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Dry Cleaning vs. Wet Cleaning of Carpets

Carpets trap dust, allergens, and germs from the air, but over time these can accumulate and be released into your home in greater concentrations, which is why regular carpet cleaning is a must. There are two kinds of cleaning methods – dry and wet.

Dry Cleaning

This cleaning method is best suited for high traffic areas that need a fast drying time. Using an absorbent compound, it works by spreading a mixture of a powder with special cleaning agents and solvents over your carpet and then working it into the carpet fibers with a machine that is outfitted with counter-rotating brushes. The soil in the carpet is absorbed by the powder and after about ten to fifteen minutes of setting time, the powder mixture is vacuumed up.


  • The carpet dries fast with the entire process taking about 20 minutes before the carpet can be used again.
  • Carpets effectively repel dirt after cleaning so your carpets stay clean for a longer period of time.
  • The process is inexpensive and simple as the equipment is far less expensive, light weight, quiet, maintenance free, and easy to use.
  • No fuel is consumed by the equipment, nor is smelly toxic exhaust emitted, so the method is environment-friendly.


  • Powder might not be vacuumed up completely and can lead to buildup over the years.
  • Deep cleaning isn’t possible.

Wet Cleaning

A pre-conditioning shampoo is applied to the carpet to liquefy soil and oil-based stains, followed by the spraying of a cleaning solvent by the machine. It is then sucked back up along with dirt and allergens.

Wet cleaning uses hot water extraction (HWE) and it also known as steam cleaning. The first step is applying a pre-conditioning shampoo to the carpet. This helps to liquefy soil and oil-based stains. The machine sprays a cleaning solvent onto the carpet and then sucks it back up along with all the dirt and allergens.  This solution helps remove of soil deep within the carpet fibers.


  • Deep cleans the carpet using high pressure, high temperature, and chemical concentrates.
  • Steam cleaning machines can be truck-mounted or portable units. The latter is great for smaller spaces like condos or apartments buildings, while the power of the truck-mounted unit is an overall better method of cleaning.
  • It saves money over the long run as you don’t have to get carpets cleaned again and again.


  • Drying time is a tad too long.
  • Even though it generates savings in the long run, it is costlier than other methods.
  • The solution containing dirt, soil, allergens, etc. sucked out from the carpet can harm the environment if not disposed properly.

Now that you know about these methods, study the pros & cons before choosing!

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