Wet vs Dry Carpet Cleaning — Which Is Best For You?

Should you choose wet or dry carpet cleaning? You probably ask yourself this question when it’s time to get your carpets professionally cleaned. Carpet cleaning is the best way to revitalize a tired-looking, dirty carpet, remove stains, and make it look new again. And the method of cleaning you choose can impact the result. So, we are going to take a look at Wet vs Dry Carpet Cleaning to help you make an informed decision on which is best for your carpets.

Wet vs Dry Carpet Cleaning You may have heard about the benefits of wet carpet cleaning — also called steam cleaning. A hot water extraction method is an excellent way to deep clean shag carpets with a high pile. However, many carpet cleaning companies specialize in dry cleaning systems. These cleaning methods use chemicals, a rotary brushing machine, and a vacuum to lift dirt from carpet fibers.

So, which method should you choose? And what are the advantages and disadvantages of wet or dry carpet cleaning methods? This article aims to help you choose the right and most effective cleaning method to breathe new life into carpets.

Wet vs Dry Carpet Cleaning Method

Carpets are one of the most important parts of your home and must be cleaned regularly. The difference between wet and dry carpet cleaning is the dirt extraction method. Wet carpet cleaning uses hot water and a cleaning solution. Dry carpet cleaning uses dry powder chemicals to break up dirt.

Carpet cleaning isn’t just a process to get rid of stubborn stains. Instead, it’s a deep cleaning method for maintaining the carpet’s appearance, prolonging its lifespan, and improving its performance. Carpet cleaning frequency depends on the type of carpet, foot traffic, and if there are pets in the house.

What is Wet Carpet Cleaning?

Also called carpet steam cleaning, the wet cleaning method uses hot water and a cleaning solution to clean carpets. First, the combination of hot water and detergent breaks up the dirt, grime, and tough stains. Then, a powerful suction pulls out the dirt from the flooring, leaving you with a clean carpet.

How the wet carpet cleaning method works

  • First, the carpet is treated with a pre-conditioning shampoo to treat stains and ingrained dirt.
  • Then, the steam cleaning machine applies pressurized hot water to the carpet
  • Then sucks up the excess water along with dirt from the carpet.

The wet method to clean carpets is the most common because it produces the best results.

High-pressure water and detergents from the steam cleaner get deep into the carpet fibers and eliminate dirt, nasty odors, and bugs or mites living in the soft floor covering.

Many homeowners are shocked when they see the color of the water from carpets after the first clean. This dirty water can range in color from pale gray to black water, depending on how dirty the carpet was beforehand.

Advantages of Wet Carpet Cleaning

There are several reasons why carpet manufacturers generally recommend wet carpet cleaning over other methods. First, it removes more soil than any other cleaning method. Second, it effectively removes dust, mites, and allergens. And lastly, it renews carpets in the shortest time.

1/ Wet-cleaning carpets get deep into fibers

Hot water under high pressure agitates carpet fibers, removing all sorts of dirt deep in the carpet pile. The addition of mild detergents also helps to remove tough dirt and odors. Also, carpets can be pre-treated with specialized stain-removing chemicals.

2/ Steam carpet cleaning eliminates dust mites, pollen, bacteria, and mold

Carpet cleaning using a hot water extraction system is perfect for killing allergy-causing bugs in the flooring. The steam cleaner heats water to almost boiling point. The high-pressure application and hot water kill dust mites and other bugs on contact.

According to scientific studies, steam cleaning carpets is the most cost-effective way of killing dust mites and preventing re-infestation.

3/ Carpet steam cleaning gets rid of pet odors quickly

Having pets in the house can cause cat and dog odors to build up in carpets. This could be from pet urine, dander, or mud they track in from outdoors. Hot water extraction on the carpet is the best method to eradicate pet smells. This method can leave your carpets looking and smelling fresh.

4/ Steam carpet cleaning Works effectively without harsh chemicals

Unless the carpet is heavily soiled, you get great results from the steam extraction method without harsh chemicals. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about any chemical residue on carpet fibers.

Disadvantages of Wet Carpet Cleaning

Wet Carpet CleaningWhile steam cleaning is effective at getting deep into the carpet pile and eliminating dirt, it has some disadvantages. These issues are typically related to the drying time required after cleaning. Here are a few considerations when choosing the wet method to clean a carpet.

  • Drying process: It can take up to 24 hours for the carpet to dry completely. However, some carpet cleaning experts can reduce this time to six to eight hours.
  • Cost: The cost of expensive equipment means that hiring a professional carpet cleaner is typically more expensive than other methods.

Related Post: How Does a Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner Work?

What is Dry Carpet Cleaning

The dry method uses a dry cleaning compound to break up dirt on the carpet’s surface. This method uses either absorbent dry chemicals or a foaming dry cleaning solution and a rotary carpet cleaner. This approach is useful for high-traffic areas and regular carpet maintenance where a quick drying time is crucial.

