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Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning:
A low-moisture interim cleaning process
2024 Update

Keeping carpets looking their best requires a multi-pronged approach covering five important tasks:

  1. Good entry matting and maintenance
  2. Daily vacuuming
  3. Prompt spot removal
  4. Low moisture interim cleaning
  5. Restorative extraction cleaning

This article will focus on the fourth item on the list: Low Moisture Interim Cleaning. The preferred low-moisture method we recommend is carpet encapsulation. Encapsulation is a process that uses a specially formulated solution and agitation to release soil from carpet fibers. As the solution dries, the dirt released from the fiber is trapped inside a polymer film, leaving it loose on the carpet surface, ready to be removed through vacuuming.

When to use Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning

Interim carpet encapsulation won't fully replace restorative carpet cleaning with a carpet extractor. However, it can help maintain the carpet's appearance in important areas between an annual complete extraction.

Interim low-moisture carpet encapsulation is best used in situations like these:

  • Low to Moderate Soil Areas: Encapsulation is best performed on low to moderate soil loads. If a carpet is heavily soiled, carpet extraction would be more appropriate.
  • High Traffic Areas: High-traffic areas present a particular challenge because they are difficult to clean and attract the most dirt. Encapsulation is a great option to use a few times each year to help maintain appearance because it is a quick process that doesn't require extended drying times.

The Benefits of Interim Carpet Cleaning

Interim encapsulation carpet cleaning offers some serious upsides to your carpet program.

  • Better, more consistent appearance: Without interim cleaning, your carpets go from looking great to stained and dirty, only to be restored once per year by a complete extraction. With this process, you can remove dirt and address high-traffic areas more often, improving overall appearance.
  • More effective annual extraction: Because your interim cleaning process removes soils mid-year before they can become more deeply set in the fibers, you will have better results from your annual carpet extraction.
  • Reduced carpet wear: The soil on a carpet is sometimes abrasive, so leaving the soil on the surface, allowing it to be ground into the fibers, deteriorates the carpet more quickly.

PRODUCT SPOTLIGHT: Trident ICS17 Encapsulation Carpet Cleaner


ICS17 Encapsulation Interim Cleaning System

17", 2-Gallon Encapsulation Interim Cleaning System

  • Low-moisture encapsulation carpet cleaning removes soil and improves appearance. Dries in about 20 minutes.
  • Two counter-rotating brushes to effectively clean and agitate both sides of the carpet nap.
  • Brushes lift and groom the carpet pile while the debris bin catches soil and debris.


Cleaning Solutions Used in Encapsulation Carpet Cleaning

Encapsulation requires a specialized solution that combines high-quality surfactants with a water-soluble polymer. After applying the encapsulation solution, agitation and the cleaning action of the solution remove soils from the carpet fiber and suspend them in the solution. The soil is coated with the polymer as the solution dries, preventing it from re-depositing onto the carpet. Once the carpet is fully dry, vacuuming the area permanently removes the soil.


We recommend Hillyard Deep Action for all carpet encapsulation. Deep Action is specially formulated to dry quickly and leave no residue after vacuuming. Unlike other detergent-based formulations, Deep Action dries into clear, well-formed crystals that cleanly break away from the carpet fibers and won't leave a sticky brown residue.

How to Clean Carpet with Encapsulation

Click here for a video guide to this process

What you need

Step 1: Prepare the area

  • Remove furniture and walk-off mats
  • Place wet floor signs at all the carpet and hard floor junctions.

Step 2: Vacuum and treat stains

  • Thoroughly vacuum the carpet with a commercial upright vacuum.
  • Treat obvious discolored stains with the Hillyard Spotting Kit. For more information on carpet stain removal, see this article: Removing Carpet Spots and Stains

Step 3: Prepare the solution

  • Fill the ICS17's on-board solution tank with Deep Action, diluted at a ratio of 12 ounces per gallon. Follow good industrial hygiene practices as stated on the label and in the safety data sheet.

Step 4: Scrub the area using the Trident ICS17

  • Run the ICS17 over the carpet while spraying the Deep Action solution. Allow at least two inches of overlap between each pass.
  • Spray the solution at a rate of between 600 and 1,000 square feet per diluted gallon.
  • For heavily soiled carpets, let the solution dwell for five minutes and then scrub the area with the ICS17 again without applying more solution.

Step 5: Maintain the equipment, wait for the carpet to dry, then vacuum

  • Empty the solution tank and thoroughly rinse the spray nozzles.
  • Wait for the carpet to dry thoroughly. In most cases, the carpet should be ready for vacuuming in as little as 20 minutes. You can accelerate drying by using an air mover.
  • Vacuuming the area removes the encapsulated soils from the carpet.
  • Replace the furniture and walk-off mats and remove the wet floor signs.

Get Expert Advice to Boost your Carpet Cleaning Program

Achieving and maintaining the optimal cleanliness of your carpets involves a strategic, multi-faceted approach. As discussed in this article, low-moisture interim cleaning, particularly through the effective encapsulation method, offers numerous benefits for carpet appearance and longevity.

Hillyard stands as a trusted name in the industry. With a dedicated team of expert sales representatives strategically positioned throughout the United States, Hillyard is ready to provide personalized advice tailored to your unique carpet cleaning needs. Whether you require guidance on best practices, information on cutting-edge carpet cleaning equipment, or access to high-quality chemicals, Hillyard has you covered. Take the next step towards impeccable carpets by reaching out to Hillyard today. Use the "I'm Interested" form at the bottom of this page and one of our sales representatives will connect with you, offering insights and solutions to elevate your carpet cleaning regimen.

DISCLAIMER:  Specifications are subject to change without notice. Examples and recommendations in this article may not apply to every situation. This information is provided on an “as is” basis and does not supersede any other documentation. Always follow the instructions as written on the product label.

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