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Dry vs. Wet Carpet Cleaning – Which Is Really The Best?

This is an ongoing debate in the carpet industry. The companies that promote truck mount hot water extraction or often referred to as “steam cleaning” claim that dry or low-moisture methods don’t clean as deeply as wet cleaning.

Companies who use the new low-moisture or dry cleaning systems often point out the fact that hot water extraction, or steam cleaning, typically over wets the carpet, penetrates the padding and leaves a soapy, crusty residue.

What You Need to Know About Dry Carpet Cleaning

Dry carpet cleaning methods aren’t just about vacuuming up common debris. In fact, a dry carpet clean offers a much more thorough approach than what you’d see from a simple vacuuming. Due to the little amount of water used in this cleaning method, it makes for an easy and convenient carpet cleaning solution. For its convenience and fast drying capabilities, it’s often the preferred route for high traffic areas.

The process of dry cleaning involves sprinkling a powdered mixture across the area. This powdered mixture is made up of cleaning agents and solvents that work into the carpet’s fibers. Once this has been done, most cleaners will use a counter-rotating, vacuum-like machine that is equipped with brushes at the bottom. This will help the powder absorb any soil and debris that was in your carpet. After a few minutes, the powder and the remnants of dirt are easily vacuumed up.

The best part about this carpet cleaning method is that the effects are instantaneous. Unlike wet carpet cleaning, you won’t have to wait until the area is dry to start seeing results. You will also be able to access the area straight away as little water has been used in the process. An added bonus to this dry method is that without the need for damp carpets, there won’t be the chance for any bacteria to start growing.

To give you a better understanding of dry cleaning, we have summarized a few pros and cons to help you make your decision.


  • It tends to be the more inexpensive choice
  • The process is quick to complete
  • You can almost immediately use your carpets again after they’ve been cleaned


  • The powder may build up over the years
  • You run the risk of the powder adding to a build-up of dust
  • It only provides a surface clean

What You Need to Know About Wet Carpet Cleaning

On the other hand, there’s wet carpet cleaning to consider. Wet cleaning is also known as steam cleaning where the focus is on a hot water extraction method. This method helps liquefy the soil and any stains that are found on your carpets.

This process works by using a machine to spray cleaning solvent onto your carpets. Once your carpets have been covered, it will suck up any dirt and oil-based stains that are embedded deep down into your carpet fibers. A key benefit to this cleaning method is that it provides a great deep cleaning effect which leaves your carpets almost looking brand new.

However, despite the benefits, there are some areas of concern. With the use of water, it may take hours or even days for your carpets to dry. During this period, if too much water has been used, it may cause bacteria to grow and prompt unwanted houseguests to take residence. It’s best to leave this job up to the professionals as they have received the suitable training to perform wet carpet cleaning properly.


  • Removes any stubborn stains and deep soil that’s lodged into your carpet’s fibers
  • Doesn’t rely on chemicals to get the job done


  • It will take a while to properly dry
  • The best jobs are achieved with more expensive equipment
  • You run the risk of bacteria growth

Dry vs Wet Carpet Cleaning: Overall Report

So, with all of this in mind, which cleaning method wins in the dry vs wet carpet cleaning debate? Unfortunately, it all boils down to the circumstance at hand. If your carpets are in a filthy state, it’s wet carpet cleaning all the way. However, if you just need a quick sprucing up of your carpets, dry cleaning would be best. The good news is that when you hire professional cleaners, they will know exactly which method is best for your needs.

For the best house cleaning services on Maui, contact us at West Maui Cleaning today. We offer regular cleaning, deep cleaning and Move out cleaning services.



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