Step by step, every day, meetings are held, appointments are kept, business gets done and work carries on as usual. Now that facilities are back to a considerably normal level of in-person visitation, people are walking to-and-fro and cleaning practices must keep pace. The most basic foundation of essentially every office environment is right beneath the public’s feet: carpet.  

The past couple of years may have offered a bit of a respite from the normally daunting task of keeping facility carpeting clean — less foot traffic, naturally, tends to require less elbow grease, cause less wear and tear, and free up time for other cleaning tasks to be carried out. With many facilities returning to a somewhat normal schedule, though, cleaners tasked with keeping carpets looking fresh and vibrant may be re-evaluating the same old processes that worked in pre-pandemic times.  

Keeping in mind that, at the end of the day, clients expect that the standards of quality will be maintained in a budget-friendly way. To accommodate that, there are some quick and easy ways to both evaluate and re-think the usual approach to a carpet cleaning regimen. A comprehensive carpet cleaning strategy that minimizes wear-and-tear on the fibers, cuts down on the man-hours required to maintain cleanliness standards, and meets cleaning goals in an environmentally friendly way is just within grasp for many building service contractors (BSCs).  

Recent years have seen BSCs embrace the concept of encapsulation cleaning as a way to both extend the life of the carpet while reducing water waste and cutting down on the endless hours devoted to vacuuming routines. Generally, encapsulation cleaning is not meant to be a replacement for daily vacuuming and cleaning — rather, it can be a supplementary tool that, when performed on a bi-weekly or monthly basis, cuts down on the effort required by cleaning staff during their daily routines.  

Encapsulation cleaning is not the complicated, out-of-reach method that the science may suggest. Technological advancements have put the tools of encapsulation cleaning within easy grasp, and with a small up-front investment, BSCs can add to their arsenal a tool that cuts down on resource and time expenditure.  

It’s a relatively basic concept: encapsulation cleaning utilizes the strength of crystalizing polymers with detergent components to attack and bind oily soil deposits buried within the carpet to dry elements that can subsequently be removed through a vacuuming process. The polymers penetrate much deeper than a standard vacuum bristle might, allowing cleaners to reach the deep-seated deposits and oils that give otherwise clean carpet that  worn-down appearance.  

This is important because different types of facilities, as well as their climates and environments, naturally have different carpet cleaning challenges. Varying sizes of soils, sands and gravel are a hazard at any facility, and the usual pass with a upright or backpack vacuum won’t typically penetrate beyond the first inch or so of surface fibers. Attacking dirt and debris accumulation at the base of the carpet enables the frontline worker to remove material that’s been accumulating for days or weeks and structurally improves the look and feel of the surface fibers.  

Not only does the encapsulation process prolong the life of the carpet, it makes life easier on the employees tasked with keeping it clean. and can delay for years the need to replace entire sections of flooring. For example, like vacuuming and spot cleaning, encapsulation is considered an interim cleaning technique that will maintain the desired look of carpets, while reducing the frequency of laborious extraction steps. This is especially important during times when BSCs are experiencing staffing shortages and increasing demands for cleaning. 

A multi-pronged approach can help BSCs plan their workloads and offer clients the satisfaction of a healthier, longer-lasting surface. Consider the following strategies when creating a comprehensive carpet care program: 

1. Daily vacuuming. Taking a pass at the carpeting in a facility using an upright vacuum with appropriate filtration  maintains surface cleanliness and cuts down on the amount of debris that can be pressed deeper into the fibers over time.  

2. Backpack vacuums. For harder-to-reach corners and walkways, the backpack vacuum offers workers a more ergonomically friendly way to patrol the walking surfaces, getting into corners and under tables and chairs in a way that an upright unit might struggle with. Applied daily, or every other day, the backpack strategy is a solid complement to the upright unit.  

3. Spot cleaning. For stains and debris that the vacuums just can’t quite tackle effectively, taking some elbow grease to troublesome spots can help prevent long-term stains from setting in and keep fibers looking new.

4, Encapsulation cleaning. Done every month or two, this interim cleaning method tackles the deep-down issues that are brewing before they eventually make their mark on the surface. Getting rid of oils, dirt, sand, ice melt, gravel, etc. that gets driven down into the fibers lessens the need for carpet extraction and/or replacement, and makes standard daily vacuuming appear more effective. 

5. Hot water extraction. The use of excessive moisture takes a toll on carpet fibers. The amount of water used in this technique also takes a long time to dry, forcing areas to stay closed for prolonged periods of time. And this step can distract frontline staff as they cordon off areas, tend to carpets, set up fans and caution signs, and eventually return to open the area back up. For those reasons, experts recommend extraction only be utilized once or twice over the course of a calendar year. If encapsulation cleaning is done correctly, it will help minimize extraction frequencies and make it more effective. 

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How to Add Encapsulation to Carpet Care Programs