So you are thinking of cleaning your carpet by yourself, instead of hiring professional cleaners. Well, as long as you have a good carpet cleaner, and know how to clean your carpet, it should not be a problem.

The only problem which may arise is deciding which the best carpet cleaning solution to use to clean your carpet as there are so many types of carpet cleaning methods to choose from, each having its own individual pros and cons.

They are basically divided into wet carpet cleaning or dry carpet cleaning solutions and you can decide on the best choice for cleaning your carpet only after weighing the pros and cons of each cleaning solution.

Wet carpet cleaning methodsWet carpet cleaning methods

1.1 Using hot and pressurized water

The procedure

Wet cleaning is also known as hot water extraction or steam cleaning, even though steam is not used in the cleaning process. Here the carpet is first pre-conditioned using a chemical reagent which liquefies any soil and oil-based substances in the carpet fibers.

Water is then heated to nearing boiling temperature, pressurized and then finally injected into the carpet. The water is left to rest for about 10-15 minutes after which it is extracted using a vacuum. The hot water helps by escalating the reaction time. But the only precaution to take here is to ensure the carpet is thoroughly dried to avoid saturation.


  • Removes soils embedded deep down in the carpet
  • Gives the cleaning solvent some dwelling time to react and work well
  • More effective at removing strong odors and stains than surface cleaners
  • Uses high temperatures, chemical concentrates and pressures for cleaning carpets
  • Leaves fewer residues behind on carpet when compared to cleaning with shampoos or powders
  • Agitation with an extraction wand or grooming tool helps facilitate some chemical reactivity in the carpet
  • Very widely and commonly used carpet cleaning method recommended by professionals, carpet manufacturers and industry cleaning experts


  • The cleaning process is a rather expensive one
  • Maximum cleaning efficiency is achieved only by using expensive equipment
  • Carpets take a relatively long time to dry. However the drying time can be reduced using powerful equipment with strong suction power

1.2 Cleaning using an absorbent pad


This carpet cleaning solution is also known as bonnet cleaning and is commonly used for routine light maintenance or rather, regular carpet cleaning. It is done by first vacuuming the carpet and then spraying a chemical solution on it using a hand pump or electric sprayer.

The solution is permitted to remain on the carpet for a suitable dwell or reaction time. Then the absorbent pad or bonnet which resembles a towel is placed on a rotary floor machine’s drive brush and spun over the carpet surface at 100 to 300 rpm. (source)

This action not only impregnates the chemical solution into the carpet fibers, but also later picks it up later with the soils. Alternatively, the pads can also be soaked in the cleaning solution before it is placed on the driver brush.


  • This is a fast, cheap and the best carpet cleaning method
  • Gives great results especially on lightly soiled carpets


  • It doesn’t give the carpet a deep cleaning as it only cleans the top third of carpet fibers with virtually no extraction.
  • This leads to an accumulation of dirt and chemicals at the bottom of the carpet
  • There is a chance of this carpet cleaning causing some fiber fraying and damage.

Dry carpet cleaning methodsDry carpet cleaning methods

1.1 Using an absorbent compound

You first have to make a mixture of a powder, special solvents and cleaning agents and then sprinkle it over the carpet. Then use a machine with counter-rotating brushes to work the mixture into the carpet fibers.

The powder thus absorbs whatever soil is in the carpet fibers which is vacuumed up after it is left to set on the carpet for 10 – 15 minutes. This carpet cleaning methods cleans the carpet with practically no water.


  • Very simple carpet cleaning method which can be done by anyone, without any special technical training
  • Carpets dry quickly as no water is used in the cleaning process. The carpet can in fact be used within 20 minutes of its cleaning.


  • Can lead to a buildup of dust in the house
  • It does not help in deep cleaning the carpet
  • There is a chance of the powder getting trapped and accumulating in the carpet with time

1.2 Using dry foam or rotary shampoo


With this cleaning method, a cleaning agent is whipped into a foam using the rotating brushes of a special machine. This foam is then worked into the carpet fibers to suspend whatever dirt and debris there is in the carpet, and is then extracted using a vacuum after a short dwell time.


  • This is a cheap, fast and simple to use carpet cleaning method
  • The machine’s rotating brushes provide excellent agitation
  • As a small amount of moisture is used to clean the carpet, the carpet dries rather quickly


  • Does not use high temperatures
  • There is a chance of too much of wetting if equipment malfunctions
  • Does not extract soil below the carpet surface

So now you know the different types of carpet cleaning methods popularly used. You have to make your choice taking a look at its pros and cons, and of course, the material of your rug. You also have to decide based on the amount of time you have for washing and drying the carpet before you use it and your budget.

Once you figure all this out, and compare the pros and cons of the cleaning methods, you will be able to clean your carpet as and when required and prolong its life and longevity!

Pros and Cons of Different Carpet Cleaning Solutions
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