Dry carpet cleaning, also known as Very Low Moisture (VLM) cleaning, uses a combination of methods to minimize the drying time of washed carpets. Making sure carpets dry quickly not only minimizes the amount of time recently-washed areas of carpet must remain off-limits (to avoid re-soiling) but also minimizes the amount of moisture soaking into wooden or other kinds of flooring and odors. Typically, dry carpet cleaning includes pre-treatment with cleaning compounds spread over the carpet and designed to break down dirt, grease, and other soiling agents. The cleaning compounds are allowed to work into the carpet for some time before being either vacuumed up or picked up with a carpet washing machine. Among the popular methods of dry carpet cleaning today are the Bonnet method (in which a special floor-buffer like machine sprays cleaning solution in mist form and scrubs the carpets in a circular motion) and dry compound (which requires no special machines besides a normal vacuum cleaner).
In steam cleaning a special carpet cleaning machine applies hot water and detergent, “shampooing” and rinsing the carpet, sucking up the excess water. These machines can be easily rented and so the cleaning can be done without having to hire professional cleaners. However, the downside of steam cleaning is that it takes much longer for carpets to dry. Some customers might also be concerned about the use of the chemical cleaning compounds, and thus might choose steam cleaning over dry carpet cleaning. Both use chemicals, however. The advantage of dry carpet cleaning – especially if professionally done – is that most of the residue is sucked up by powerful machines and will leave no odor or moisture. However, steam cleaning when done professionally is also highly effective, and an excellent choice for customers who want or need to have carpets washed with hot water while also reducing drying time.