The type of carpet cleaning you choose also affects the cost. The most popular method, known as steam cleaning, uses hot water extraction. This kind of cleaning doesn't actually use steam but instead uses high pressure to push very hot water, along with a cleaning solution, into carpet. The resulting moisture is then removed via suction, and the carpet needs at least 24 hours to fully dry.
Most carpet manufacturers recommend this method for deep cleaning and often require homeowners to use steam cleaning in order to keep the warranty valid on their flooring. Companies may use either portable electric cleaners or vehicle-mounted equipment for more powerful suction.
Dry cleaning, also known as "low moisture" or "encapsulation" cleaning, uses a chemical solution and minimal water for a quicker clean, but it can't reach as deep as powerful wet cleaning methods.
"Dry cleaning isn't as effective as steam cleaning because nothing reaches deep into the fibers to release dirt," says Dan Ayoub, owner of highly rated Ayoub Carpet Service in Chantilly, Virginia.
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With dry cleaning, homeowners don't need to wait as long before walking on their carpet, though some companies may ask you to vacate the home during cleaning to prevent accidental chemical inhalation.
Dry cleaning typically falls into the lower cost range for carpet cleaning, as it doesn't require as much labor or equipment.