Very low moisture carpet cleaning (VLM) is a carpet cleaning method used primarily in Very Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning San Diego CAcommercial environments and less frequently in residential areas. VLM is widely used in the industry as a carpet cleaning method that limits drying to 1-2 hours. In recent years, the industry has seen a dramatic increase in the use of the VLM, although many cleaners do not know it or have very less information about it. VLM processes include:

  • Encapsulation Cleaning
  • Bonnet Cleaning
  • Pad Capping
  • Dry Compound Cleaning

This article covers variants of VLM as well as accessories and machines for VLM cleaning.

  • Encapsulation

The encapsulation cleaning (abbreviated ‘Encap’) is the most common form of VLM. Encap is widely regarded as the most effective type of VLM (Very Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning) cleaning in commercial environments, thanks to its simple process and fast drying times of 30 to 90 minutes. The process has been used since the 1990’s and is based on the surrounding chemical encapsulation and retains dirt, as opposed to “wet” cleaning using detergents and the natural properties of solvent water to remove the soil. During encapsulation, the cleaning solution is supplied via an overhead shower or a spray head, and depending on the machine used, the fiberboard or brush rubs the floor immediately after application. The cleaning itself cleans the carpet in a degree perceptible to the eye. After that, the cleaning solution is then allowed to dry and the remaining dirt which is now “Encapsulated”, is removed simply by a vacuum cleaner.

  • Bonnet Cleaning

The cleaning of the Bonnet is the oldest form of VLM and is considered by a large part of the industry as the oldest. In this case, the “Shampoo” for Bonnet (it’s a non-encapsulating cleaner, don’t get confused with common soap products) is applied by a pump and electric sprayer and cleaned with a rotating machine 175 rolled cotton bonnets. This is not very different from other VLM methods. However, because of its non-encapsulated properties, many bonnet cleaning solutions are known to cause dirt and residue problems. Despite the general enhancements of VLM, the rollover process for the bonnet is that VLM is an additional cleaning or maintenance method rather than an independent method. The cleaning of the bonnet is more common, but not exclusive when the cleaner cleans high-frequency common areas.

  • Pad Capping

Pad Capping is commonly used in commercial environments and in the most widely used residential VLM (Very Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning) process. The “Pad Capping” is similar to the encapsulation because it uses the same encapsulation cleaning solution. Pad Capping differs in the physical application: the capping method uses different types of:

  • Spray systems
  • Buffers
  • Dwell times (although the latter is disputed)

As with encapsulation, the Pad Capping is applied with a rotating machine 175 or oscillation pad (OP), while ENCAP more uses these processes of the planetary machine (manufactured by Cimex) and the counter rotary brush (CRB). Another important difference is that the pads used in the process cut much more soil on the carpet during the initial wash step, while fiber pads and brushes used with Soil do not remove so many contaminants at startup. In both methods, however, still existing encapsulated dirt is sucked off by vacuuming.

  • Dry Compound Cleaning

The Dry Compound Cleaning is another VLM method that is becoming increasingly popular, such as Encap and Pad Capping. Although this method was developed primarily for commercial use, it has since become widely accepted as an alternative to HWE and as an option of “go-to” for “green” cleaners and consumers. This method is mainly based on “sponges” of dry compounds (although encapsulation products can sometimes be used as preconditioning of the compound). This compound, almost completely biodegradable, spreads evenly on the carpet. Then the compound extracts dirt and grime from the fibers to the sponge. Counter Rotating Brush (CRBs) stir the compound into the carpet, helping to remove more dirt from the fibers. The final step is a vacuum post to remove the compound. The drying times are fast and the process is easy.

How To Do An Effective VLM (Very Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning)?

Although VLM’s popularity among cleaners continues to grow, many continue to resist. There are many reasons for this, but most often are associations with obsolete rollover methods, the myth of “sticky residue” and the notion that a carpet is “never really clean”. On the contrary, when applied correctly, low moisture leaves the carpet residue-free without wick and well-clean. But some measures need to be taken, the most important is a pre-vacuum quality. As with HWE, the vacuum removes loose dirt by loosening and lifting fibers, making cleaning solutions more effective against dirt and grime. And while vacuuming with some HWE cleaners may be a choice step, it is important that VLM be effective. Neglecting this step inevitably leads to mediocre results. For VLM to be more effective, you need in-depth knowledge of a variety of pads as well as detergents and also you should have enough information about how they are used.