How To Dry Carpet After Cleaning
Cleaning your carpets regularly is important both for the health and longevity of the carpet itself and of those living in your home. Carpeted floors can harbor dirt and odor. This is why it is important to know how to dry carpet after cleaning.
Carpets that have been cleaned but not properly dried can re-trap the dirt and mildew you just worked to remove, as well as grow bacteria and mold in their fibers. That’s why learning how to dry your carpet after cleaning is especially important to maintaining your carpets, your home, and even your family’s health.
If you’re wondering how to dry your carpet after cleaning, you should know first that the answer to your question depends on a number of factors including the type of carpet you’re cleaning, the cleaning method you’ve used, the size of the carpet and the internal climate of your home.
How to Dry Your Carpet after Cleaning
That being said, there are a few tips on how to dry your carpet after cleaning that will prove effective, regardless of any of those other pesky variables.
Step 1: Consider the method you used to clean your carpets.
The biggest factor affecting how to dry carpets after cleaning is the method with which they were cleaned. Most carpets will dry on their own with no extra work on your part, but the time it takes them to dry is highly affected by the cleaning method.
Dry cleaned carpets typically take between 2 and 4 hours to completely dry, whereas steam cleaned carpets or carpets cleaned using the hot water extraction method can take anywhere from 6 to 12 hours to air dry.
Carpets cleaned using the hot water extraction method takes longer to dry because these techniques use more water. In the hot water extraction method, hot water is pressurized and sprayed into the carpet fibers, saturating them with water in order to draw out deep dirt, debris, and spores. When the bulk of that water is vacuumed out of the carpet, any soil is taken with it. This method, however, leaves behind a significant amount of water compared to the dry cleaning method like Oxi-Fresh and Eco-Green.
Step 2: Encourage air circulation
The fastest and easiest way to dry your carpet after cleaning is to introduce more air to the carpet. Simple solutions such as opening a nearby window and turning on a fan in the room with the freshly-cleaned carpet can cut the drying time of wet carpets in half.
Because moisture and humidity tend to get trapped indoors, any outside air that can be brought into contact with the wet carpet is likely less moist than the air inside the house, barring any rain or snow events. This less-damp outside air encourages water from the carpet to evaporate quicker.
Open two windows on opposite ends of your home to encourage maximum airflow throughout the building.
Step 3: Dehumidify the air
Carpets can only dry when the water soaked into its fibers can evaporate into the air. In order for evaporation to occur, the air around the carpet must be drier than the carpet itself. Turning up HVAC systems, which naturally strip moisture from the air inside your home can dramatically reduce the drying time of wet carpet if the weather outside is uncooperative or if the carpeted room has no windows or doors to the outside. If possible, leave HVAC systems on overnight to ensure that the interior air is as dry as possible. This will wick water away from the carpet until it dries completely.
Step 4: Use a Shop Vac
Shop vacs are designed to suck up excess water, just as vacuums are designed to suck up dirt and debris. If you already have access to a shop vac or have chosen to rent one from a carpet cleaning company, simply use the shop vac as you would a vacuum over the newly-cleaned carpet. You can run the shop vac over the wet carpet multiple times to remove as much water as you can before allowing the remainder of the water to evaporate over time.
Step 5: Clean your carpets more frequently
As interesting as it may be, cleaning your carpets on a more frequent basis can actually help reduce the overall drying time of your wet carpets. Over time, frequent carpet cleanings result in less overall dirt and debris trapped in your carpet. The less dirt and debris there is to remove with each cleaning, the less water must be used every time you clean your carpets. Therefore, the less dirty the carpet, the less water it needs and the faster it dries.
Step 6: Ask for a professional’s help
If you’re having your carpets professionally cleaned, ask your cleaner for a “blow-dry.” Carpet cleaners can use blowers or vans to help remove water from your freshly-cleaned carpet. For most professional cleaners, the blow-drying process is fairly quick, so it is likely that your carpet won’t be completely dry when they’re done. After your professional blow-dry, it’s still a good idea to open a few windows, turn up the HVAC system, or go over the carpet yourself with a shop vac.
There really is no one “best way” to dry your newly-cleaned carpet. Wet carpets will dry on their own in time, depending on the method used to clean them, the humidity of the surrounding air, and the specifications of the carpet itself. But the speed at which your carpet dries can be sped up by reducing the atmospheric humidity of your home, introducing more air circulation, using shop vac tools or seeking the help of professional carpet cleaners. If you follow any one of the above tips, you’ll be able to use your clean carpet in a matter of hours.
Remember, you can be proactive in cutting down the drying time of your carpets by cleaning them or having them cleaned more frequently. The more dirt that seeps into the fibers of the fabric, the more water must be used on them to extract it.