Most carpet cleaning companies only offer Steam Cleaning services, with only a few also, or perhaps only, offering Dry Cleaning services. So, how do they stack up against each other?

The Process.

Both processes first use a quick vacuum to clean up surface layers of dirt. But then the processes diverge;

Dry Cleaning: A solution of dry cleaning solvents, mixed with a tiny bit of water, is applied to the carpet. These solutions break down oily residue, and dirt and all the other muck in your carpet, and then act like tiny sponges to suck all of that stuff back up. After only a little while, this solution can be vacuumed up, leaving the carpet clean from contaminants.

Steam Cleaning: You can also calls this ‘hot water extraction’. A jet spray of water under high pressure is injected into the carpet, and then sucked back up, along with all the dirt and contaminants with it. Think of it like a vacuum cleaner, only using hot water instead of air.


Dry Cleaning: A major benefit of dry cleaning is in the name; after only a little while, the carpet is dry to walk on, which is greater for areas that have a lot of foot traffic, and can not be out of commission for long periods of time. The dry cleaning method also targets more stains than other methods, particularly oily residues.

Steam Cleaning: Provides a more comprehensive and deeper clean. Is better at removing allergens, dust mites and all the other creepy crawlies and illness producing bacteria that living deep within your carpet fibre.


Dry Cleaning: Great for surface cleans, but not so good for deep down cleaning. Has problems getting out the really big and stubborn stains.

Steam Cleaning: Carpets stay wet for longer, and if your carpet cleaner is not experienced, they may over-wet the carpet and damage it.


I am not going to say one way is the best and only way to clean your carpet. Both of these options have benefits that the other one doesn’t. What you need to do is determine what benefits you specifically require for the carpet you want cleaned, and then plan your actions accordingly.

Is your carpet in a well trafficked area that can’t be shut down for long just to let the carpet dry, like carpets in a pub, or a hotel, or other businesses that need to stay open. Well then, a dry cleaning method might be right up your alley, but plan for the fact that such cleanings are more surface oriented, and don’t get deep down into the carpet. This might mean that you need to schedule the dry cleanings more often.

If you can handle not being able to walk on your carpet for a day, and you require a strong carpet clean to rid your carpets of deep down dirt and stains, a steam cleaning might be the best option.