Steam Cleaning vs Dry Carpet Cleaning – Which is better and why?

Did you know that regular carpet cleaning may be required to maintain your carpet’s warranty? Even if it isn’t, regularly cleaning your carpet can actually have a positive effect on it’s durability and obviously it’s long term beauty. Choosing between Dry Carpet Cleaning and Steam Cleaning is hard enough, but there are hundreds of different businesses claiming to be the best. How can you choose which one is right for you?

We’re here to go over the pro’s and con’s of each option.

1) Steam Cleaning (Hot Water Extraction)


This is definitely the most popular form of carpet cleaning, but that doesn’t make it the best. Utilized by professionals and do-it-yourself products everywhere, steam cleaning simply injects hot water mixed with a detergent agent into the carpet. This mixture is scrubbed into the carpet, then sucked back up (hopefully taking all the dirt and grime with it) using a vacuum system. The hot water is used to kill bacteria and sanitize the carpet, but this doesn’t come without it’s flaws.

Most machines only pull back about 75% of the water used. This means that your carpets are left wet for 12 to 24 hours after cleaning. Especially in humid climates, this now wet carpet creates the perfect environment for bacteria and mold to find it’s home within your carpet, and even down to the sub-floor.

Although most do-it-yourself machines use this method of carpet cleaning, we don’t recommend it unless you’ve been properly trained to not over soak the floors. Over wet carpets can:

  • Separate from their backing
  • Stretch out creating carpet wrinkles
  • Fade the color of the carpet
  • Grow mold or mildew within 72 hours

Tip: If you do choose this method, make sure you, or the professional, do a good vacuum before steam cleaning. Because this method uses water to clean, the dirt in the carpet absorbs the water and becomes more difficult to remove. If you’re going to have a professional clean, find one that offers a deep vacuum service before steam cleaning.

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2) Low Moisture (Dry Carpet Cleaning)

Dry Carpet Cleaning - Bonnet Cleaner

This method is by far our favorite. Dry Carpet Cleaning is traditionally cheaper than hot water extraction services, and it conserves water. Do your research and find a company that uses a non-harsh chemical cleaning solution (once again, we recommend Heaven’s Best as their product is safe for pets and children, and the results are amazing!).

The first step to Dry Carpet Cleaning is always a good vacuuming. Once again, do your research and find a service that has the best equipment. Most companies will choose to use an industrial strength vacuum system, but only a few will use an edging vacuum to really make sure that all of the dirt is removed.

After a majority of the dirt and grime has been removed, a cleaner will be sprayed over the designated area. Once the cleaning solutions are sprayed onto the carpets, a rotary floor machine with cleaning pads (bonnets) will be used to gently churn between the carpet fibers and trap the moisture and dirt into the pads. Several pads should be used, but it all depends on who you have do your service. The results are a clean fresh smelling carpet with no soapy residue, plus it’s dry in one hour!

While we believe this is a much better way of getting your carpets cleaned, it’s an experience you need to have for yourself. Not many companies offer this type of carpet cleaning service, so it’s also a great opportunity if you know anyone who has been thinking about starting a business.

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