Cleaning Guides

Best Carpet Cleaning Methods Explained: Which One Is Right for You?

There are various carpet cleaning methods, including carpet shampooing, hot water extraction, and dry steam cleaning.

Table of Contents:

All rug cleaning methods have pros and cons, and no “best carpet cleaning method” is suitable for all types of rugs. Let’s consider a few advantages and disadvantages to help you choose the best carpet cleaning method for you.

  • Hot water extraction (steam carpet cleaning) is an excellent choice for those with allergies or sensitivities to detergents and shampoos;
  • Carpet shampooing is effective at removing stubborn stains, but it requires thorough proper extraction;
  • Dry carpet cleaning is preferred for offices and busy homes with large families that cannot wait for carpets to dry;

Hot water extraction carpet cleaning

It is performed by specially trained technicians that use professional equipment to inject hot water in between the fibres of the dirty carpet. This treatment does not need harsh chemicals because the warm water mixed with a gentle cleaning product alone can restore your rug’s original look. This type of carpet maintenance technique is perfect for removing any stubborn stains or spills.


  • Since the machine uses only water to clean, this cleaning solution is suitable for people with asthma or allergies.
  • Hot water extraction is child, pet, and eco-friendly at the same time because it uses hardly any detergents.
  • No product residue is left after the procedure because the water-detergent ratio favours the water part.


  • This type of carpet cleaning can leave your rug overwetted if the technician hired is not trained enough to perform the method.
  • It takes a bit more time for the carpet to get completely dry. We at Fantastic Services can provide our clients with an Air Mover, which is a large fan that speeds up the drying process of your floor, covering up to 3 times.

How hot water extraction works:

  1. A gentle detergent is combined with water and heated in the water compartment of the extractor;
  2. The heated mixture is injected directly into the stained carpet areas under high pressure. This process breaks up the dirt particles, making them much easier to remove afterwards;
  3. While cleaning the carpet’s surface, the professional cleaner applies a special detergent that softens and decreases the stains even more;
  4. In the end, the technician will use the same machine to extract the loosened dirt and grime from the carpet while removing up to 95% of the moisture;

Click here to find rates, ways of booking and more information about how hot water extraction carpet cleaning works.

Suitable for synthetic (microfibre, man-made, polyester) and woollen materials.

Dry carpet cleaning (with powder, foam or solvents)

The dry carpet cleaning method requires a special type of machine that offers a no-moisture or “very low moisture” (VLM) cleaning solution. It’s an efficient method that removes dirt, grit, sand, stains, and allergens from more delicate or natural materials.

Dry carpet cleaning with powder

A powder mixture made from special cleaning agents and solvents is applied all over the carpet. Then with the help of a machine fitted with a counter-rotating brush, the product is gently worked into the fibres of the floor covering. The mixture’s purpose is to soak up all the soil from the rug’s fibres. After the powder has been left to set for around 10 to 15 minutes, it’s removed by a vacuum cleaner.


  • The products that are used for this type of carpet cleaning often contain harsh;
  • The products that are used for this type of carpet cleaning often contain harsh chemicals that leave a strong smell behind;
  • Plush pile carpets tend to trap the powder mixture in between their fibres, which can lead to a product build-up over time;
  • Dry carpet cleaning with powder can cause excessive dust build-up in your home;

How dry carpet cleaning with powder works:

  1. The technician vacuums the carpet to remove any food crumbs or hair;
  2. Then applies the cleaning powder to the carpet;
  3. With the help of a professional machine with lots of tiny brushes, the professional works in the cleaning mixture in between the carpet’s fibres;
  4. Lastly, the rug is vacuumed again with a powerful vacuum cleaner so the powder can be removed along with all the grime, dust, and dirt;
Suitable for natural fibres like sea-grass, jute, sisal, etc.

Dry carpet cleaning with foam

A special cleaning product is distributed evenly across the carpet’s surface and whipped into foam. Right after that, the foam is carefully worked inside the carpet’s fibres with a rotating brush attached to a special machine. This way, all sorts of dirt and debris are suspended from the floor covering. The foam is left sitting there for a short amount of time and removed with a vacuum cleaner. The dry foam contains about 90% air and 10% liquid, which means it’s low in moisture.


  • This cleaning method offers faster drying time, unlike other options.


  • Dry carpet cleaning with foam can’t extract soil below the top surface of the carpet.