How the dry carpet cleaning method works

There are several dry methods of cleaning a carpet without using hot water. However, most use a rotary machine with rotating bristles and a dry carpet solution. So what are they, and how do dry carpet cleaners work? Here are the answers.

One dry powder carpet cleaning method involves dampening the carpet and applying an absorbent compound over the entire carpet surface. Then a dry carpet cleaning machine with rotating brushes works the chemical solution into the carpet. After allowing 10 to 15 minutes to dissolve the grime, dirt, and stains, a vacuum removes the residue.

The other carpet dry cleaning method involves using carpet cleaning foam and a machine with counter-rotating brushes. This method also works by allowing time for the dry compounds to loosen grime stuck in carpet fibers. After that time, a vacuum cleaner removes dirt from the carpet.

Advantages of Dry Carpet Cleaning

The advantages of dry compound cleaning are time and ease of use. Compared to steam cleaning, dry carpet cleaning does not require a long period of time for the carpet to dry. In fact, it only takes 10 to 20 minutes to dry the carpet.

Here are some reasons to choose dry carpet cleaning over the wet method.

1/ Fast dry time

The biggest advantage of the dry carpet cleaning method is the drying process. Despite being called “dry,” a minimal amount of water is used with the cleaning method. But because the carpet is only slightly damp, drying time is within 20 minutes.

2/ Cost-effective for high-maintenance areas

Because of its low cost, the dry cleaning carpet method is ideal for keeping carpets clean in high-foot traffic areas. In addition, there is no or little downtime because no excess water is used in the cleaning process.

3/ Inexpensive carpet cleaning method

Cleaning carpets with dry cleaners is significantly cheaper than hot water extraction.

Disadvantages of Dry Carpet Cleaning

The main disadvantage of cleaning carpets with dry solutions is the depth of cleaning. The dry chemicals cannot penetrate the carpet fibers as much as pressurized hot water.

Dry steam cleaningHere are some considerations about the disadvantages of dry cleaning:

  • Long-term residue: Over time, chemicals can build up in the carpets because vacuuming doesn’t always remove them effectively.
  • Only cleans the carpet surface: Dry chemicals cannot penetrate deep shag pile carpets. This lack of deep cleaning means that dirt, bugs, and odors may remain in the carpet after dry cleaning.
  • Damage to carpets over time: The dry chemicals may affect the appearance of carpets because the buildup of residues can affect carpet fibers.
  • May affect people with allergies or sensitivities: Chemicals in the carpet can impact air quality, making them unsuitable for anyone sensitive to perfumes or chemical smells.

What is the most effective carpet cleaning method?

Compared to dry cleaning, steam cleaning is the most effective method to clean a carpet.  The cleaning process with hot water extraction is suitable for most types of carpets. Wet cleaning is also the method of choice for professional carpet cleaning companies when cleaning commercial carpets.

Steam carpet cleaning is the best method because it uses hot water, mild detergents, and powerful suction to remove dirt, dust, and debris from carpets.  This type of cleaning is the best way to penetrate deep into carpets, regardless of the carpet type.

Which is better chem-dry or steam cleaning carpets?

Steam cleaning carpets is superior to any type of dry chemical method. The absorbent chemicals cannot provide deep carpet cleaning, especially in long-pile carpets. Additionally, steam cleaning commercial and residential carpets improves their appearance, performance, and lifespan.

However, chem-dry carpet cleaning can be more cost-effective for regular carpet maintenance. Carpets dry in under 30 minutes after dry cleaning. And if you want to find Eco-friendly cleaning agents, then you can look for Chem-Dry Green products.

How long before wet carpets gets moldy?

Water damage to carpets can cause mold and mildew to form exceedingly fast. According to FEMA, mold can start growing within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. This can result in carpets forming dark patches and potentially dangerous spores getting released into the air.

To prevent mold from forming, removing excess moisture from carpets after water damage is vital. To do this, you could use a wet-dry vacuum to ensure the carpet dries as fast as possible. Additionally, it is crucial to increase air temperatures and circulation to speed up the drying process.

Is Dry or Wet Carpet Cleaning Better?

Wet cleaning is clearly superior to dry cleaning carpets. Cleaning with pressurized steam achieves a more thorough deep clean, eliminates odors, and restores freshness to your carpet — making it look like new. Despite the higher cost, professional hot water carpet cleaning is the preferred method to achieve the best results.

Of course, there are several things to consider when choosing how to clean your carpet. For example, dry cleaning is more cost-effective if you want to maintain a carpet’s appearance in high-traffic areas. It will save you time and money.

However, it is always advisable to arrange wet cleaning every 12 to 18 months to ensure your carpet stays in pristine condition.