What Is Dry Carpet Cleaning? (Here’s Everything You Need To Know)

Getting your carpet cleaned once in a while should be on your priority list. However, choosing a carpet cleaning method is also a wise decision that you should ponder before taking. There can be two methods for this: dry and wet cleaning.

Dry carpet cleaning is a cleaning method that involves the use of no or very little amount of moisture in cleaning the carpet. On the other hand, wet carpet cleaning involves the use of moisture. Dry carpet cleaning is fast and efficient and can be used regularly too. This post will cover all the important aspects of dry carpet cleaning that you need to know to make your carpet shine brightly again.

Dry Carpet Cleaning

What Is Dry Carpet Cleaning?

Homeowners tend to spend a lot on their carpet cleaning needs. Who wants to see their stylish, handwoven carpet go dull with time? However, hiring carpet cleaning services and opting for wet carpet cleaning can take time and money.

On the contrary, you can do it yourself by opting for dry carpet cleaning. Dry carpet cleaning involves the use of special chemical compounds that involve no or very little amount of moisture. The VLM or “very low moisture” cleaning chemicals comprise of different biodegradable components that break down dust particles and lift them off the carpet fibers. This helps in cleaning off the dust particles, making the carpet cleaned and refreshing.

Dry Carpet Cleaning soda

The 12 Step DIY Dry Carpet Cleaning Process

Although there are multiple ways that you can clean your carpet even if you’re using dry carpet cleaning; however, it’s better to do it perfectly once. Here’s a 12 step dry carpet cleaning process that you should consider for cleaning your carpet:

  1. Pre-Inspection
  2. Pre-Vacuuming
  3. Removing Furniture
  4. Pre-Spray
  5. Pre-Spotting
  6. Pre-Grooming
  7. Soil Rinsing & Cleaning
  8. Neutralizing the pH
  9. Post Spotting
  10. Post Grooming
  11. Speed Drying
  12. Final Inspections

Step 1: Pre-Inspection

The first thing you need to do is to inspect your carpet for possible stains and spots that need extra treatment. This will help you decide which part needs special treatment. You can then use this information for placing the dry cleaning compound seamlessly on every part.

Step 2: Pre-Vacuum

The next step is to make a general vacuum on your carpet. This is to remove the external layer of dust from your carpet so that the compound chemicals can go in depth. Vacuuming removes the dry soil layer, which helps you to proceed further in the cleaning phase. The dry soil layer accumulates on your carpet. About 79% of dry soil layer accumulates on your carpet, comprising of dust particles. It’s harmful to your carpet as it continuously degrades its quality if not cleaned.

vacuuming the gray carpet

Step 3: Removing Furniture

You don’t want your pinky to hit your furniture while cleaning your carpet now, do you? That is why it is essential that you remove your furniture to get maximum space for cleaning your carpet. The chemical compounds used in the dry carpet cleaning process are designed to attract dust particles. If some of it accidentally gets on your furniture without you knowing it, it will keep attracting dirt. Without cleaning, the furniture or upholstery will get dirtier and degraded too.

Step 4: Pre-Spray

Another element that you would need apart from the dry compound is a carpet stain removal aerosol. These sprays work similarly to the dry compound chemicals, attracting and lifting the dirt so that the compound can easily capture them. You can check for instructions on the manual. Sprays and dry compounds are chemicals that can damage the carpet fibers. However, most of the products are being manufactured with wool-friendly bio-based components that make them safe to use.

Step 5: Pre-Spotting

Similar to pre-spraying, the pre-spotting process involves the treatment of tough stains that have been present on your carpet for a while now. Even if you’re not able to completely remove them, blotting the stains can help remove the upper soil layer, making it easier for the chemical compound to extract them.

Step 6: Pre-Grooming

Just like you would like to get a facial massage before the actual makeup happens, you would need to do a pre-grooming of your carpet. This is done by using a carpet rake or groomer, which further loosens the soil layer, making it easier to clean it.

carpet cleaning with a carpet rake

Step 7: Soil Rinsing & Cleaning

Now that you’ve made your carpet ready for cleaning, it’s time to clean your carpet. First, you need to spread the dry compound all over the carpet. Make sure to spread it lightly so that it is easy to clean later. Use a rotary brush to clean it off. But wait for at least 30-40 minutes so that the chemical absorbs dirt from deep within. Afterward, you can brush it off and vacuum it later.



One thing to note here is that when you’re using a dry compound ensure that you vacuum it good. If the dry compound is left, it will continue to absorb dirt. This will result in the formation of a soil layer faster than before and your carpet will get dirty again.

Step 8: Neutralizing the pH

Sticky residue can remain if the carpet isn’t cleaned well. To make sure that your carpet cleaning doesn’t result in that, use a neutralizer for it. You can get different products including Craftex Deodorizers, etc. to make your carpet refreshingly clean.

Step 9: Post Spotting

After you’ve completed the cleaning process, it’s time to do post-spotting. Since now your carpet fibers are loosened, it is easier to extract any leftover stains. Use blotting to extract all the stains so that the fibers don’t get damaged. You can also use carpet protectors to protect it from stains in the future.

