How Long Does It Take a Carpet to Dry After Cleaning?

There are several different ways to clean carpets, whether they are commercial or residential. According to the website de Hygienique, a few of the most popular methods include encapsulation cleaning, hot water extraction (steam) cleaning, bonnet cleaning, carpet shampooing, and dry carpet cleaning. While each of these carpet cleaning methods has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, drying time can play a significant factor in deciding which method you choose to employ.

The approximate drying times for the carpet are:

  1. Dry Carpet Cleaning – No drying time
  2. Bonnet Cleaning – 30 minutes
  3. Encapsulation Cleaning – Less than 1 hour
  4. Carpet Shampooing – 6 to 10 hours
  5. Hot Water Extraction (Steam) Cleaning – 8 to 24 hours

Dry Carpet Cleaning 

Dry carpet cleaning, also known as compound cleaning, is one of the newest techniques to enter the space of carpet cleaning. This method of carpet cleaning injects a dry powder into the bottom part of the carpet. It then uses a motorized brush to remove the powder, leaving a deep, thorough clean behind.

One of the significant advantages of dry carpet cleaning is that it requires no time to dry, as the name would imply. This is due to the use of a dry powder in place of traditional cleaning solutions. Dry carpet cleaning is one of the most efficient carpet cleaning methods, as it takes less time to complete than any other method.

Because there are no wet surfaces to clean, there is no area requiring any drying time. If the deciding factor in your carpet cleaning method is drying time, dry carpet cleaning is the right choice for you.

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Bonnet Cleaning 

Bonnet cleaning is highly effective for cleaning the top layer of a carpet’s surface. It accomplishes this by using a motorized, spinning pad that lifts dirt from the carpet. Bonnet cleaning is most often used in places like hotel rooms or lobbies. This is because of the significantly low amount of time it takes to complete a cleaning.

According to the website, one of the significant advantages of the Bonnet cleaning method is its quick drying time. This method typically takes 30 minutes or less to dry after cleaning thoroughly. With the surprisingly low drying times, a bonnet carpet cleaning method places second on our list of fastest drying times.

Encapsulation Cleaning 

Known as the preferred method of cleaning commercial carpets, encapsulation carpet cleaning uses a polymer-based detergent that encapsulates dirt in the carpet fibers. The dirt is then brought to the carpet’s surface and vacuumed away once the cleaning is complete. 

One significant advantage of the encapsulation cleaning method is the natural deodorization that occurs in your carpets. This is due to the use of a solution of peroxide-based polymer detergent and water. Perhaps known as the best overall option for carpet cleaning, capsulation cleaning has a speedy drying time of approximately one hour. This places encapsulation cleaning third on our list of fastest drying times.

Carpet Shampooing 

Popularized in the 1970s, carpet shampooing it’s still an effective method of cleaning heavily soiled carpet. This method of carpet cleaning is performed by injecting a cleaning solution directly onto the carpet surface. The rinse is done after the initial shampooing.

There are three major disadvantages to carpet shampooing. The first major disadvantage is that it leaves behind a sticky residue. The second major disadvantage is that carpet which has been shampooed becomes soiled again rather quickly. The third major disadvantage to carpet shampooing is the amount of drying time it requires. 

According to Courtesy Carpet Cleaning, shampooed carpets can take anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to dry. Out of the five methods of carpet cleaning I have discussed in this article, carpet shampooing takes the fourth-longest to dry.

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Hot Water Extraction (Steam) Cleaning 

Steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction cleaning, injects a combination of cleaning solution and hot water into the carpet through spray nozzles found on the hose attachment of the machine. The solution of detergent and water is then immediately vacuumed from the carpet.

While many other carpet cleaning methods take anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours to dry, steam cleaning has the disadvantage that it can take 8 to 24 hours to completely dry, per This is due to the massive amount of water required to steam clean and rinse the carpets. 

Because of its unusually high drying time, steam cleaning gets the distinction of being last on our list. In my opinion, this also places hot water extraction cleaning as last on the list of overall efficiency in carpet cleaning.


Of the five most popular carpet cleaning methods, dry carpet cleaning is the only method that has zero drying time. Bonnet cleaning has the second shortest drying time at 30 minutes or less. Encapsulation cleaning places third on our list of most efficient drying times by taking less than an hour to dry. Carpet shampooing is the second least efficient method on this list, taking anywhere from 6 to 10 hours to completely dry. Last on our list is steam cleaning, which has drying times from 8 to 24 hours.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most cost-effective means of cleaning commercial carpets?

If all carpet cleaning methods are available, encapsulation and steam cleaning are the two most cost-effective. Encapsulation carpet cleaning and hot water extraction cleaning are approximately the same prices. Encapsulation cleaning costs between $85 and $350 per cleaning. Hot water extraction cleaning is priced between $100 and $500 for each cleaning. 

Which carpet cleaning technique is recommended for commercial carpets?

Although encapsulation cleaning and steam cleaning are recommended, the encapsulation method is recommended on commercial carpets for regular cleanings. This is due to how surprisingly time-efficient encapsulation cleaning can be, in conjunction with its fast drying time and the low amount of water wasted during the cleaning process. 

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