How dry carpet cleaning with foam works:

  1. First, the floor covering is brushed and vacuumed thoroughly;
  2. After that, a special preconditioning spray is used to loosen the dirt;
  3. Then the cleaning foam is carefully spread on the carpet and left to harden for about 10 minutes;
  4. Finally, the crystalized foam, along with the dirt, is removed with a vacuum cleaner;
  5. The carpet needs around 1 hour to completely dry;
Suitable for natural fibres likesea-grass, jute, sisal, etc.

Dry carpet cleaning with solvents

This carpet cleaning method is used for more expensive materials. You won’t find special products for dry solvent cleaning in your corners market. The detergents clean well and are gentle enough to not damage the material of the treated area.


  • The drying time of the carpet is less with this method.
  • There is no water involved in dry carpet cleaning with solvents.


  • Dry cleaning is usually more about refreshing
  • It doesn’t do a good job of removing stains

How dry cleaning with solvents works:

  1. First, a vacuum cleaner removes the carpet’s surface of dirt and dust;
  2. Then the rug’s fibres are injected with the solvent;
  3. Finally, all of the dirt is removed, along with the detergent;
Suitable for natural fibres likesilk, velvet, 100% cotton, viscose, etc.

Not sure whether hot water extraction or dry cleaning is the proper cleaning method for your needs? Read our comparison post on steam carpet cleaning vs dry carpet cleaning to learn more.

Shampoo carpet cleaning

This is probably the most popular carpet cleaning solution out there. It only requires carpet shampoo and a brush. The idea is that the cleaning product is applied on the carpet and then worked into its fibres using a regular or motorized brush. This way, all stuck-on dirt and debris are lifted from the fibres and removed afterwards with a vacuum cleaner.


  • It’s a budget-friendly option.
  • It’s really fast and easy to do.


  • The carpets will take longer to dry – from 12 to 24 hours, especially thicker ones.
  • Doesn’t work well with high-pile carpets since it can cause pile distortion.

This carpet cleaning option works on any type of carpet.

Wonder what the differences between hot water extraction and shampooing are? Check our post on steam carpet cleaning vs carpet shampooing to compare the methods.

The classical carpet cleaning method (brush + detergent)

People used to clean their carpets this way before the invention of vacuum cleaning machines. The process involves only a brush, water, and some kind of detergent.


  • Traditional carpet cleaning is easy on the wallet.
  • It’s really easy to do and doesn’t require any special skills, equipment, or industrial chemicals.
  • With this method, you can remove more stubborn or old stains.
  • Perfect for smaller carpets.


  • You can’t use it to clean wall-to-wall carpeting.
  • The drying time is longer, especially if there is no sunshine.
  • Traditional carpet cleaning is time-consuming and tiring.

This carpet cleaning option works on any type of carpet.

Interested in a comparison between professional service and DIY carpet cleaning? Check out our post on DIY carpet cleaning vs. professional carpet cleaning.

Our expert advice is…

The most effective carpet cleaning method nowadays is the hot water extraction one. It’s the only process to eliminate more than 95% of dirt and bacteria in carpets and rugs. Hot water extraction penetrates the lowest layer of the floor covering and removes all the dirt and debris from its fibres, making it the best method for carpet cleaning.

Another major benefit of this type of treatment is its effectiveness against stains. Hot water extraction is not as time-consuming as dry cleaning, and it’s easier on the wallet. Regarding the cleaning frequency, most carpet manufacturers advise deep cleaning your carpets at least once a year. If you decide to go on your own, here is how to clean your carpet at home yourself.

Professional carpet cleaning by Fantastic Services

You can always spare yourself the hassle and elbow grease by hiring a professional to clean your rug for you. We at Fantastic Services offer carpet cleaning solutions for every type of floor covering out there. Whether made from a natural, synthetic, or delicate fabric, we have all the necessary detergents and equipment to make your carpet look as good as new.

In need of carpet cleaning?

Book now to enjoy fast, effective, and long lasting results!

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  • Choosing the wrong cleaning method for your carpet can damage the fibres.
  • Consider hiring a professional carpet cleaner for the best results and reduced risks.
  • Hot water extraction is the most effective cleaning method today.
  • Having your carpet deep cleaned at least once a year is recommended.


Did you find this article useful? Which is your preferred carpet cleaning method? Share with us in the comments!

Images source: Depositphotos: snyfer / luckybusiness / vladislavgajic

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