Steam Cleaning, Dry Cleaning – Which way to go?

You will probably see advertising for steam cleaning and for dry cleaning, and some businesses will do both, but some will specialise in only one or the other. How do they compare? I hope to help you decide which one you should choose.

This basically describes the difference processes. In both cases, they start with a vacuuming to get out the surface dirt. But then they are different.

Steam Cleaning

Another name for this process would be “hot water extraction”. A jet of hot water is injected under pressure into your carpet. The water is then sucked up, taking out all contaminants, dirt etc with it. This is a similar process to vacuuming, except with hot water.

The advantage is that you will get a deeper clean. The hot water jet is the better way to remove dust mites, allergens, and anything else lurking in the depths of the carpet, including bacteria that could bring illnesses to your family.

The disadvantage is that the carpet will remain wet longer. More importantly, if the operator is less experienced, the carpet may become excessively wet and this may result in damage to your carpet.

Dry Cleaning

Specialised dry cleaning solvents, mixed with a little water, are applied to carpet. This solution breaks down any oily residue, dirt, and other unwanted stuff in the carpet, and sucks it up so that a short while later it can be vacuumed away, and the carpet is clean and free from contaminants.

Of course the main advantage is that dry cleaning is “dry”. You can walk on the carpet without a great deal of delay, which means that normal foot traffic is not disturbed for a long time. Another advantage is that the dry cleaning solutions treat more stains, in particular oily residue, than other cleaning methods.

However dry cleaning is great for cleaning the surface, but not as good if deep cleaning is needed. It can be difficult to get out the stubborn stains.

So … which way to go?

There are pros and cons for both of the processes. One is not always better than the other in every case. Steam cleaning has benefits that dry cleaning does not have, and vice versa. If you can’t decide which way is best, seek the advice of a carpet cleaning specialist, one who is able to inspect your carpet and give an unbiased, objective assessment of the best options to deal with the problem.

If your carpet is in a high traffic area, and the traffic can’t be diverted in another direction, the dry cleaning process is probably the way to go. But remember that this type of cleaning is more surface, less deep, cleaning, and you may need to do it more often.

Conversely, if there is an alternate route for your traffic and the carpet can be left to dry for a day, then the deep cleaning of the steam option may be your best solution.