dear editor

I just read the article “Does it come out: An examination of encap removal from carpet fiber.” (Cleanfax, November 2015) and am shaking my head in disbelief. Fred Geyen, the author, quickly establishes that the article is based on an amateur attempt to answer the question: “Does it come out?”

The attempt, indeed, is amateur. However, the process was irresponsible, followed by a harebrained summary. What would lead a person to think dipping yarn into a solution and letting it dry, followed with “slamming” the dried yarn on a black table and, finally, blowing the remaining residue off with an air compressor would be a reasonable test or anything close to real-world conditions?

To make matters worse, he completes his testing summary with: “After this experiment, there is no doubt that some encaps will never vacuum off, and most encaps will fall to the bottom of the carpet when hit with the beater bar of a vacuum because the encap is especially small and light.”

Clearly, Mr. Geyen has no concept of the principles involved with encapsulation cleaning or how a vacuum cleaner works. Unfortunately, those who read this article are sadly misinformed. Worse yet, they may actually reference it…

— Joe Denman, Bloomington, IL

response from the author

Joe, thanks for reading the article!

Everybody can agree on one thing: At the end of the cleaning process, encapsulation products must be removable from carpet fibers. If they can’t be removed, the product fails to clean. And vacuum function is a fairly straightforward process that involves forcible removal of removable items from fibers. Note the key word “removable.”

Perhaps the “slamming” term was the leap you could not make. Well, try it, it works; in fact, you do not even have to “slam it” — just push the yarn down on a hard surface and you can already tell if the encap is loose. It will fall out like dandruff from a teenager. Everyone in the industry realizes that vacuuming is not the “end all be all” for removing small or large particles, no matter which type of vacuum is used.

Is an air compressor a real world test? Have you ever seen people cleaning rugs with an air compressor? This actually happens in the real world. It is unbelievable how much better a directed air stream is vthan a vacuum. I actually chose the air compressor because it is better at removing particles than simple vacuuming. It is clear if you do the test the exact same way you will see that the encap, when released, is very small and will positively shake off while heading down to the backing as soon as the beater bar even gets close. The vacuum is not taking it off of the backing.

In response to what would lead me to believe that dipping a 6.0 nylon carpet fiber (right from a carpet mill) into an encapsulation solution and slamming it down is a good test: For one thing, it is a carpet fiber, and making the leap from spraying an actual 6.0 nylon carpet with encap and working it in comparison to “dipping” is an easy leap. The interesting thing about nylon is that it is a fairly non-absorbent fiber, so the fiber will only “hold” so much liquid no matter if it is heavily sprayed, dipped or soaked for hours. Encap is designed to be transmitted in liquid form, so in the real world, the fiber must be wet for the cleaning process to occur.

It is the same fiber with the same encap, whether it’s in carpet or simply a strand of 6.0 nylon.

The challenge remains: Show me one test other than mine on how much encap comes off with a vacuum, and I will change my thoughts.

It’s been easy for people such as you, Joe, to “slam” the test. But no one is stepping up to the table with any other tests, amateur or scientific.

— Fred Geyen