Is Steam Cleaning Better Than Dry Cleaning Carpets?

The debate over steam cleaning carpets or dry cleaning them has been around for years. Some people swear by the results of steam cleaning, while others find that the dry method leaves their carpets looking newer and cleaner for longer. But which is really better?

If you have time to spare and want to ensure that your carpets are thoroughly cleaned, then steam cleaning is the way to go. However, if you want a quick and easy solution that will help to prolong the life of your carpets, then dry cleaning is the better option. So, which is best depends on your individual needs and preferences.

In this blog post, I’ll talk about both ways of cleaning and what’s pros and cons of each. By the end of this blog post, you’ll have all the information you need to decide which method will work best for you.

Picture of a steam cleaner and dry carpet cleaner

What’s Better for Carpets Steam or Dry Cleaning?

Dry and steam carpet cleaning are both effective techniques for cleaning your carpets, but they have their differences. If your carpets are filthy and you have some extra time, steam cleaning is most likely the method you should use to clean them.

On the other hand, the dry cleaning method is recommended for carpets with only light soiling or requiring a re-freshening and is recommended for use in hotels, office complexes, and lobbies. With this technique, the quick-drying agent makes it easy to clean carpets that may be walked on immediately after treatment.

Steam cleaning is highly recommended by the majority of carpet manufacturers as the best approach for extending the life of your carpet and keeping it in good condition.

Picture of a man using a steam cleaner.

What is Steam Cleaning?

Steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction, is a method of cleaning that is widely acknowledged worldwide as the most effective way of cleaning carpets. 

It does this by employing specialized machinery that scrubs the carpet with pressurized hot water and detergent, designed to eliminate stains and rejuvenate the carpet fibers so that they appear as if they were just installed.


Step 1: Is when the carpet cleaner will use the vacuum to remove any dirt or debris from the carpet.

Step #2: Investigate the kinds of spills on the carpet throughout the years. Based on this information, they will determine the cleaning solution that should be applied to the carpet.

Step #3: Treat the entire carpet thoroughly with equipment designed for professionals. The surplus moisture will be sucked out of the carpet by a practical suction attachment, and as a result, the carpet will be washed and dried simultaneously.

This makes it possible for the hot water to permeate the fibers more effectively, resulting in a more thorough cleaning.

Drying time after treatment with hot water extraction can vary, but it usually takes 6 – 8 hours if there is sufficient air.

Carpet manufacturers and cleaning professionals from all over the world strongly recommend using this technique.It is impossible to clean fragile materials with this product, including natural fibers, silk, viscose, leather, 100 percent cotton, and many other fabric types. Before you clean your carpet, you should always check the label on it or get in touch with the company that provided it.
As a result of the technique having a water-to-detergent ratio that is decidedly weighted in favor of the water component, there is no trace of the product that was used left behind.The time necessary for the carpet to dry might range from 6 to 8 hours.
The capacity to penetrate the carpet fibers at an intense level and dissolve most of the dirt.If the carpet is not thoroughly cleaned and dried, there is a significant risk that mold or germs will begin to form on it.
Developed specifically for the removal of stains, and it does not leave behind any residue.The carpet machine that is used for this approach is laborious and loud. Most of the time, there are limitations placed on using the device during specific periods or particular days of the week.
Not only effective for removing stains but also great for overall carpet refreshing.It is highly recommended that you keep all furniture off the carpet until it has completely dried.
It is frequently more effective than other approaches.

If you decide to buy a steam cleaner, you will need to keep it maintained and clean.

What is Dry Carpet Cleaning

Picture of a person using the dry cleaning method on a carpet.

Dry carpet cleaning, also known as chemical carpet cleaning, is a procedure that involves the application of a product known as “dry shampoo” to remove dirt and grime from a rug. Despite its name, this technique does involve the use of water, albeit significantly less than steam cleaning.

It is essential to keep in mind that though it is referred to as “dry cleaning,” there is, in fact, a minimal amount of moisture needed to activate the shampoo. When cleaning natural fiber carpets without causing any damage, dry cleaning is far superior to steam cleaning. This includes jute, wool, cotton, sisal, sea grass, and a wide variety of other natural fiber carpets.


Step #1: Utilize a standard vacuum cleaner or equipment designed for commercial or industrial use to remove any dry soil from the carpet.

Step #2: Cleaning powders and compound cleaning chemicals are applied to the carpet fibers to perform a pre-treatment. The application of solutions for dry cleaning occurs in this phase most of the time. 

To remove any oily residue from the carpet fibers, the solutions or cleaning agents must first do their job and break it down. Because oil causes dirt to adhere to threads, it is much simpler to remove dirt after the oil has been broken down.

Step #3: Under a rotary machine, apply a conditioning rinse to cotton pads that have been soaked in hot water. These pads are called bonnets. The cushions are rotated in a circular motion for the machine to function. When you do this, the dirt will be released from the carpet. After a certain amount of time, the pads may require replacement during the operation.

Short time to dryIt makes use of fragrances and synthetic substances (chemicals).
It can be used to treat trouble spots.This can lead to accumulating residues that damage your carpet’s fibers.
It’s good for fragile and expensive things, and there’s almost no chance of damage.Possibly will not provide a thorough cleaning.
Because some of the detergents can be pretty harsh, it is highly recommended that you seek the advice of an expert before operating a dry cleaner on your own.

You Should Never Try Any of the Other Ways at Home

Here`s Why:

  1. Professional cleaners use products not available in retail stores since they are specialized detergents.
  2. If you try to do it yourself, you risk using too much water and ruining your rugs.
  3. Different kinds of materials are used to make each carpet. Only the trained eye can determine what type of treatment is required.
  4. If not carried out professionally, dry carpet cleaning methods might result in the carpet becoming re-soiled and even damaged.
  5. Cleaning with steam is a hard operation you shouldn’t attempt if you don’t have the necessary knowledge.

Wrapping Up – Is Steam Cleaning Better Than Dry Cleaning Carpets?

We have covered the dry and steam carpet cleaning principles and the associated pros and cons. The most critical thing is to have absolute certainty about the type of fabric your carpet or your piece of upholstery is composed of. 

This is going to be the primary consideration that is used to decide which of the approaches is going to work best for you. If there is a spill, clean it up as quickly as possible, no matter what kind of substance it is. 

In many cases, even the most effective approach will not be able to remove a stain if the stain has already penetrated deeply into the fibers of the material.

Steam CleaningDry Cleaning
Drying time6 to 8 hours to reach the desired level of dryness.Very little to almost no time spent drying.
Suitable fabricsFabrics are made from synthetic materials and materials made from wool.Fabrics are made from delicate materials such as jute, sisal, and sea grass.
Stain removalEffective in protecting against stains.Does not remove stains to any significant degree.
Water quantityDuring the rinse cycle, a substantially more significant quantity of water is utilized than in the other processes.There is hardly any water consumption at all.

Watch the YouTube video below to find out which is better for cleaning carpets, steam, or dry cleaners.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it faster to steam or dry clean carpets?

Dry cleaning is faster because it takes the carpet a lot less time to dry. However, the processing time for each is similar.

Is steam or dry cleaning more effective in removing carpet stains?

Steam cleaning is better for stain removal because the machine produces water vapor deeply penetrates the fabric. However, there are some old stains, such as those caused by hair color or other chemicals, that even a steam cleaner can’t remove.

Does it cost more to steam or dry clean carpets?

Steam cleaning is often the more expensive option, as it requires specialized equipment and solutions. However, dry cleaning carpets is not as effective as steam cleaning, and it may require multiple treatments to achieve the same results.

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