Not everyone understands the difference between steam cleaning carpets and dry cleaning them – and not every professional carpet cleaner offers both options, so it is important to know the difference in order to make the best choice for your needs.
Steam cleaning carpets
Many carpet cleaners offer professional steam cleaning for carpets as this does the better job of the two. But the name is something of a misnomer because the carpet is sprayed with hot water rather than steam. Chemicals are also used to help break down the dirt and lift it out. The equipment sucks out the soiled residue so the carpets are really clean deep down and they dry more quickly. However, this drying process still takes about 24 hours, depending on the climate, humidity and air currents.
It is important to leave the windows opened after the steam cleaning is finished so that the air can go through and help to dry the carpets more quickly, especially if you want to use them. You could also activate the fans to help the process along. Otherwise it might be a good idea to have it done when you go on holidays, if you can get a trusted family member or friend to oversee the process for you.
If you have to walk on the carpet while it is still damp, there is a risk of leaving marks that would not be a problem if the carpet was perfectly dry.
Dry cleaning carpets
Dry cleaning is not a totally dry process as liquid chemicals are used to help break down the dirt. The main advantage is that you can walk on the carpet within a few hours. However, the amount of chemical used is far greater than that used when steam cleaning. You will very likely have to leave the house while the job is being done so that you don’t inhale the chemicals.
Then there are the fumes that are left behind as it dries to think about and the fact that they remain in the carpet, even though in a dry state. If children or pets roll around on the carpet this could cause them to suffer skin rashes or to inhale more of the chemical than is good for them.
With dry cleaning it is also important to leave windows opened to allow fresh air through, but this is more to disperse the fumes than to actually dry the carpet, though it does have that effect too.
Many people prefer to avoid using chemicals, especially in residential applications where children and pets are present and likely to be on the floor a lot. It may be different in commercial premises where no one is likely to be for the whole night.