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What is the difference between carpet dry cleaning and steam cleaning?

What is the difference between carpet dry cleaning and steam cleaning?

There’s a lot of information out there debating which is better for your carpet – dry cleaning or steam cleaning. And how are they different?

While both systems can give you great results, the main difference is the amount of water used in the process. Ultimately, the results achieved by both carpet cleaning systems depend more on the technician, the chemicals and the equipment than the system used.

The pros and cons of carpet dry cleaning and steam cleaning



 The process:

carpet dry clean includes a pre-vacuum of your carpet to remove the dry soil. A pre-vacuum should be performed before steam cleaning as well - when dry soils become wet they turn to mud and are harder to extract.

The carpet is then treated with a carpet dry cleaning solution, which is a combination of dry cleaning solvents carried in water. The solution breaks down the oily residue in the carpet which holds the dirt to the carpet fibers so that the soils and stains can be easily removed.

Next, cotton absorbent pads are immersed in hot water with a conditioning rinse and placed on the carpet under a rotary machine (like a modified high-speed floor polisher). The pads are spun around on the carpet at high speed and the dirt is released from the carpet on the pads. These pads are continually changed in the cleaning process.

 How it works:

Carpet dry cleaning leaves the carpet walk-on dry, and the carpet will usually be totally dry in an about an hour. The carpet dry cleaning solutions are the most important part of the dry-cleaning process. Effective carpet dry cleaning solutions will remove more stains than other cleaning processes and deliver excellent results. Electrodry Carpet Dry Cleaning manufactures its own exclusive carpet dry cleaning solutions, which delivers amazing stain removal results. The Electrodry system also restores the natural chemical balance in the carpet to give the carpet back its natural brightness.


Carpets are always pre-vacuumed to remove dry soil.

The carpet dry cleaning solution breaks down oily residue.

Walk-on dry in about an hour.

Removes more stains than other cleaning process.

Restores the natural chemical balance of your carpet.



 The process:

Steam cleaning, or hot water extraction cleaning, works by injecting hot water into your carpet under high pressure and extracting the water out. When the water is extracted, the dirt and soiling will be extracted with the water to clean the carpet. Effective steam cleaners will pre-treat stains to remove with the appropriate cleaning agents and use a pre-spray to break down surface tension in the carpet. This allows the water to penetrate deeply into the carpet before extraction.

 How it works:

Excellent results can be achieved with steam cleaning if the technician uses effective cleaning pre-sprays, agitates the carpet and takes the time to extract as much water as possible from the carpet. Unfortunately, the process can leave the carpet very wet and it can take up to 24 hours for the carpet to be totally dry. In some cases, it can take days to dry.

Also, without effective pre-treatment, steam cleaning is often ineffective at removing oily stains (the dark spots you see on the carpet). If the oily residue is not totally removed then the stain may remain, or it will quickly re-appear as dirt sticks to the oily residue.


Achieves excellent results if performed properly by qualified technicians

Removes stains if appropriate pre-treatment is done.

Leaves the carpet very wet and may take up to 24 hours to dry

Ineffective at removing oily stains without effective pre-treatment.

Without removing oily stains properly, the stain may remain or re-appear as dirt sticks to oily residue.

What is a dual clean?

As steam cleaning and dry cleaning have different benefits, Electrodry offers customers a “dual clean” service incorporating steam cleaning and dry cleaning. This service is offered for very dirty carpets, wherein the rinsing of steam cleaning and the stain removal benefits of dry cleaning may give a superior result. A dual clean will usually cost 80% more than the standard cleaning process.


Both systems of carpet cleaning can be effective; however, steam cleaning will have a much longer drying time and may not be as effective as dry cleaning with stain removal. With minimal moisture, carpet dry cleaning will leave the carpet ready to walk on straight away and totally dry in 1 to 2 hours.  To try it for yourself and see the difference, call Electrodry to organise carpet dry cleaning today.


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