There are two kinds of carpet cleaning methods, dry cleaning and wet cleaning, and each have pro’s and con’s, as well as reasons why one or the other may be the best choice in certain situations. Whether you hire a professional company or do it yourself, it’s important to know how each one works and when one method may be better than another method in a given situation.
“Dry” carpet cleaning methods aren’t actually dry, they just use far less water than any “wet” cleaning method. Dry cleaning your carpets can be a good solution between wet cleanings, or works well if your home or apartment area is small.
Dry foam is a liquid chemical that’s whipped into a consistency similar to the mousse you would use on your hair. The foam is applied and scrubbed deeply into the fibers of the carpet with circular motions using a brush or sponge, or a machine. The foam “encapsulates” the dirt and contaminants, binding them to the foam. The residue is then vacuumed up. By hand, it’s a labor-intensive process, but it does a thorough job of cleaning deeply with a minimum of moisture and very little drying time is needed. Foam can also be used with a carpet- cleaning machine, although the brushes on these machines are rough on the fibers of the carpet. It’s important to completely remove the foam, as residue may be left behind if the carpet isn’t thoroughly vacuumed after the cleaning.
Dry compounds are absorbent powders or granules that are spread across the carpet and scrubbed into the fibers with a brush or round-brushed machine, then vacuumed up the same way dry foam is. Dry compounds use even less moisture than the foam method, and are often used to help prevent mold and mildew, or when the carpet is in an area with high humidity. Dry compounds only penetrate the top third of your carpet, however, so it’s often used as a supplemental cleaning between wet cleaning treatments.