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What Is Dry Carpet Cleaning?

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Preparation for dry carpet cleaning

You've heard of hot and cold water extraction carpet cleaning, you may have even heard of steam carpet cleaning but did you know that there's another method of carpet cleaning called 'dry' carpet cleaning?

It seems counter intuitive given all we have become accustomed to when dealing with carpet and upholstery, but someone, somewhere decided that they would try to spice things up a bit.

In this blog post, we will explore the question 'what is dry carpet cleaning' and find out if it actually works or not.

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What is Dry Carpet Cleaning?

Dry carpet cleaning is a carpet cleaning method that uses low-moisture or no-moisture techniques to clean carpets without saturating them with water.

Unlike traditional steam cleaning or hot water extraction methods, dry carpet cleaning relies on specialized cleaning compounds or powders to remove dirt, stains, and odours from the carpet fibres.

What is The Dry Carpet Cleaning Method?

Dry carpet cleaning is a 5 step process which involves a lot of cleaning compounds and patience. It's not dissimilar to the traditional cleaning method, just with a lot less water.

We have incorporated dry carpet cleaning into our own cleaning business in some cases, here's the method:

  1. Pre-Vacuuming: Before the dry cleaning process begins, the carpet is thoroughly vacuumed to remove loose dirt, debris, and surface-level contaminants.

  2. Application of Cleaning Compound: A dry cleaning compound or powder is applied to the carpet using a specially designed machine or a sprinkle-on method. The compound is spread evenly across the carpet surface and worked into the fibres using brushes or agitation equipment.

  3. Chemical Reaction: The dry cleaning compound is left on the carpet for a specific period, allowing it to attract and encapsulate dirt and stains. The compound acts as a magnet, pulling dirt particles away from the carpet fibers.

  4. Vacuuming: After the chemical reaction has occurred and the dirt has been encapsulated, the carpet is thoroughly vacuumed to remove the cleaning compound along with the trapped dirt and debris. High-powered vacuums with specialized brushes or filters are commonly used for this purpose.

  5. Post-Treatment: Depending on the specific dry cleaning method used, a post-treatment may be applied to further enhance the cleaning results, provide deodorization, or protect the carpet fibres against future soiling.

What are the benefits of using dry carpet cleaning?

  1. Quick Drying Time: Since minimal or no water is used in the process, dry carpet cleaning allows the carpet to dry quickly, typically within a few hours or even less.

  2. Convenience: With shorter drying times, dry carpet cleaning enables homeowners or businesses to resume regular activities soon after the cleaning process. Of course, there are ways of speeding up that drying process.

  3. Spot Cleaning: Dry carpet cleaning can effectively target specific stains or areas of concern, allowing for spot cleaning without requiring a full carpet cleaning session.

  4. Less of a learning curve: This is certainly something you could try yourself if you don't mind spending a bit of extra money and cleaning out your vacuum a few times afterwards. The methods are pretty straight-forward.

Can Dry Carpet Cleaning Replace Traditional Carpet Cleaning?

There is no chance that dry cleaning can replace the traditional water extraction method. It's simply not strong enough to clean a carpet that is soiled substantially.

You can't make the chemicals stronger either because you will only end up damaging your carpets or upholstery.

Dry carpet cleaning is good for freshening up your carpets. It reminds us of a slightly better version of sprinkling baking soda on your carpet and vacuuming it up to give it a nice smelling fragrance.

Although it won't replace wet carpet cleaning, it does have it's uses. If you're carpets aren't particularly dirty and you don't want the carpet drying time wait, dry carpet cleaning is a decent option instead.

What about Dry Couch & Upholstery Cleaning?

It's the same story here. While dry upholstery cleaning is a good option for freshening up and some stain removal, it doesn't compare to the wet carpet cleaning method when deep cleaning.

You can buy some yourself and try it out but if your couch is heavily soiled, the results will be disappointing if you expected a deeper clean and not just at surface level.

Is Dry Carpet Cleaning Safe For Pets?

Yes in most cases dry carpet cleaning is perfectly fine for pets. The only time it may be a problem is if the aim of carpet cleaning is to remove a red wine stain, or sometimes, bad odours. For more information, see our guide on is carpet cleaning safe for pets?

How Long Will Dry Carpet Cleaning Take?

Dry carpet cleaning takes a shorter time than normal carpet cleaning methods. All you need to do is apply the carpet cleaning solution, let sit for 15 minutes and then vacuum it away.

It should only take around 1 and a half hours to do an entire home which is a great convenience to homeowners.


If you expected dry carpet cleaning to be a magical solution to your carpet and upholstery needs, we're sorry to disappoint you.

The good news is that it does have it's uses and we offer it as a service if you would like to try it out.

We can advise you on the better option for your carpet and upholstery as can many other carpet cleaning companies.

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