How Long Does It Take Carpet to Dry After Cleaning

By
Jeneva Aaron
Jeneva has over years of passion for home decorating and cleaning. She is the founder and CEO of thehousewire.com where she provides honest and objective reviews on home and cleaning products.
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Updated December 26, 2021

Don’t cry! Your carpet won’t take long to dry!

How Long Does It Take Carpet to Dry After Cleaning

Did professionals use hot water extraction to clean your carpets? Did you shampoo them yourself?

If you have newly clean carpets, you have to wait before you can walk on them. Even if you use water heated to an extreme temperature, the fibers still take a while to dry.

While there are many ways to clean carpets, most carpets will take 6 to 12 hours to dry. Also, cold air and humidity affect the drying time.

But don’t worry! This guide will help you figure out how long to wait and give you some tips to speed up the process.

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

It depends on which method the professional carpet cleaners used. In general, the carpet drying time is between 2 and 12 hours.

Hot Water Extraction (“Steam Cleaning”)

Steam Carpet Cleaning Process
This type of carpet cleaning takes between 6 and 12 hours to dry. Unfortunately, this drying process is very long because it uses water.

Many people call this method “steam cleaning,” but that’s an incorrect name. While it doesn’t use steam, it does use hot water.

To clean this way, professionals use a high-pressure machine to inject water and cleaning products into the carpet fibers. At the same time, the appliance vacuums the wet carpet to suck up the remains of the liquid and dirt.

The combination of the hot water and cleaning agents loosens the dirt so that the vacuum can remove it from the carpet. However, because there’s a lot of liquid used, this method takes longer to dry than other ones.

Bonnet Cleaning

Carpet Chemical Cleaning with Professionally Disk Machine
This dry cleaning system only takes about 2 hours to dry because it uses so little water.

Instead, a professional carpet cleaner will add a chemical agent to the fibers and use a spinning bonnet to work the chemical into the carpet and encapsulate the dirt.

The bonnet will also absorb some of the dirt, but the professional may vacuum the carpet to fully remove the chemical.

Additionally, some professionals say that this method only cleans the surface of the carpet, rather than deep cleaning all of the fibers. Hence the fast drying time.

Shampooing Cleaning

Wash the carpet
This method falls in between the other two, with a drying process that takes about 4 hours.

When you get your carpets professionally cleaned with this method, the cleaner will follow the same process as bonnet cleaning. However, instead of a bonnet, they’ll use a brush.

In this style of cleaning, you also need to use more liquid chemicals, so it will take longer to have a dry carpet.

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

Generally, it takes a shorter amount of time to dry your carpet after cleaning this way: only 2 to 4 hours. However, it depends on which cleaning method you use.

Steam Cleaning

steam cleaner on the carpet
To get steam cleaned carpets at home, you can use an appliance like this McCulloch steamer.

Steam cleaning doesn’t use a lot of water to produce vapor, but it does use some. Therefore, you may have a damp carpet afterward.

If that’s the case, don’t worry! With this cleaning method, your carpet dries in approximately 1 to 3 hours.

Carpet Shampooer

Washing of Carpet with Vacuum Cleaner
For this type of cleaning, you can use an appliance such as this Bissell to shampoo your rugs, carpets, and upholstery.

To have a dry carpet, you’ll need to wait about 2 to 4 hours after shampooing.

Other Factors Impacting Carpet Drying Times

Whether you hire a carpet cleaning company or DIY, other factors affect the drying time.

1. The Weather

The weather is one of the biggest considerations when it comes to getting a dry carpet.

In the summer, you can open your windows, which will allow for more air circulation. This, in turn, makes the carpet dry faster.

If it’s rainy, humid, or cold, however, you can’t open your windows. In addition, the excess water in the carpet won’t evaporate as quickly under those conditions.

So if you want to dry your wet carpets easily, don’t clean them on cold, rainy days. Instead, try to clean them on warm, sunny ones.

2. The Ventilation

Good airflow will make a carpet dry faster. So if you can open some windows for fresh air or turn on a ceiling fan, the moving air will help the moisture evaporate and dry your carpet.

3. Carpet Size & Thickness

A large carpet will take a lot longer to clean than a smaller one because there’s just more moisture to evaporate. In addition, a thick carpet will be able to hold more moisture, so it will also take longer to dry.

Thick swaths of carpeting can be comfortable to walk on, but they will take a while to dry out completely. On the other hand, a small, thin rug will dry a lot faster.

4. Carpet Materials

Carpets can be made of lots of different materials, including both natural and synthetic fibers.

Synthetic fibers, such as nylon or polypropylene, will dry relatively quickly. Carpets made of natural fibers, like cotton or wool, however, will take longer to dry.

FAQ

If you still have questions about drying your carpet after cleaning, keep reading!

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How Can I Make My Carpet Dry Faster After Cleaning?

Several drying methods can speed up the process after you’ve had your carpets cleaned. For example, you can use fans, air conditioning, or a dehumidifier.

And if your carpet is just slightly damp, you can even dry it with a hairdryer.

In general, anything that moves air will be helpful. So, ceiling fans or floor fans can help dry the carpet.

However, they won’t remove moisture. For that, you should use a dehumidifier or air conditioning, as these do remove moisture.

Also, take into account the humidity outside.

If it’s a low-humidity day, you can open the windows to help dry the carpet. But if it’s humid outside, keep your windows shut.

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How Long Should You Stay Off Carpet After Cleaning?

As a rule, don’t walk on wet carpet. If it’s just damp carpet, you can walk carefully wearing clean shoes or booties.

However, it’s a good idea to wait a full 24 hours for the carpet to dry completely before walking on it.

As well, you shouldn’t touch damp carpet.

Since a carpet cleaning technician uses lots of chemicals in carpet cleaning, you don’t want those to come into contact with your skin. You could even have an allergic reaction to the cleaning chemicals.

So don’t walk on damp carpet with bare feet.

And if you clean your carpets yourself, make sure to follow all the instructions on the chemical bottle and machine carefully.

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