Cost-Effective Cleaner Carpets: The Benefits of a Comprehensive Carpet Maintenance Program


In the competitive hospitality industry, attracting guests requires making a first impression that meets their ever-increasing expectations of facility appearance.  Carpet—both in public areas and guest rooms—is a major factor in overall guest perception of your hotel.  

But maintaining carpet appearance can be challenging.  Traditional hot water extraction cleaning methods can be disruptive and costly to perform, and when over-used also carries the hidden cost of decreased carpet life and premature carpet replacement.  

In order to achieve cost-effective, consistently cleaner carpets, it is important to develop a comprehensive carpet maintenance program which limits hot water extraction cleanings and increases the use of interim carpet cleaning using encapsulation technology. 

Adopting a comprehensive carpet maintenance program with interim encapsulation has four key benefits:

Improved Carpet Appearance:

When a hotel implements interim encapsulation cleaning, one of the first things they notice is a surprising improvement in carpet appearance.  Part of this improvement is because they are able to clean carpets more frequently which reduces the level of soil between cleanings. But the process of encapsulation cleaning is also crucial to improved carpet appearance.  

Encapsulation carpet cleaning was innovated by the R.E. Whittaker Company, and involves encapsulating dirt in a clear polymer that is invisible to the naked eye, and then vacuuming the dried crystals away. Regularly removing embedded soils with encapsulation cleaning prevents the buildup of sticky residues that can attract more dirt and make your carpets look visibly soiled. In addition, Whittaker’s Smart Care® machines not only agitate the encapsulation cleaning agents deep into the carpet, they also lift and open the pile at the same time. This helps your carpets look their best all year-round.

Encapsulation cleaning also provides the opportunity for daily spot cleaning.  For tough to remove spots and stains, Whittaker offers CRYSTAL® Chemistry Daily Spotting Solutions which are powerful and easy to use. From the all-around CRYSTAL SPOTTER® spotting agent to specific formulations like CRYSTAL® OIL & GREASE, these solutions tackle discoloration and odors from oil, grease, wax, rust, blood, and other difficult stains.

And once a stain is gone, it won’t come back! Encapsulation only uses a small amount of water during the application of the cleaning solution, and less water means no wicking or re-soiling. Wicking occurs after carpet stains are treated with cleaners and water; as the water evaporates, soils remaining at the bottom of the carpet fibers travel up to the visible surface of the carpet and make the stain reappear. Encapsulation avoids this problem by not oversaturating the carpet fibers, and trapping all the soil within the polymers that are then vacuumed away.

Minimal Disruption to Guests:

When performing encapsulation cleaning with the Smart Care® system, the carpet does not become soaked with water as it does with hot water extraction. The low moisture encapsulation cleaning method allows carpet to dry within about 20 minutes after the application of CRYSTAL® chemistry, meaning that facilities will experience less downtime and cleaning staff can work efficiently and quickly over large areas.

This also reduces the potential risks for mold growth in humid indoor spaces. Whittaker’s Smart Care® CRYSTAL DRY® Chemistry uses green formulations with no VOCs, so it is safe to clean sensitive facilities even when they are occupied.

Reduced Costs through Increased Productivity:

Encapsulation cleaning is almost as easy to use as a vacuum.  Easy to use machines and chemistry mean your employees can achieve high production rates compared to traditional hot water extraction. An independent, third party Time and Motion Study, performed by the American Institute for Cleaning Sciences, concluded that the Whittaker Smart Care® Cleaning System was the most productive interim carpet cleaning method, and that the Whittaker 20’’ TRIO can effectively clean 12,352 sq. ft. per hour in an unobstructed hallway.  

Whittaker offers CRYSTAL® Chemistry formulations that are simple to mix and apply, and TWIN and TRIO machines in multiple sizes to allow for both fast cleaning of large, open spaces like lobbies and hallways, or easy maneuverability around obstructions such as beds and furniture.  Improved productivity translates to more areas cleaned per shift.

Reduced Costs through Increased Carpet Life:

Hot water extraction and some cleaning processes and chemicals can be harsh on carpet fibers. Combined with stress caused by over-wetting, over-use of hot water extraction can take months or even years off the expected life of your carpet.  Properly scheduled interim maintenance will help reduce the frequency of deep cleaning applications such as hot water extraction. Each facility is different, but heavily trafficked areas may require interim encapsulation cleanings more often; however, this increased investment will pay off in the long term by extending the life cycle of your carpet.

Low-moisture encapsulation is the interim cleaning method recommended by all leading carpet mills, because it combines recommended pile-lifting and interim cleaning into a single step. And Whittaker’s Smart Care® system is the only system to receive the Carpet and Rug Institute’s Seal of Approval for Interim Commercial Carpet Cleaning Systems. 

With a deeper clean than vacuuming alone and less disruption than hot water extraction, encapsulation carpet cleaning can be a valuable part of any carpet maintenance plan.  You can learn more about developing a comprehensive carpet maintenance program, and use Whittaker's new Smart Care® Cost Calculator to determine costs for vacuuming, low moisture interim, and restorative cleaning for your hotel by visiting us at

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