There are many arguments out there about steam cleaning and dry carpet cleaning – which one is the best? Although steam cleaning is the best option for deep-cleansing your rugs, dry carpet cleaning is suitable for any surface issues. Here’s our short introduction to both methods to help you make a decision!

1. Steam Cleaning Method

Professional cleaner performs steam carpet cleaning

Steam cleaning isn’t actually cleaning with steam, it’s a hot water extraction method. We’ll walk you through the basics:

1. A light pre-hoover to get rid of any large, inconvenient bits of dirt that slow down the process.

2. Adding a detergent pre-spray. The agents in the spray loosen any stubborn dirt on the surface of your carpet, then sink into the fibers.

3. Some technicians work it through with a brush or a microfiber pad. This is not mandatory. It depends on the carpet fibers.

4. Now it’s time for the hot water extraction. Accomplished by using a steaming machine, which sprays steamy, hot water on the carpets, followed by sucking the pre-spray, dirt, and soils back up. It’s a bit like a vacuum with water.

This technique for carpet cleaning is the best for deep cleansing. It’s the favoured method of most carpet cleaning companies. The only downside – you need to leave it at least 24 hours before walking on it. The best time to hire a professional steam cleaning service is when you’re out having fun on the weekend or a family vacation.

Check out more about the benefits of steam cleaning.

2. Dry Carpet Cleaning Methods

When it comes to dry cleaning, there are 3 methods, only 1 is actually dry cleaning. These methods are called dry cleaning, as they use much less water in the process, and the dry time is usually only a few hours. Here is a quick summary of the different methods:

1. Dry Powder Cleaning – Absorbent dry compound is either sprinkled over the rug or applied by a special machine. This method contains only a small amount of water that works as an absorbent carrier, detergent, and solvent. It works like a thousand little mini sponges absorbing dirt and soil. When it’s dried (30 minutes), the dry compound is hoovered up.

2. Encapsulation Cleaning – Polymer detergent encapsulates applied by a rotary machine. These encapsulates stick to dirt and soil and are all vacuumed up after about 20-30 minutes of drying time.

3. Bonnet Cleaning – The more commonly known method for dry cleaning. It’s similar to the encapsulation method. Except that non-foaming detergents or even soda water are used and a pre-spray applied to the carpet first. Then, using a rotary machine with a bonnet pad attached, the dirt and soil are soaked up. Dry time is roughly 6-10 hours.

3. How to know which method is best?

Dry vs Steam Carpet cleaning methods

If your carpets have lots of old stubborn stains and are looking worn out, you’ll need a professional steam cleaning service. With the dry cleaning methods, old stains lose their colour but remain and attract new dirt. If you’re attempting a DIY clean to give your rug a little spruce, we recommend the dry powder cleaning method. Using even a mixture of soda bicarb and essential oils as the dry absorbent will achieve the same results.

Never attempt any of the other methods at home. Here’s why:

– Professional cleaners have special detergents that are not available on the shelf;

– When attempted by yourself you may use to much water and damage your rugs;

– Each carpet is made of different materials. Only a trained eye can assess what treatment is needed;

– Dry cleaning carpet methods can lead to re-soiling and damage if not executed with professionalism;

– Steam cleaning is a tricky process that you shouldn’t attempt without the know-how.

Do Your Carpets Need Professional Care?


At Crown Cleaners we dedicate ourselves to making sure your carpets get the love they need. Don’t hesitate to call us for a free quote or check our site for our professional carpet cleaning prices.