Carpet Steam Cleaning vs Dry Cleaning – Which is Much Better?

Carpets are susceptible to spills, stains and a buildup of dirt overtime. That’s why it’s important to maintain high standards of cleaning to keep them fresh, hygienic and prolong their use. 

When it comes to cleaning carpets, there are generally two main approaches you can choose from – steam cleaning and dry cleaning. But which method is better? Here we discuss the key differences between carpet steam cleaning and dry cleaning:

Carpet Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is the method of cleaning carpets using hot water. It works by employing special equipment which under high pressure injects water into the carpet and then removes it. This method is just like a vacuum cleaner, but instead of using air to suction up debris, it uses hot water. When the water is extracted from the carpet, it takes all the built-up dirt with it, leaving behind a fresh, clean carpet.

For particularly dirty carpets which require stain removal, a pre-spray can be applied to the carpet to help remove stubborn soil. Spot cleaners which operate like steam cleaners can also be used to target individual stains without the expense of having to clean an entire carpet.

What are the Benefits of Steam Cleaning?

The main benefit of steam cleaning is it achieves fantastic long-lasting results with a deeper clean, removing dirt from the root to the surface of your carpet. However, you should also consider that this type of cleaning can take up to 24-hours for a carpet to fully dry.

Carpet Dry Cleaning

Unlike steam cleaning, carpet dry cleaning doesn’t involve as much moisture. Carpet dry cleaning includes pre-vacuuming a carpet to remove the surface dirt. The carpet is then treated with a dry-cleaning solution made from solvents. Solutions help break down the dirt within the carpet, making stains easier to remove and lift dirt out of the carpet. The last stage of the dry-cleaning process involves using machinery with cotton pads attached. Using a high-speed rotating motion (similar to a floor polisher), the cotton pads spin around on the carpet removing stains and soil attached to the carpet fibers. These pads are recurrently changed to maximise results.

Another approach which requires less water than steam cleaning is encapsulation cleaning. Encapsulation uses polymer detergent encapsulators applied with a rotary machine. Crystalised particles encapsulate the dirt, binding it together and making it easier to vacuum out of the carpet. This approach is not only quick, but it can be more cost effective for carpets that don’t require a deeper clean.

What are the Benefits?

The main benefit of carpet dry cleaning is it leaves the carpet dry enough to walk on about an hour after the process has been completed. But, the effectiveness of dry cleaning depends on the quality of the solvent being used and the efficiency of the technician. Dry cleaning is also less effective in collecting dirt from a carpet compared to steam cleaning which provides a more thorough carpet wash.