Encapsulation - Film Former or Crystallizer

Mama Fen

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My understanding of the difference is as follows:

Crystallizing encapsulants are designed to dry into hard particles that "trap" or encase soil particles, making it easy to remove the soil afterward through vacuuming. The ideal crystallizing encapsulant is almost entirely vacuumed away within a short time after the cleaning process is done. Good crystallizing encaps should shatter and make brittle shards if left in a dish to dry out overnight. Often the crystal structure of the chemical will give the carpet a brighter, fresher look because of the way it reflects light back to the eye, so even though a lot of the soil is still there immediately after cleaning, the carpet looks cleaner.

Filming encapsulants are designed to encase the carpet fibers themselves, preventing the soils from attaching strongly to the fibers and dislodging soils during the application process. Filming encapsulants are designed to peel off in "strips" or "sheets" over multiple vacuumings, allowing the film to continue soil-bonding prevention for an extended period of time. Filming encaps will form less of a shard and more of a slick or even slightly sticky residue if left in a dish to dry overnight.

Either process will require regular vacuuming from the customer to produce the best results.

I'm a fan of crystallizing encaps because I'd rather vacuum than do laundry.
 

Scott W

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While @Mama Fen is essentially correct, you should keep in mind that the differences have a lot more to do with marketing than the actual performance of the products. If you find a product that works well for your jobs, then stay with it.

Is the appearance right after cleaning your major goal or do you want the carpet to stay cleaner looking longer? That is the basic difference, but the difference is small. I think sometimes we convince ourselves of what we want to see.

The difference between a good encapsulation solution (either kind) and a poor product is a lot more than any difference because of the chemistry. I think there are 5 excellent brands on the market. There are also a lot of copy cat products that water down the juice a bit so they can sell at a lower price.
 

Chris Henry

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I run both on my van, truckmount and CRB.
I have been using Encapuclean DS2 and Encapuclean O2.
They are both excellent VLM products and I have been able to get great results using them.
I think it's better to know the difference of when to use a peroxide based encap or a regular encap.
I prefer the regular encap DS2 for regular soil load cleaning and the O2 peroxide encap for cleanings that have protein and organic spots. The peroxide based encap is also a brightener for some carpet types/shades.
VLM cleaning is great, but it makes a great complement to HWE, not replacement.
 

rob allen

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Good info here
 

OldCarpetVet

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What do you use and why? What is the difference?

I"m getting old and pulling hoses and pushing a wand is getting harder every year.
I say this every year but I want to use VLM more in 2019.

The simple solution....Make the switch. Make VLM as your primary method and HWE as your restorative method. Thats what I did many moons ago. See, that was painless.
 

Mama Fen

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Huge huge HUGE fan of encap here, but much as I love it I know it's not always the best solution for every job. Sometimes you've just got to pull out the big guns.

More and more, I've been encouraging my guys to try using encap as a "maintenance" or interim clean with their pre-existing HWE customers. The idea of scheduling a quick touch-up every three to six months rather than waiting a whole year and having the house (or office) completely discombobulated for hours at a time is actually quite appealing when you explain the benefits.

It's an easier sell with commercial, but if you've got the right mix of charm and belief in what you're offering, you'd be surprised how many residential customers can be convinced to do it too.
 

OldCarpetVet

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Huge huge HUGE fan of encap here, but much as I love it I know it's not always the best solution for every job. Sometimes you've just got to pull out the big guns.

More and more, I've been encouraging my guys to try using encap as a "maintenance" or interim clean with their pre-existing HWE customers. The idea of scheduling a quick touch-up every three to six months rather than waiting a whole year and having the house (or office) completely discombobulated for hours at a time is actually quite appealing when you explain the benefits.

It's an easier sell with commercial, but if you've got the right mix of charm and belief in what you're offering, you'd be surprised how many residential customers can be convinced to do it too.

And the transition is so much easier when you already have a customer base. They already trust you. So frigging easy.
 

BonnetPro

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Crystallizing can/will product dust as the little brittle particles shatter into tiny paricles that are small enough to become airborne. Film forming is much less likely to do this. I dont know about peeling off in strips as mentioned above. I did not see that with the electron microscope we used. Film forming wears down instead of crumbling off at a faster rate.
 

george8585

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My biggest problem now with VLM is I don't have confidence in VLM, so I almost always go with HWE, unless it's a job my hoses can't reach.Then I'm forced to use VLM.

I need to force myself to do more VLM this year.
 
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Common janitor

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Rob is right on this thread ....... Great info !! Scott W. hit the nail on the head about the different products . There’s some really good stuff from a few manufacturers and then the “ also ran “ stuff . I’ve used some of the products mentioned and others multiple times with good success . TBH , once I used Rocket liquid and now messing with the Radical Rinse I’m done !!
I don’t need anything else . Spotter , tile , upholstery , carpet .
All the Best , Ed
 

AZHome&Carpet

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More I’ve been learning Scott’s post makes sense. Like Encap as a rinse. Once it was pointed out how encap really works using it as a rinse is good marketing. Not saying the rinse doesn’t rinse well, the encap has little to benefit. And there’s many many products I’m realizing are marketing. Bridgepoint encap products, Robs, and Bonnet Pro have all worked well for me. When using them as a prespray and allowing them to really get worked in well. I think sticking with a known brand verses searching for cheap maybe key.
 

Tom Forsythe

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The supposed difference between crystalizing polymers and film forming polymers is much ado about nothing. The focus on the differences is a result from marketing and not science. There are good products with both types of polymers and average products with both types of polymers. We use what are called film former polymers. The day in the lab when I transformed a film former into a crystal by adding .25% (in concentrate before 1 to 32 dilution)of a specific surfactant (not polymer) was the day that I focused on the results and not the form of the polymer. I have tested against the best crystal former and saw no real performance difference between our best film former.

We use film former, but I do not say that you use a sub standard encapsulant if you use a crystal former. The key is the amount (not the type) of polymer and the proper blend between cleaning and soil resistance which is apparent on the next cleaning cycle. One mistake I am starting to see is that cleaners are delaying extraction by boosting the cleaning part of the encapsulation cycle. Since this is what a cleaner sees before they leave the job site they believe that they have done a great job. I believe that you will be equally judged by your customers by how the carpet looks a month after your cleaning. If a better cleaning on the day of cleaning results in a dirtier carpet one month later, then in my opinion you have failed to provide a professional maintenance cleaning.