Dry Cleaning vs. Wet Cleaning vs. DIY: What are the Differences?

wet carpet cleaning

With the spring season fast approaching, it’s probably a good idea to give your house a good cleaning. One way to achieve that is by cleaning your textile floors. Carpets are notorious for accumulating dust, dirt and stains and while they can feel comfortable underfoot, they can quickly turn into a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi if regular cleaning is neglected.

Most people think they only need to clean their carpet when they see very noticeable stains. That couldn’t be further from the truth as carpets require deep cleaning at least twice a year. Plus, your carpet may require additional cleaning if you have a lot of family members or you have pets running around the house. 

With so many different ways to clean a carpet, it can be tricky to figure out which method works best for you. In this article, we’ll be taking a look at three of the most common carpet cleaning methods which are dry cleaning, wet cleaning, and DIY cleaning to see which one is most suitable for your carpeted floors.

Which carpet cleaning method should you use?

There are a couple of different ways you can clean your carpet and each one has their own pros and cons. The two most common types of carpet cleaning are dry cleaning or wet cleaning. Dry carpet cleaning uses very little moisture (VLM) while wet carpet cleaning uses water for hot water extraction and steam cleaning. Let’s take a look at how these methods actually work.

1. Dry cleaning

Dry cleaning technically isn’t dry because it still uses liquid solvents. The only catch is that these solvents contain little to no water. Dry cleaning is commonly referred to as surface cleaning because it removes stains from the surface of the carpet only. This works great for cleaning the high-traffic areas of carpets as the drying times are very fast. And while dry cleaning isn’t the best option for giving your carpet a deep clean, it does work wonders for spot maintenance.

Dry cleaning works by spreading a mixture of a powder that contains solvents and cleaning agents over your carpet. A machine with counter-rotating brushes works the powder into the carpet fibres and is what absorbs the soils and stains. After a few minutes have passed, the powder is vacuumed up along with the stains to leave a spotlessly clean carpet that’s immediately dry.


  • A simple method of cleaning that involves a dry solvent and a machine
  • Dries quickly in as little as 20 minutes
  • Cost-effective and is great for maintenance work


  • If not executed properly, there may be traces of powder left in your carpet
  • The tendency of powder buildup with frequent dry cleaning
  • Cleans only the surface of the carpet and not deep into the fibres

2. Wet Cleaning

As the name suggests, wet cleaning makes use of water and moisture to clean your carpet. The great thing about wet cleaning is that not only does it eliminate surface stains, but it also sanitises your carpet by effectively killing any microorganisms that are harbouring in your floors. Hot water extraction is a popular type of wet cleaning method that injects a combination of hot water and cleaning agents into the carpet. The high temperature along with the cleaning agents help loosen up any stains prior to being sucked up by a powerful vacuum.

Steam cleaning is another type of wet cleaning that uses steam to deodorize and sanitise your carpeted floors. Unlike hot water extraction, steam cleaning does not use any cleaning agents and relies solely on hot, high-pressure steam to do the work. The hot vapour dislodges dirt and other particles so there’s no need for vacuuming.


  • Able to reach down deep into the carpet for cleaning
  • Kills microorganisms like bacteria, mould spores, fungi, and dust mites
  • Perfect for yearly carpet maintenance
  • Most commonly used carpet cleaning method


  • Drying times are very long
  • Access to expensive cleaning equipment is required
  • More expensive compared to dry carpet cleaning

3. DIY carpet cleaning

DIY cleaning is exactly as it sounds. You rent a carpet cleaning machine from a hardware or grocery store and use that to clean your carpet yourself. DIY cleaning is best reserved for instances where you need to treat a spot stain quickly or if you just want to give your carpet a quick refresh. The catch is that you will need to pick out the right machine along with the cleaning agents to make sure you give your carpet a thorough and efficient cleaning.

Some homeowners like the idea of having total control over their carpet cleaning routine and if you’re a DIY enthusiast who’s eager to tackle such tasks, then DIY carpet cleaning may work for you.


  • Cheaper than dry or wet cleaning
  • You have full control over your cleaning routine
  • No need to set an appointment as you can clean your carpet anytime
  • Stain and spot removal products are very affordable


  • Results may vary depending on the machine and the cleaning agents you use
  • Stubborn stains may prove difficult to remove
  • You get to do the work all by yourself

So, which cleaning method works best for you?

To sum it all up, dry cleaning is best for maintaining your carpet floors and wet cleaning is for general carpet cleaning. DIY carpet cleaning is for people who want to take up carpet cleaning on their own. You don’t have to choose one carpet cleaning method exclusively as using all three will help ensure the longevity of your carpet for years to come. As always, it’s worth contacting a reputable carpet cleaning professional to guarantee outstanding results so that your carpeted floors are ready for the spring season.

Author: alex@highjumpdigital.com