we all know that olefin can be difficult to clean. So clearly commercial carpet presents a set of challenging conditions that can exacerbate wicking problems. We use products that EXCEL at stopping wicking. So the disturbing “morning after” phone calls can now become a thing of the past.


The crystallizing technology of carpet cleaning products were designed so that the encapsulated soil could be extracted through routine post-vacuumings. Some have asked the best way to provide post-vacuuming.

You could return the following day to provide the post-vacuuming service (it takes about 24 hours for detergent to cure and for the crystallization to occur). Or if the building has a vacuuming program in place, (and most commercial buildings do) the carpet could simply be vacuumed at the next regular vacuuming interval.

Some have wondered – but what if their vacuuming is not all that great? Not a problem. Instead of recovering the crystallized residue with one vacuuming, perhaps it will take a couple of vacuumings.

One great vacuuming, two good vacuumings, three average vacuumings, five fair vacuumings, or ten poor vacuumings – you get the picture, the encapsulated soil should eventually be removed. The carpet will continue to look good even before the micro-encapsulated soil-laden particles are vacuumed.

And even if all the crystallized residue doesn’t get vacuumed out entirely; the crystals will resolublize during the next encapsulation cleaning and form new crystals as it dries – hence the cycle begins again.

As you can see – this is a simple, effective and profitable method that successfully fixes common commercial carpet problems! Encapsulation is fast becoming the method of choice for maintaining commercial carpets.

Original article can be found here.

Facebook Comments