When cleaning carpet, we often asked how long does steam cleaning take to dry – how much time should be allowed for dying?
This drying time will vary depending on a number of factors. While, under ideal circumstances, it is best to stay off the carpet until it is totally dry but sometimes this is not practical to do so. In this case, staying off the carpet for as long as possible and as much as possible until the carpet is fully dry.
In general, it normally takes two to six hours for the carpet to dry when steam cleaning is done, sometimes longer depending on a number of factors listed below. When dry carpet cleaning is done, some moisture is still used so does take some time to dry but very little in comparison. For more information on this, see our article on steam vs dry carpet cleaning.
The factors below refer to steam carpet cleaning because this is mostly what we do.
The fibres used in the construction of carpet can make a significant difference in how long it takes for the carpet to dry after your carpets have been cleaned.
Woolen carpet absorbs moisture into the fibres. This can be almost as much as half of the caret’s weight in water which is absorbed into the fibres themselves. This moisture is not extracted while the carpet is being cleaned and has to evaporate out of the carpet – adding to the drying time.
Carpet which is a blend of wool and other materials also absorb liquid in this way but for obvious reasons, does not absorb as much and as a result, does not take as long to dry.
Another factor regarding the construction of the carpet which makes a difference in the drying time is the length of the pile. Longer pile traps moisture more and so takes longer to dry.
During warmer weather, carpet dries more quickly. While it is common knowledge that heat aids evaporation, there is another factor at play which makes a difference – especially in Melbourne and that has low humidity – especlially durng the summer months.
In Melbourne, for the most part, the humidity drops low on really hot days which shortens the drying time significantly. When it is raining on the other hand, there is more moisture in the air, slowing the drying time.
How dirty the carpet is before cleaning starts, also plays a role the length of time it takes for the carpet to dry because more moisture may need to be used in cleaning the carpet fully. While this is not always the case, it can play a role in the drying time. While cleaning carpets which are particularly dirty, more agitation may be required as part of the cleaning process which can push the moisture further into the carpet. Also, when applying the moisture before extracting, more water may be required. All this can require more drying time because of the additional moisture.
The biggest factor in how long it takes for the carpet to dry after cleaning is ventilation. When a building is closed up without ventilation after carpet cleaning has been done, it can take a very long time to dry. As the carpet starts to dry, the moisture moves into the air so if there is little ventilation, the air gets saturated with the evaporated water slowing the drying significantly.
Having windows open helps a lot. In addition to having the windows open, anything which moves air into and out of the carpeted areas helps. Having an air conditioner running helps even if it brings the temperature down. A lot of air conditioners have a dehumidifier function which takes moisture out of the air without affecting the temperature much. This works well but set the fan to full to keep the air moving as much as possible.
With everything else being equal, some homes take longer than others to dry. This has come from many years of experience in clean carpets but have only been able to make guesses as to why this is the case. It could be things like how the structure retains heat or it could just be its ventilation. I have noticed that some older homes with floorboards above dirt can take longer, possibly the dirt retains moisture which sits at floor level slowing the drying.
Well from all the information given above, there are a lot of factors but gennerally, we ask people to stay off carpet as much as possible for at least six hours and let people know that in winter, the carpet may take as much as 24 hours to dry. On a really hot summers day, the carpet is almost dry by the time we have our equipmet packed up.