How Long Does It Take For Carpet To Dry After Shampooing?

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

If you’re like the average renter in my area, your landlord has a lease that stipulates that you need to have your carpets shampooed at least once a year. And let me tell you, shampooing your carpet is not exactly the easiest thing to plan out. This is doubly true when you realize you can’t actually step on the carpet until it dries. But…how long does that even take?

It can take up to 24 hours for a carpet to dry after shampooing depending on its material. For most carpets, the material will be dry in 6 to 8 hours. Short carpet fibers and a dry environment favor quicker drying times. Using a fan, opening windows, and turning up the heat can speed up the process.

It’s true. Doing a full carpet clean means that you have to take time out of your week to make sure that your carpets have the proper treatment and drying time. It can be a handful. So, what should you expect? Let’s discuss this a little further, shall we?

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How Long Does It Take For Carpet To Dry After Shampooing?

When you’re worried about scheduling your carpet care, there’s some good news and some bad news on the horizon. The good news is that one thorough shampooing is more than enough to handle typical messes.

The bad news is that it’ll take a while to actually get the carpet to dry—around six to eight hours, in most situations. Regardless, you should avoid any heavy foot traffic on your carpet for at least six hours after shampooing. Make sure you keep pets and children off of the carpet during this time. At the very worst, you may need a full day of drying!

When it comes to your furniture, you should wait at least 24 hours before you place it back on the carpet. However, most professional cleaning services will put waterproof protectors on furniture legs to protect the carpet during drying time. You should leave these protectors in place for 24 hours before removing them.

How Often Should You Shampoo Your Carpet?

There’s some good news on this horizon. In most cases, you can see great results with a shampooing at least once a year. High traffic areas do well with cleaning sessions every three to four months. If you have a regular cleaning schedule, you are already ahead of the game.

Obviously, there are also some exceptions when it comes to shampooing. For example, if you recently had a major spill, calling in professional cleaners may be the only way to ensure that you don’t end up with a permanent stain on your favorite carpets.

What Factors Determine How Long It Takes For Your Carpet To Dry?

Carpets are exactly like any other type of fabric, in the sense that they can have a wide range of different factors play into drying time. The most notable factors include:

  • Temperature and Humidity. This applies to both the inside and outside of your home.Hot, dry areas will see faster drying times than cold, damp ones will. Since carpets dry by moisture being evaporated into the air, the drier the air is, the faster the carpet will dry. You can often combat humid air by raising your heat or turning on a dehumidifier.
  • Fabric Material. Some fibers are meant to be quick drying, while others aren’t, and some materials absorb liquid easier than others. Natural materials generally cannot be exposed to hot water extraction, whereas, synthetics can and will release the moisture in the fibers much faster.
  • Carpet Length. If you’ve got short carpet fibers, you’re in luck. You should see a shorter drying time. Longer carpets like shag rugs, on the other hand, may need more time than average. This has to due with the fact that moisture stays trapped within longer fibers much longer than the short variety.
  • Washing Method.Deep shampooing will take longer times to dry than methods that involve simple steaming. Whereas, a simple dry cleaning will have a fast drying time but isn’t as effective at sanitizing your carpeting.
  • Drying Method. Using a fan, opening your windows, or getting your carpet blow dried can help decrease drying time immensely.

Can You Walk Across Your Carpet When It’s Not Dry?

When you’re working on trying to get your carpets cleaner, you probably would be under the impression that the shampooing session is what will make your carpets spotless. The truth is that the shampooing session is only part of the equation. In order for your cleaning session to turn out well, you need to stay off the carpet while it’s drying.

If you walk on your carpet while it’s still wet, there’s a good chance that you may track new dirt that will be more difficult to remove. It can also cause mild damage to more sensitive fibers. If you need to walk across your carpet while it’s still in drying mode, then remove your shoes and walk across using clean white socks.

How To Dry Your Carpets Faster

It’s important to note that there’s no cleaning or shampooing process that makes carpet fibers dry faster. Any company that is advertising it is probably just doing so as a marketing gig.

However, there are some things that you can do to help your carpets dry faster after they’ve been cleaned.

These tips below can be a huge help:

  • Use a fan. If you know you’re going to have your carpet shampooed, turn on a bunch of fans to help improve circulation in your home. This can help reduce the drying time, at least on the surface of your carpet. Even turning on a ceiling fan can make a big difference in your drying time.
  • Open your windows. Admittedly, this can be hit or miss. You will need to make a judgment call here. If you are in a dry area that doesn’t have high pollen counts, then opening a window can help the moisture escape the room. If you live in a humid area or are about to have rain, keep your windows closed.
  • Turn the heat up. The fastest way to get your carpets to dry quickly is to crank up your thermostat to 70 degrees or more. Obviously, if you are not a fan of heat or just find it uncomfortable, you may need another method.
  • If you have AC, crank it up. During the hotter months, turning up the heat might not be that appealing. It’s alright. If you have air conditioning, then you can just turn up the AC. The cold yet low-humidity air will help get your carpets in a pinch.
  • Ask a carpet technician for a blow dry. Believe it or not, hair isn’t the only thing that you can blow dry. If you are getting your carpets cleaned professionally, try to look for a company that offers a blow drying service. This is an add-on that uses high powered fans to get your carpet dried faster than usual.
  • “Groom” your carpet. Carpet grooming describes using a carpet brush or rake to move the fibers of the carpet back and forth. Essentially, it brings the fiber nap back to its original place. Having an aligned carpet will pull moisture away from the carpet padding and backing, effectively speeding up drying time.
  • Have your carpets cleaned more often. Although this tip doesn’t apply to your current drying process, having your carpets cleaned on the regular can significantly reduce drying time. A professional cleaning at least once a year means your home is cleaner and there’s less dirt to clean. As a result, having cleaner carpets initially means less drying time, as less water is being used during the process.
  • Do consider taking a day trip. If you really can’t wait for your carpets to get dry, the best way to deal with it is to get your mind off of it. So, take this time to go on a day trip. Water park, anyone?

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Our Final Take

Cleaning your carpet with shampoo, especially if it’s a professional job, is a good way to make sure that you add years to your carpeting’s life. Unfortunately, it also means that you will have to plan your day around it.

The average carpet will take anywhere from six to 10 hours to dry, with some types requiring as much as a 24-hour drying period before they’re good to go.

Though there are companies that advertise a quick-drying cleaning, there’s no special shampoo style that will keep a carpet from getting wet. However, there are some things that you can do to kick the drying process up a notch.

Things like turning on the AC, using fans, and turning the heat up can be a DIY way to speed things up. Of course, asking for a blow dry can do the trick too.

Let’s just face it. No one looks forward to having to spend a day shampooing and drying their carpets. However, it’s always going to be worth it. Without a little TLC, your carpets will look way worse for the wear.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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