How Long Does It Take Carpet to Dry?

Becca Stokes
Written by Becca Stokes
Updated September 30, 2021
A grandfather sitting on the carpet reading a book to his grandchildren
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You finally got around to having your carpets cleaned, and they look brand-new. But now you’re faced with the toughest step of all: waiting for the carpet to dry. Different factors like the time of year, the temperature in your home, and the cleaning method all play a role in how long it will take for your carpet to dry. Let’s break it down together.

Method of Carpeting Cleaning

There are different ways to clean your carpet. The method you use to get it looking brand new again also affects the drying time. Dry cleaning and steam cleaning are the two most popular methods.

Dry Cleaning

This cleaning method uses dry-cleaning chemicals and a minimal amount of moisture, which drastically reduces drying time. Though water is involved, this method leaves you with 95% to 100% dry carpet at the end of treatment.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning, or wet cleaning, is a popular method, particularly for carpeting in high-traffic areas with lots of dirt and debris. Steam cleaning uses heat vapor and pressure to draw out all of the muck and grime. A professional steam cleaning followed by no drying treatments can take 48 to 72 hours to dry completely.

Shampoo Cleaning

If you get a kick out of lather-rich shampoos, why not treat your rug to the experience? In this case, the “shampoo” consists of deep-cleaning chemicals that are essentially whipped into a froth by a high-friction brush. When the shampoo is applied, the entire mixture is removed with a vacuum. If you select this method, expect the carpet to dry after 6 to 10 hours.

“Bonnet” Cleaning

Bonnets: They aren’t just for babies anymore. In the case of cleaning your carpeting, bonnets are applied to high-powered brushes and used to scrub up spray cleaning chemicals. This is an excellent option for regular, frequent cleaning but doesn’t provide the deep down clean of other options like steam or shampoo. Expect your bonnet-cleaned carpet to be dry after 5 to 10 hours.

Factors Affecting Carpet Drying Time

Two factors affect how long you can expect it to take for your carpet to dry after cleaning. Your cleaning and drying methods play the most critical role, but it’s not alone when it comes to impacting drying time for your carpet. ​​​​​​

Rainy or Humid Weather

The weather plays a major role in how long you can expect your carpets to be off-limits while they dry. If the weather is rainy and humid, expect the drying process to take significantly longer. That said, you can combat the added moisture from the weather outside using different drying methods.

Drying Method

Different professionals rely on different drying methods. While some mean less time and less money, they don’t necessarily mean less drying time. Here are the most common methods used by professionals to help dry carpets.

  • Natural Drying Methods: Some companies will leave clean wet carpets to dry naturally. This means waiting for the moisture inside the carpeting to evaporate. This method takes the longest time, between 24 and 72 hours

  • Drying Fans: Industrial floor fans are a smart choice to reduce drying time in a major way. Just two specially designed floor fans can dry one large carpet per room in as little as 20 minutes. Carpet cleaning professionals use these fans, and you can rent or purchase them as well.

Carpeting Material

The type of carpet you have also factors in when it comes to drying time. Artificial materials like nylon and polyester dry much faster than natural materials like wool. All-wool carpet takes a minimum of 24 hours to dry, whereas polyester carpet can take just 6 to 12 hours.  

Temperature and Air Flow

The environment inside your home is the final piece in the puzzle of how long it’s going to take your carpet to dry. Carpet cleaning professionals recommend setting your thermostat to 70 degrees Fahrenheit to help speed up evaporation.

How to Speed up Drying Times

There are a few things you can do to speed up drying time so you and your family can get back to building block towers or doing yoga on the floor. The key is eliminating humidity. ​​​​​​

  • Open windows: If it’s not humid outside, open the windows to allow fresh air to replace the moist air in the home. 

  • Dehumidifier: Plug in one or two dehumidifiers to help eliminate the moisture faster. Make sure they aren’t running when the windows are open. 

  • Wet vac: If you have a wet vac, you’re having dinner guests that night and the carpet’s still soggy, try running it over the carpet. 

  • Floor fans: Though they don’t work as quickly as industrial floor drying fans, floor fans in your home can help in a pinch.

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