When most people think about using carpet shampoo they envision a steam cleaner or carpet shampoo machine with liquid soapy carpet shampoo being lathered into the carpet and then sucked away by the machine. Then you need to leave the carpet alone for several hours to let it dry. While this is the most common way that people shampoo their carpets, there is an alternative. You can use dry carpet shampoos instead. There are two varieties of dry carpet shampoos including dry powders and dry foams.
Dry carpet powders work on the principle of magnetism. You sprinkle the powder over a large area. You can but you do not have to work the powder into the carpet with a medium bristled brush and then you wait ten to twenty minutes. That waiting period gives the dirt particles in your carpet time to migrate toward the magnetic powder. The final step is to vacuum away the powder along with all the dirt it attracted.
One advantage of this type of carpet shampoo is that you can clean large areas of carpet very quickly. Running a carpet shampooer over the carpet several times and waiting for the wet carpet to dry can take up to twenty four hours. You can finish fifty square feet of carpet with dry carpet shampoo in thirty minutes. Another advantage is that you never introduce water into your carpet or carpet pad. Anytime you let fabrics and fibers like these get wet, you run the risk of growing mold, mildew, or other bacteria. If you never get the carpet wet then this is less of a concern.
One disadvantage is that the dry powders do not always work as well as the liquid carpet shampoos. Powder cleaners are meant mostly to attract and remove loose dirt particle. You need the foam and scrubbing action of a liquid carpet shampooer to work on stains and dirt that is compacted into the carpet fibers. Another disadvantage is that this kind of shampoo is more expensive when you compare how many square feet are cleaned per ounce of shampoo. You are paying for the convenience with dry carpet cleaners so they come at a premium.
Dry foam carpet shampoos work on the principle of encapsulation. They are similar to the dry powders in that you spray them over a large area of carpet and then wait for ten to twenty minutes. The last step is still to vacuum up the shampoo and the dirt that it has attracted. The difference is in how they attract the dirt. The foam particles grab the dirt and then surround the particles or encapsulate them. As the foam dries into a crystalline powder the dirt is trapped in the middle of the crystal lattice structure.
The advantages and disadvantages of foams are similar to the ones for powders. Overall, the foam might work a little better, but still not as well as liquid carpet shampoos.