Steam Cleaning vs Dry Cleaning

Buying carpet can be a significant investment for home and business owners alike. Over time, dirt and grime become attached to carpet fibers, making carpets look dirty. The only way to reverse this process is to clean your carpet with either dry or steam carpet cleaning.

Dry carpet cleaning uses various chemical compounds to lift dirt out of carpet fibers. While many of the methods used for dry carpet cleaning actually use some moisture, one of the major benefits of dry carpet cleaning is significantly reduced drying times due to the smaller amounts of water used, compared to steam carpet cleaning methods. There are several types of dry carpet cleaning, all using various amounts of moisture and different chemical compounds.

Until fairly recently, steam carpet cleaning was the only method available for deep cleaning of carpets. This method saturates carpets in a mixture of hot water and various cleaning solutions to break down dirt particles and lift them out of the carpet fibers. Once the mixture has been allowed to do its job, most of it is sucked up by a wet vacuum cleaner, taking all the dirt and grime from your carpet with it. The carpet then has to dry before regular use is resumed.

For the most part, steam carpet cleaning follows roughly the same process of water and cleaning solution distribution, removal and drying, but there are various methods employed by dry carpet cleaners. Some dry carpet cleaners will scrub a dry compound throughout the area of the carpet. Dirt is drawn to this compound and then vacuumed up. There are other methods that combine minimal amounts of moisture with similar compounds to remove dirt.

If you choose to use traditional steam carpet cleaning to attempt to restore your carpet to its original condition, you can expect to wait longer for your carpet to dry completely before resuming regular use. This is generally considered the main drawback of using steam carpet cleaning, as it can be inconvenient and the drying time can create other problems. With dry carpet cleaning, drying times can range from a few hours with very low-moisture methods to no time at all with completely dry methods.

According to a survey conducted by Cleanfax, a cleaning industry magazine, some 88.6% of the professional carpet cleaners are using hot water (steam) extraction as their primary cleaning method. Both Shaw Industries and Mohawk, who together manufacture over two thirds of the world’s carpet, recommend hot water or steam extraction cleaning.