Step 10: Post Grooming

Similar to pre-grooming, post-grooming is necessary to help make your carpet dry faster. It also helps keep the fibers intact in the right position, which helps reduce traffic lines.

carpet cleaning after grooming

Step 11: Speed Drying

If you’ve got guests coming, then it’s better to use fans to speed up the drying process. Even though the dry carpet cleaning involves little or no moisture, drying it will help remove the remaining compound particles from the carpet.

Step 12: Final Inspections

Now that you’ve cleaned your carpet, it’s time to give a good look at it. This will help you determine if the compound particles have been removed effectively or if the stains have been blotted or not. Rest assured, if you follow the aforementioned steps effectively, you’ll get a handsomely cleaned carpet for sure.

Methods for Dry Carpet Cleaning

Now that we’ve covered how you should be dry cleaning your carpet, it’s time that you should know about the methods too. Several dry cleaning methods and tools can be used to achieve the level of cleanliness you need. Some of these methods include:

Dry Compound

The dry compound extraction or cleaning method is quite effective and easy to use. This method involves the use of absorbent compound material that has restricted moisture elements. The method is used when there is no need for soil suspension, which is the primary element in wet carpet cleaning.

clean carpet with baking soda

Dry Ice Method

This method is usually not recommended for home use but is an effective way of dry carpet cleaning. It uses a jet flow beam of dry ice similar to pressure washing to blow clean your carpet. Due to its high CO2 density, it is often used for industrial purposes and not for residential needs..

Encapsulation Method

This method involves the use of biodegradable polymers that attract and encapsulate dirt particles. When allowed to settle, the polymers extract dirt from the carpet fibers, making it easy to vacuum the carpet. The method is widely used and requires effective vacuuming since the polymers keep on attracting dirt particles until they evaporate or vacuumed.

What Should You Choose?

Many homeowners often recommend the use of steam cleaning for a perfectly cleaned water. On the other hand, the users of dry carpet cleaning also recommend it for its ease of use, affordability, and quick results. Here are some things that you should know when deciding on whether to choose dry or steam carpet cleaning:

Drying Phase

As evident from the name, dry carpet cleaning doesn’t involve the use of moisture. On the other hand, steam carpet cleaning uses an excessive amount of water for cleaning purposes. The results may be more professional but steam carpet cleaning needs at least 24 hours to illustrate the results. For dry carpet cleaning, one can get the results within hours. Even if there are some additional touches needed, the user can attend them and still get similar results to steam cleaning.


You’ll have to pay $30/hour if you hire someone for dry cleaning your carpet. On the other hand, it can cost around $175-$600 for a full service. That is why most people now opt for dry carpet cleaning since it doesn’t involve the use of extensive machines nor it is more costly.


The dry compound chemicals are specially designed to tackle tough stains. They have proven to be more effective than steam cleaning in removing stains. However, dry cleaning doesn’t give deep cleaning results as steam cleaning does.



With dry cleaning, you’ll have to make an effort in spreading, brushing, and then vacuuming the compound. Even if you hire a team for it, the effort will be the same for them. On the other hand, steam cleaning uses specialized machines for cleaning the carpet, which pretty much does all the job.

Chemical Exposure

There’s a risk that the dry compound material can damage the fiber of your carpet. It increases the risk of you and your family being exposed to chemicals. That is why it needs effective vacuuming to remove all the chemicals. On the contrary, steam carpet cleaning doesn’t use any chemicals, which reduces the risks of dry carpet cleaning. Even though dry cleaning compounds are being manufactured with non-toxic and biodegradable materials, it’s essential that you consider reading labels first.


You can DIY dry carpet cleaning easily because all you need are the dry compound components and you’re good to go. However, opting for steam cleaning will need professional help since steam cleaning equipment is costly.

create your own dry mix for carpet cleaning

Dry Carpet Cleaning FAQs

Is Dry Cleaning Safe For Rugs?
Yes, dry cleaning is safe for rugs. You should read the label for checking the usage of the product to make sure that it’s optimal for rug cleaning. Make sure to test it before applying it to your rug.

What Type Of Chemicals Does Dry Carpet Cleaning Use?
Dry carpet cleaning uses green-certified and natural cleaners. The cleaning compound consists of soap and phosphates that are non-toxic and hypoallergenic.

What Happens If Re-Soiling Occurs?
Re-soiling occurs when the carpet is left with chemical or detergent residues. This can occur for both dry and steam cleaning. That is why it is necessary to vacuum the carpet effectively to get rid of the polymers from creating a sticky residue.

Is Dry Cleaning Better Than Steam Cleaning?
Based on the idea that dry cleaning takes little time while giving effective results with a low risk of moisture added to your carpet, it can be said that it is more effective. Dry cleaning uses microscopic bubbles to remove dirt from that carpet that can be vacuumed and removed easily.

Is It Better to DIY Dry Carpet Cleaning Than Hiring A Pro For It?
If you have an industrially graded vacuum cleaner, then yes you can. The reason is that vacuuming is an important part of dry carpet cleaning. Professionals have all the equipment for the process. So if you can spare some amount, then it’s better to call one.


Opting for dry carpet cleaning can give you superb results in no time. If you want someone to do it for you, then hiring a professional by searching for best-carpet-cleaners-near-me is a great idea.

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

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