Dry Carpet Cleaning

“Dry” Carpet Cleaning

Not everyone has time to wait for carpet to dry after cleaning or the ability to dry it out quickly enough to prevent dust to settle onto partially wet carpet fibers.  Some allergies prevent people from being around even slightly wet carpet.  The carpet care industry has created a few “dry” carpet cleaning methods to speed the cleaning process.  This is popular especially in homes that have turnover and maintenance and cleaning needs to be done in a few days. The convenience is also widely popular for busy families.

Dry Cleaning

Dry cleaning machines, also referred to as very low moisture systems, are less labor intensive and quicker than wet-extraction carpet cleaning systems.  This system uses dry compounds with application cleaning solutions.  They are quite popular because of their lightening fast drying time.


Pretreating heavily soiled areas is necessary.  The use of manual spotting, preconditioning, and a “traffic-lane cleaner” is applied to the carpet to breakdown the different soils and stains on the carpet fibers rather quickly.  One chemical may remove pet stains and another make break down greasy films.  This process allows for vacuuming to remove much of the soil in the carpet.  Common solutions used are petroleum byproducts, butyl agents, glycol ethers and d-limonene.  Pretreatment is left in the carpet for less than 15 minutes.  The dry cleaning system uses carpet brushing to work the chemicals fully into the carpet. The agitation gets it really worked in.

The biggest benefit is that the dry chemical compounds won’t attract the dirt like the drying shampoo does with wet carpet shampooing.  It is more expensive but it puts less stress on the carpet fibers.

Dry Compound

This is another dry carpet cleaning process. A cleaning solution that is 98% biodegradable is put in the carpet and worked in. It can be used over the entire carpet or in small spots.  This can be done commercially or by yourself.


The compound acts as a tiny sponge, absorbing dirt and grime as its being brushed into the carpet. It dries for a short time, during which the cleaning solution in the compounds evaporates, and is vacuumed up.  The carpet is left dry.

It’s difficult to remove all soil this way.  It’s those soils that cause allergies.  The compound used may also cause slight discolorations in the carpet.


This process was introduced in the 1990s by encapsulating, or crystalizing, the soil into dry residues immediately on contact. They use special detergent polymers.  The encapsulators bind the detergent molecules to the soils in a brittle, crystalline structure. Once dry, usually 20 to 30 minutes, the detergent and its captured soil, are vacuumed away. The detergent not vacuumed up remains attached to the carpet fibers reducing the fibers ability to collect new oily and wet soils.  Over time, as the detergent breaks away from the fiber with each vacuum, more and more soil is removed. This process dramatically extends the time between each need for professional cleaners.


The solution is applied with a rotary machine, compression sprayer or brush applicator. The detergent is either vacuumed away with everyday vacuum or the cleaning machine may vacuum it away.

This method is known to last the longest. Because of its short drying time, the carpet is available for immediate use, making it quite popular.

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