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The most asked question in our industry – which is better? Steam Cleaning vs. Dry Cleaning.

There is a lot of misconceptions out there on this topic. Dry cleaning franchises are going to tell their customers that steam cleaning is damaging to your carpet and have long dry times. Steam cleaning companies are going to tell you dry cleaning is an insufficient clean. It is not surprising there is confusion, as each are pushing misinformation about the others process. Being a company that embraces both methods, here are the unbiased facts on each process and their pros and cons. You can then make an informed decision which will suit your needs most.


Dry cleaning is a method that uses very little moisture. There are 3 different types of the dry-cleaning methods although I will be writing about encapsulation cleaning. Encapsulation is the most advanced dry-cleaning technology available on the market today and most knowledgeable operators and big franchises will be using this technique. To understand why encapsulation cleaning is effective, you must understand the technology. Encapsulation is a cleaning compound which encapsulates and surrounds dirt particles and crystalizes them. They are then released from the fibre and vacuumed away. Once the solution is applied to the carpet, a bonnet is placed under the rotary scrubber which agitates the solution through the carpet fibres and simultaneously lifts soil and debris.

Using a rotary scrubber gives an advantage in the cleaning process compared to a regular wand as it applies agitation to the carpet and re-sets the pile. Regular wands do not have this advantage as there is no rotation happening. Although you can always pre agitate for heavily soiled carpets before steam cleaning.

This method is exceptionally great for commercial settings. Commercial settings usually have what we call CGD (commercial glue down) carpet tiles. These are synthetic carpet tiles glued straight down onto concrete. As you can image, injecting water into these thin carpet tiles is not a great solution as it can break down the glue. Using a low moisture system is not only better for this type of installation but also has extremely quick dry times. Most commercial settings have high foot traffic areas and seldom times where you have an empty office for 6-8 hours to be able to get the regular steam cleaning method done.

Encapsulation cleaning is a great method for high rises. Apartments, offices, buildings etc are an ideal option for encapsulation cleaning due to the access dry cleaning can give us.

Benefits of dry cleaning:

  • Effective agitation

  • Low water usage

  • Quick dry times

Disadvantages of dry cleaning:

  • Not as effective on deep-down soils and debris

  • Cannot extract urine or faeces

  • The rotary can damage delicate fibres and cause a “fuzzing” effect


Steam cleaning is the most popular method on the market today due to its extraction capabilities. Steam cleaning is where you inject hot water into the carpet and extract out all the dirt and debris from the fibres. This process includes pre-spraying solution and sanitising agents down to loosen the dirt and debris before you introduce the steam cleaning process. This is a great method for a deep clean and a must if you have urine or faeces present in the carpet. To get the upmost results from this method, we offer a 2-step cleaning process. This includes using a CRB (counter rotating brush) to massage the pre spray into the fibre and help remove stubborn marks, followed by the extraction steam cleaning method. A disadvantage steam cleaning has in comparison to dry cleaning is the dry times. Steam cleaning typically takes 6-8 hours with adequate ventilation. This process can be sped up if you have the option of putting heaters on or have alternative assisted drying options.

Benefits of steam cleaning:

  • Extract’s dirt and debris from deep-down in the carpet face

  • Leaves no residues behind

  • The most thorough and comprehensive process available

  • More effective at removing allergens, dust mites and killing bacteria in comparison to other methods

Disadvantages of steam cleaning:

  • Longer dry times

  • You will have to keep off the carpet until it is dry

Risk of the carpet being damaged due to being over wet; please note this is due to operator error and not the method itself


I hope this clears up any confusion on the two processes. I believe each method has their place where they excel, therefore we embrace each method and use it accordingly.

Everyone has different needs, expectations, and preferences. We always take this onboard and offer you a custom solution that will suit you best. If you have any further questions on what method is right for you, feel free to reach out and ask questions. We are here to help!

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