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Carpet Cleaning Essentials – Dry Cleaning vs Steam Cleaning

Making sure that your carpet is squeaky clean and sparkling is the 24/7 ideal for any owner, resident or tenant of a home – that coffee stain doesn’t just live rent-free on your carpet, but also in the safe space of your mind!

While the conjured image of carpet cleaning might assume that it’s a rigorous, thoroughly rough process, the decision to employ a carpet cleaning method needs to take into account factors specific to your circumstances.


The factors share among the particular cleaning methods – being dry and steam cleaning – that most services recommend in this area, and dictate a lot of what would make the most effective approach, based on ease of use, efficiency and extent of cleanliness.


How would these factors apply to your carpet? We’ll break down the process between dry vs steam cleaning here at Drymaster Carpet Cleaning Melbourne, and clarify how you should consider these factors for your own personal carpets.


Dry Cleaning vs Steam Cleaning

As its most holistic explanation, the comparison between dry and steam cleaning works on a see-saw between time-efficiency and thoroughness. Both ends of this axis make this case on the fact that dry and steam cleaning are water-based methods. The difference between the two, in this case, revolve around the fact that dry cleaning implements hot water as an accessory, while steam cleaning is entirely water based.


  • Dry Cleaning:

As the name suggests, the majority of this approach leaves your carpet dry, while removing dirt and stains that are in the deeper fibres of your carpet.

A pre-cleaning vacuum is conducted to lift excess dirt and surface level grit out of the carpet, after which a solvent is applied specific to the dry cleaning process. The solution aims to break down stains and oil in the carpet, the latter of which is normally the glue that attracts dirt and grime to the given material of your carpet. Attaching absorbent pads onto a rotating carpet cleaning machine then comes as the last step, dipped in hot water so as to absorb the broken down dirt left behind by the solution.


  • Steam Cleaning:

By comparison, steam cleaning injects a highly concentrated amount of hot water into the fibres of a carpet to forcibly break down deep dirt and dust, then reabsorbing the used water as thoroughly as the given machine allows, leaving the residual water to dry off following the deep-cleanse.

For issues around oils and stains, though, specialists should use specific sprays and treatments pre-cleaning for these complex compounds to break down, similar to dry cleaning. Without these pre-applications, steam cleaning often won’t be very effective, and only work to rinse surface level grit without getting rid of more resilient substances.


As we can see, the distinctions between the two involve how clean you want your carpet, within the confines of the amount of time you have. Steam cleaning is more thorough and meticulous, but so are the measures and effort to make the process as effective as possible. Dry cleaning is much faster for those wanting a clean carpet that they’re able to walk on directly post-cleaning – but might need a more frequent cleanse in the longer term.


Which Carpet Cleaning Method is Best for You?

The most noticeable byproducts that come out of a steam cleaning session will predominantly be the wetness of the carpet immediately following your carpet cleaning. Working around this, then, might mean taking into account:

  • Ventilation and aeration of your house / living space
  • Seasonality
  • Humidity and amount of moisture in the air
  • Absence or presence of available light


To avoid mould and bacterial growth as much as possible, it would be best to have each of these factors considered.


Dry cleaning, although without any post-cleaning maintenance, doesn’t have the same level of penetrative depth that its opposite has, making the general level of cleanliness lower. A key consideration here, then, would be whether or not the state of your carpets are consistently clean, and whether a dry clean would be cost-effective over a longer period of time.


Convinced on a method for your carpets? We offer both in our services all across Australia, so get in touch with us to get started on a cleaner carpet! 

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