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What Is Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning?

What is encapsulation cleaning

Encapsulation carpet cleaning is a form of low moisture carpet cleaning such as ‘dry’ cleaning and ‘bonnet’ cleaning. While Encapsulation cleaning uses a similar process to these methods, there are some key differences too.

In this blog post, we aim to answer all the questions you may have regarding encapsulation carpet cleaning as well as how to perform this unique method.

How does encapsulation cleaning work?

This method of cleaning works by spreading a powder on a prepared carpet, those powders crystallize and act as absorbents to trap dirt and grease inside of it.

That dirt can then be extracted from your carpet with a powerful vacuum to leave a fresher-looking carpet than before.

It works in a very similar way to dry cleaning clothes. It’s a very chemical-heavy way of cleaning, even compared to dry carpet cleaning.

How to clean carpet with encapsulation cleaners

Encapsulation cleaning is really easy to perform, here’s how:

  • Pre-vacuum the areas being cleaned

  • Spread your encapsulation cleaners evenly onto the carpets. Apply a very small amount of water (2 sprays) to heavily stained areas

  • Use an agitation machine or soft-bristled pile brush to agitate the chemicals into the carpet

  • Allow to sit for 30 minutes giving the chemical time to work

  • Vacuum away the cleaning powder along with all of that dirt and grease

How much encapsulation powder should I use?

A little goes a long way here. You should ensure that the entire carpet is covered in just a thin layer of the cleaner. It might not look like much but when just a small amount of water is added, you will begin to see it working its magic.

Remember that there is such a thing as using too much here. You don’t need to clog up your carpet with this product, using too much will affect the vacuuming stage which will be less effective.

What's the difference between encapsulation and dry carpet cleaning?

Encapsulation cleaning is generally made for heavy traffic areas. It has stronger chemicals inside that are designed to be a quick way to remove staining from busy areas. Dry carpet cleaning is more household-friendly.

It takes into account that there may be pets or babies who are at closer proximity to the floor and the chemicals are safe for those environments.

Encapsulation vs. bonnet cleaning: What's The Difference?

Bonnet cleaning is another low-moisture way of cleaning your carpet but is far less effective. You don’t vacuum away the powder, you simply work it in with a bonnet buffer. With encapsulation cleaning, the chemicals are stronger but you also extract that powder out of the carpets.

Bonnet cleaning is an effective way to freshen commercial flooring up in between deep cleans. It is not designed to be an adversary of encapsulation cleaning but more of a complement to it in commercial settings.

Is encapsulation cleaning as good as steam carpet cleaning?

Sadly, encapsulation cleaning lacks the cleaning power of a hot water extraction steam clean. We personally only use encapsulation cleaning when steam cleaning may not be possible or if the customer needs us to be quick (like in commercial settings.)

Steam cleaning is highly flexible too, you can use it along with cleaning chemicals for a truly deep clean that cannot be matched by anything else.

That’s not to say encapsulation cleaning doesn’t do a good job, professional carpet cleaners will use both methods in their own setting to maximize profits and keep customers happy.

Where is encapsulation carpet cleaning used?

Encapsulation carpet cleaning is mostly designed for high-traffic commercial areas such as stairs and doorways. You can also use it across the entire carpet if you wish, it will be a great way to give those commercial carpets a deep clean before maintaining it with the bonnet cleaning method.

The fact that encapsulation cleaning dries within a few hours makes this one of the best methods in commercial settings where they cannot shut up shop just to get their carpets cleaned.

You can use it in most commercial settings to great effect. The only place that we have not achieved the desired results is where drink spillages are common. This means pubs and restaurants are better off being steam-cleaned.

Is encapsulation cleaning safe for upholstery?

Yes, you can use encapsulation cleaning for upholstery items as big as couches and there have even been great results reported in car upholstery and seats.

Great news for detailers who need a faster way to clean those nasty car seats without making their customer's cars unusable for a couple of hours afterward.

The biggest unique selling point of low moisture cleaning methods such as encapsulation cleaning is their fast drying times and that is what entices customers in.

Is encapsulation cleaning safe for wool carpet?

We do not recommend encapsulation cleaning for wool, it’s too strong a chemical. Instead, use a wool-safe dry-cleaning chemical powder to make sure you won’t damage those natural fibers.

Dry cleaning is the exact same method as encapsulation, just with more specific ingredients that can clean delicate fibers easily.

Can you use encapsulation cleaners at home?

You can use encapsulation cleaners in your home as long as you use them safely and you have no pets or very young children.

These cleaning powders are no joke so always wear the right PPE when mixing them and when spreading them across your carpets and upholstery.

If you have any allergies, you need to read the ingredients carefully to ensure that this cleaning powder won’t irritate them during the process.


Thank you for reading our blog on encapsulation cleaning. We hope that you understand more fully the benefits of this amazing process.

Remember, it isn't always appropriate to use this method and if you have pets or small children, stick to the dry carpet cleaning method for your home.

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