How to Dry Carpet After Cleaning

Reading Time: 5 minutes

It’s never fun adding more chores to your spring cleaning list, but unfortunately, caring for your carpet doesn’t stop at just scrubbing and rinsing it. So, this can leave you wondering: how to dry carpet after cleaning?

For the most part, you can hang the wet carpet outdoors and let the sun do its magic. However, you can still do it indoors with the help of windows, fans, dehumidifiers, and shop vacuums. How can you choose the best method for your freshly cleaned carpet, and how can you do it properly? Let’s find out!

Why Bother Drying a Cleaned Carpet?

If you’ve just cleaned your carpet at home, it could be tempting to leave it where it is and let it drain the water at its own pace. After all, it should eventually dry out. Well, that could be risky. The carpet has just been cleaned, but damping the fibers can encourage mold and bacterial growth.

Not only would that counteract the cleaning process itself, but it can also lead to health issues like allergies and dermatitis. Plus, you wouldn’t want to deal with the musty odor that could linger around for weeks!

7 Ways to Dry a Carpet After Cleaning

One of the simplest and quickest ways to dry your carpet after cleaning it is to expose it to a steady stream of air. So, many of the standard methods on this list will revolve around boosting air circulation. However, the differences will be in speed, technique, and required equipment.

Let’s look at the top ways to dry a wet carpet.

Hang/Lay the Carpet Out in the Sun

If you hang your carpet outside, it could take around 6-12 hours to dry. On the plus side, you’ll get a sun disinfection boost! Just make sure you’re using a sturdy rope that can handle the weight of a wet carpet without collapsing.

Some people might want to avoid hanging the carpet because it could bend or stretch the base layers. So, if that’s a concern for you, you can just spread it on a clean area on the ground and let it dry out.

Either way, you’ll have to check on the carpet often and avoid leaving it outside for too long. Otherwise, the colors could fade from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet rays!

Increase Indoor Ventilation With Open Windows

While drying the carpet in the sun is fast, it’s not always convenient. After all, not everyone has enough outdoor space to hang or spread a large rug. In that case, you can leave it indoors and try to let in as much air and sunlight from the windows as possible.

Just pick the spot in your house with the most natural light, open the windows, and lay out the carpet to dry. You might want to turn it to the other side midway, though. That’s because this method won’t work on wet days when the air carries a lot of moisture. It could also be better to pick days for the cleaning and drying chores when it’s nice and sunny outside.

Place Your Household Fans Strategically

Sometimes opening the windows to boost air circulation doesn’t cut it. On humid days, it might not even be a suitable option. So, you can try drying the carpet indoors with fans instead. Yet, this method will take relatively longer than outdoor drying. So, you’ll want to use a powerful fan and set it to the highest setting to get as much air moving as possible.

To achieve the best results, we recommend using a ceiling fan. Because it faces your carpet directly from above, it can cover a larger surface area. Additionally, you can set up a couple of standing or box fans around the carpet to speed up the process. Just try to shift the fans’ positions now and then to target more areas.

Grab a Dehumidifier and Crank up the Heat

Try to leave a dehumidifier running in the room where you’re drying the wet carpet to reduce the moisture in the air and allow even more water to evaporate from the fibers. It might not do the job independently, but you can use it with the fans on particularly humid days.

The combined effect of heat, air circulation, and low humidity in a closed room will help speed things up.

However, if you use a portable space heater, it’s important to note that there should be a minimum of 3 feet between it and the carpet (or other flammable objects, for that matter). Plus, you’ll have to turn it off when you sleep or leave the room since it could be a fire hazard!

So, it could be safer to rely on your home’s heating system instead. If the rug is small, you can manually tackle the job with a blow dryer.

Consider Drying With Air-Conditioning

Drying something using air conditioning sounds counterintuitive and shouldn’t be your go-to method. That said, it could be a valid option if it rains right after you clean the carpet and you don’t have solid fans or dehumidifiers.

You might already know that the cold air from the air conditioner has low humidity levels. So when the carpet fibers are exposed to the flow of cool air, the dampness should decrease.
However, you should keep in mind that it can be tricky to tell when the carpet is done drying since it’ll just feel cold to the touch the entire time! So, you might want to leave it in the air-conditioned room for an extended period, just in case it’s still wet.

The room might get stuffy, and you’ll need to air it out later.

Try Using a Shop Vacuum, Towels, and Baking Powder

A shop vacuum (wet/dry model) can suck up the water from your carpet. You can also use it to dry a flood-damaged rug if you don’t want to hire a professional. Remember that a regular vacuum won’t cut it and might even get ruined. If you don’t have a shop vacuum, you can always rent one from local carpet cleaners or a hardware shop.

All in all, the process is relatively simple, but here are some tips and tricks to help you out:

  • Wear clean footwear since you’ll have to walk on the carpet during the process.
  • Use the flat attachment to cover a larger surface area with one swipe.
  • Make sure to work in sections and suck out as much water as possible from each area.
  • Allow a section to dry completely before moving on to the other still-wet areas.

Once your shop vac has absorbed most water, you can cover your carpet with dry towels. Then you can walk over them to soak up any remaining moisture. You can repeat this step a couple of times if needed.

Some people even go for one round of vacuuming, then sprinkle a generous amount of baking powder. After letting it sit for an hour or so, they go over the carpet with a second vacuuming session to remove the baking powder residue from the fibers.

Since baking powder is hygroscopic, it can help reduce the moisture in the carpet while freshening up the odor simultaneously!

Leave It to the Professionals

While drying the carpet yourself at home can help you save some money, it can be challenging and time-consuming. Sometimes, cleaning and drying your carpet at home will be too much for you to handle, and that’s okay.

After all, a professional service could tackle the chore with heavy machinery like flash extractors, spin dryers, and industrial-strength dehumidifiers. All these can do a much better job than a household ceiling fan and a room dehumidifier.

So, here are a few everyday situations that could call for professional help:

  • Your carpet is still wet after 72 hours of drying (it usually takes up to 3 days to dry after cleaning).
  • You cleaned a large carpet covering a whole room or the entire house.
  • You live somewhere with high humidity and a higher risk of mold and mildew.
  • You don’t have adequate space, time, or sunlight to dry the carpet.
  • You’ve just cleaned a precious carpet and don’t want to risk the colors fading from sun exposure.

The Takeaway

Drying a carpet after rinsing can be tricky since you want to do it as soon as possible to avoid mold and bacterial growth. Yet, planning can help you cut the hassle out of the equation.

For instance, you can time the cleaning chore on a sunny day to let the sunlight dry the carpet. If that’s not possible, shift to boosting the air circulation indoors with open windows and fans. You can reduce the humidity inside with air conditioners or dehumidifiers, too.

If all else fails, you might want to get it dried out professionally to avoid molding and musty odors.

About Emily Leake

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