Are Dry Carpet Cleaning Products Effective?

In a word, yes. I switched from wet extraction systems to dry carpet cleaning for the convenience and was a little worried about what kind of results I would get. My unease was in vain!

Wet extraction system cleaning means that I cannot go into a room for hours without getting my feet wet or messing up my carpeting. The equipment to do it is heavy and takes a long, difficult time to use. Having beautiful carpets made the effort worth it to me but to be honest, this was the chore I dreaded the most.

So I looked for other ways.

Dry carpet cleaning is faster and way less intense. It requires specialized machines and newly developed chemicals. Some methods include very low moisture while some take none at all.

The basic procedure is scrubbing powder into the carpet then vacuuming it up. The products work better than the wet alternative ever did and the best part is, I get the results right away. I also get access to the room.

If you need a second opinion you can ask the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC). They are a non profit agency that certifies companies involved in the cleaning industry. They put their stamp of approval on three different types:

  • Bonnet – rotating scrub
  • Dry Compound – powder
  • Encapsulation – a crystallization formula


The bonnet is the first method I tried. It is a round scrubber that resembles a floor buffer. You mix club soda with the cleaning product before you spray it in the carpets.

This worked well on most of my carpeting, but it left it wet for a bit. For most people it would still be an improvement but I have a couple stains on the padding beneath. When they get wet, the stains get agitated and the stains come up through the carpet.

Dry Compound

This trial went really well for me. I sprinkled the Arm and Hammer variety onto my carpet and used a brush to scrub it in. Using your hands is not advised because then you are only affecting the top third of the carpet.

You only need to leave the chemicals on for thirty minutes before you vacuum. No wet period.


Specialists say this method is the best and I agree. The expense is great value and the lack of wet residue is exactly what I am looking for. My carpets looked better than when they were first installed in the house.

Encapsulation technology uses dissolving polymers to absorb dirt and grime before you vacuum. I applied them with a compression sprayer but you can use a rotary machine or even a brush applicator.

All three methods involve leaving the product on for thirty minutes but if you can, I suggest leaving them overnight. Your carpets will look brand new.

Dry carpet systems do not merely clean your carpet, they revitalize them. I can go longer between cleanings without getting that mangy look. They suck up odors, sand, and allergens so my carpets are more than fresh, they are healthy.

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