The Case For Steam Carpet Cleaning v Dry Carpet Cleaning

If you’ve been scouring the internet for a carpet cleaner to clean your dirty carpets, you’ve probably come across the terms Steam Cleaning and Dry Cleaning, and perhaps you’re wondering what is the difference between the two, and which one you should choose. Some carpet cleaning businesses will perform both services, however, some will have their own particular specialisation that will advertise their as the best solution.

This article will give you a quick run down of what’s involved with the two different methods of carpet cleaning, and hopefully will allow you to make your own decision of which is the best option for your particular circumstances.

So, first to …

Steam Cleaning

Both services begin with vacuuming the carpet area to get rid of the top layer of dirt from the carpets, but from then on, they begin to differ.

Steam Cleaning uses a process that is called ‘hot water extraction’. During this process, a stream of hot water, kept under pressure, is injected into the carpet’s fibres. This water mixes with the dirt, dust, grit and all the other contaminants, is then vacuumed up with a vacuum cleaner, bringing the contaminants with it.

There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to this method. An advantage is that the cleaning you get from steam cleaning is deeper, as the hot water extraction method really gets into the lower layers of the carpet fibres to where the dust mites, bacteria, allergens and really deeply ground dirt hide. These are the types of things that could really affect people’s health, so to be able to remove them is a very large advantage.

An important disadvantage is quite clearly spelled out in the name of the process – hot water extraction. Because the process uses water, the carpet will be wet after the process finishes, and may take a while to dry. Also, if you have an inexperienced operator that is new to the process, or has an off day, they can do some damage to the carpet by making it far too wet.

Dry Cleaning

This process applies dry cleaning solvents to the carpet. Despite the name, a little water is also mixed with the solvents, but far less water is used than with Steam Cleaning. This mixture gets to work breaking down all the dirt and oily residue and every other contaminant you want to be removed from the carpet. Then, a little while later, the operator simply vacuums up what remains, leaving clean carpets in their wake.

In this case, an important advantage is listed out in the name of the service; when the process is complete, the carpet, while not perfectly dry, will be far dryer than carpet’s clean with the Steam Cleaning process, and will dry out far quicker. This means that carpets in high trafficked areas can be used again very quickly following a dry clean. A second advantage is that these solutions are very good at treating and removing more types of stains, particularly oily stains.

However, the major disadvantage is that Dry Cleaning does not produce as deep a clean as Steam Cleaning. Stubborn stains may remain, and those dust mites, bacteria, allergens and other things that hide away at the bottom of the carpet pile may not be affected.


This article wasn’t about telling you which solution to choose, but to give you a little bit of information so that you can make your own choice. Your particular situation will have to factor into what carpet cleaning solution you choose, so call a local carpet cleaning specialist. They can look at your carpets and your situation and give you a hand.

Carpets that are in high-traffic zones may be better off with the Dry Cleaning method, but for deep cleaning the Steam Cleaning is the better option. However, there is nothing to stop you going with the Dry Cleaning method for your interim cleans, and then every once an a while, performing a Steam Clean to get a real deep down clean.

But once again, we would ask you to call a carpet cleaning Cairns specialist to advise you.