Many in the carpet cleaning industry prefer to hold to one method over the other, whether wet or dry, but the debate is a healthy one as to which is a better cleaning method. The truth is that both methods have advantages and disadvantages, which we will try to explore in this article.
Wet Cleaning Method
Many carpet cleaners swear by the “wet” cleaning method, which is also known as either hot water extraction or steam cleaning. At the heart of it, the claim is that dry cleaning methods don’t clean as deeply and as thoroughly as steam cleaning or hot water extraction.
And this claim does have some merit to it. Hot water or steam has the capacity of getting deep into the carpet fibers, loosening dirt and soil buildup in a way that dry cleaning methods can only hope to accomplish. Steam or hot water also has the capacity of dealing with grease and oils and can also kill bacteria, mold, or other microorganisms that may exist in the deeper layers of your carpet. So if what you are after is a deep and thorough clean that is also a sanitization of your carpet, then steam cleaning is the best choice for you.
On the downside, using heat may warp carpet fibers. Also, if you use steam or hot water, and the carpet isn’t allowed to dry thoroughly afterward, your carpet becomes a prime spot for the growth of bacteria and other fungi, quite apart from the damage that too much water can cause to your carpet. Over-wetting a carpet is one of the most common mistakes that professional carpet cleaners have seen among households that choose DIY methods to give their carpets a thorough clean. And the problems that it raises are also myriad: a lingering odor, an over-wet carpet that can take days to dry completely, and the inconvenience and the downtime of not being able to use the carpet or the carpeted room until after the carpet has been thoroughly dried.
Dry Cleaning Methods
The different dry cleaning methods are similar to each other in one important respect: the method of use. Dry cleaning catalysts are applied over the surface of the rug, left for a time to “break down the dirt and dust in the carpet,” before being vacuumed away, together with all the loosened dirt and dust.
The most obvious benefit here is that you won’t have to deal with a wet carpet, although professional steam-cleaning of your carpets might be quicker to dry than your attempts to steam clean your carpet. Also on the plus side is the fact that this type of cleaning method is a whole lot easier than using the heavy and cumbersome steam cleaning equipment.
The disadvantage of this type of cleaning method, however, is that the cleaning using this method may not be as thorough as using steam. Manufacturers do claim that recent technology has enabled them to develop dry cleaning products that can get right into the deep-seated dirt of your carpet fibers, and can loosen them just as efficiently as steam. But this may not always be true.
Another disadvantage of dry cleaning methods is that for a dry compound to work efficiently at breaking down dirt and dust that have accumulated deep in your carpets, it means that you are dealing with very powerful chemicals that may be too harsh for your carpet. And if for some reason you fail to clean all of the chemicals up during vacuuming, that means that the harsh cleaning powder is now part of the internal atmosphere of your home.