ENCAPSULATION CLEANING A BOON FOR HOUSEKEEPERS By Brian Clark Janitech Australasia Every Hotel has carpet, some more that others. But, regardless of the amount of carpet you have, most of us share the same problem – keeping it clean and getting it dry afterwards. There are many processes that are available to housekeepers for ‘cleaning’ carpet. They include Bonnet cleaning, foam shampooing, powders and water extraction. However, water extraction is the only method recognised as deep cleaning by the Australian Standard AS:3733:1995. The remainder are relegated to ‘in-between’ or interim appearance maintenance and with generally poor long term outcomes, they have virtually disappeared from mainstream use. The big problem with most interim maintenance systems is that they leave behind detergent residues which builds up & attracts more soil. As well as long term appearance problems, they create more work and may void the manufacturer’s warranty and even permanently damage some types of carpet. Encapsulation changes all that. Imagine being able to clean or spot a room or a function centre and have it dry in 20 minutes – with no resoiling issues! Encapsulation is an interim carpet cleaning process with a difference – it cleans deep down and gives exceptional results in most circumstances. The chemical is the most important component, and works in combination with equipment designed to enhance the encapsulation process. An Encapsulating chemical contains a special polymer that works with the detergent system to break down and surround the soil and other detergent residues from previous cleaning. Within minutes, the polymer begins to drive Figure 1: Encapsulation machines L-R: Windsor I-Capsol Mini off the moisture and dries deluxe, Windsor Chariot i-Capsol stand-on rider and the Cimex Cyclone into a hard, non-sticky crystal, encasing the soil and the detergent residues. The dried crystals can easily be removed using an upright vacuum in the daily vacuuming process. The result is carpet that is clean and dry in about 20 minutes. Equipment for encapsulation Encapsulation has been around about 5 years now, but the big problem is that only two manufacturers make encapsulation equipment that is suitable for housekeeping operations. However, only one manufacturer offers a range of specialist equipment designed for using encapsulation in all areas, from the smallest rooms through to huge convention centres. Encapsulation machines incorporate counter rotating disk or cylindrical brushes, with special bristle patterns designed specifically to enhance encapsulation. The smallest and simplest is the I-Capsol Mini range from Windsor Industries. These little units (there are two models available) are light, simple to use, very quiet and, best of all, fit any budget. They will allow your team to effectively remove spots, stains, clean traffic areas or even a large room with no noise, minimal effort and have the area available for use 20 minutes after cleaning. Windsor also have larger units for bigger area, including their Chariot i-Capsol stand on rider unit which can clean over 1000 sq meters of carpet per hour. Other models include the new Duo range, which switch from encapsulation to extraction with the flick of a switch. The Cimex Cyclone is effective for encapsulation, and has, up to now, been the only machine suitable for commercial encapsulation. It is available in 2 models, but it’s weight and size are considered by some to be an impediment to transport and use in small areas. Both Windsor and the Cimex models are imported into Australia by one company – Cleantec, part of the massive Campbell Brothers group. Encapsulation Chemical Encap chemical is available from only a few of the professional chemical suppliers and it is critical that the formulation you choose is properly formulated for encapsulation and actually dries to a crystal rather than a sticky residue. Revive from Cleantec, Zenith from Sonitron, Pro-caps from PROCHEM, Mist & Brush from Advanced and Release-it are quoted on carpet cleaning forums as the best encapsulation chemicals available. Encapsulation doesn’t do away with the need for extraction, but in many circumstances it makes extraction a periodic rather than a regular occurrence. It is also greener than other methods with vastly reduced water usage and total elimination of wastewater back into the environment. Best of al, anyone can do it, it’s low cost and it enables Executive Housekeepers to maximise room availability and presentation of carpeted areas. If you haven’t seen it, ask your supplier. It is well worth the effort. Windsor Industries and Kärcher Floorcare are committed to the environment. As major suppliers to the commercial Cleaning Industry, they have instigated environment as a key component of their corporate strategies, including design, manufacture, energy efficiency, productivity and durability. If you wish to discuss Green Cleaning further or would like a presentation for your management group, Brian Clark can be contacted on Janitech@bigpond.com.
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