How Long Does It Take for Carpet to Dry After Professional Cleaning?

If you’ve had your carpets professionally cleaned, you know the process can take a few hours. But did you factor in the time for your carpets to dry?

We've provided commercial carpet cleaning services to the Bay Area for over 30 years! We're here to answer one of the most common questions about professional carpet cleaning: how long does it take for carpets to dry?

How Long Does It Take for Carpet to Dry After Professional Cleaning?

It can take anywhere between 2-10 hours for carpets to dry after being professionally cleaned. 

However, this time depends on the cleaning method, carpet materials, and airflow to the area. Using fans and turning on your building’s air conditioning or heating system can help accelerate carpet drying time.

1. Cleaning Method

There are different ways to have your carpets professionally cleaned. However, the method you use will affect the drying time. Standard commercial carpet cleaning methods include

  • Carpet shampooing: 6-10 hours - With carpet shampooing, a foaming cleaning solution is applied and scrubbed into the carpet’s fibers. Carpet shampooing isn’t always the preferred cleaning method, as it can take 6-10 hours to dry. Once the carpet is dry, any leftover product is vacuumed up.
  • Hot water extraction: 2-6 hours - The most popular carpet cleaning method is hot water extraction, commonly referred to as steam cleaning. Hot water extraction uses a mix of hot water and cleaning solution to break down dirt and allergens within the carpet. After the cleaning process is complete, carpets take 2-6 hours to dry.
  • Dry cleaning: Almost immediately - Dry cleaning doesn’t use as much water as carpet shampooing or hot water extraction, which means it doesn’t take as long to dry. Though water is used alongside dry-cleaning chemicals, this method leaves carpets 95% to 100% dry after treatment.

In general, hot water extraction and dry cleaning are the two most common carpet cleaning methods. However, while dry cleaning is the fastest way to clean a carpet, it’s not always the most effective. Dry cleaning won’t eliminate everything trapped in the carpet, meaning the carpet will need to be cleaned more frequently. 

To fully reap the benefits of professional carpet cleaning, we recommend hot water extraction for deep cleaning purposes. Dry cleaning is best suited for routine janitorial cleaning needs.

2. Carpet Materials

Some carpet materials take longer to dry than others. For example, wool carpets may take a minimum of 24 hours to dry, while nylon or polyester carpet takes 6 to 12 hours. Carpets made from synthetic materials are better suited for hot water extraction because they’re non-absorbent and trap less moisture.

3. Temperature & Humidity

The temperature in your building can also affect how long it takes for the carpet to dry. A building should be around 70-80 degrees for the moisture to evaporate as quickly as possible. Having your carpets cleaned when it’s warm outside also ensures a faster drying time. 

Humidity also plays a role in the drying process. The lower the humidity in your building, the faster carpets will dry. This is because moisture evaporates more rapidly in dry conditions than in humid air.

How to Dry Carpet After Cleaning

Carpets will take longer to dry in areas with poor circulation, high levels of humidity, or cold air. That said, there are a few things you can do to speed up your carpet’s drying time, including

  • Create airflow - If it’s not humid outside, keep your door and windows open to allow fresh air to circulate. This will replace the moist air in your commercial building. Leave windows and doors open for 2 hours or more for the best results.
  • Make use of fans - Standing fans are another way to accelerate the drying process. Find the largest fan you have and set it up near the door for better circulation. Renting an industrial floor drying fan can also eliminate moisture from underneath the carpet.
  • Use a dehumidifier - If your commercial building is relatively humid, use a dehumidifier.  A dehumidifier will keep moisture levels down, which helps carpets dry faster — just make sure they’re not running when the windows are open!
  • Move furniture - Most professionals will do this for you, but moving furniture out of a room allows for better air circulation. Do not return sofas, chairs, or other large furniture to their place until the carpet is completely dry.

How Long After Carpet Cleaning Can You Put Furniture Back?

We recommend not moving furniture back until your carpets are fully dry. A general rule of thumb is to wait 24 hours after cleaning, but this period depends on the material of the carpet, the method used to clean it, and environmental factors. As mentioned, some carpets dry in 2-6 hours. 

If your business has to move furniture back before carpets are dry, there should be something underneath it. Be sure to leave the protective blocks under furniture legs until the carpet is dry to avoid color transfer or denting.

When Can You Walk On Carpet After Cleaning?

At a minimum, you should wait at least 30 minutes before walking across a damp carpet. Heavy traffic should be avoided for six hours after cleaning. If possible, you should also avoid wearing shoes until the carpet is completely dry to prevent re-soiling it. 

For this reason, commercial carpet cleaning is best done overnight or after business hours. Unified Janitorial Services offers daily, weekly, or monthly routine cleaning as well as 24/7 availability, which makes it easy for us to clean after your staff has gone home for the day.

Commercial Carpet Cleaning in the Bay Area

For more than 30 years, we’ve specialized in cleaning commercial properties, including

Unified Janitorial Services provides commercial carpet cleaning throughout the Bay Area, including Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara, and Santa Cruz, CA

For more information on our professional carpet cleaning services, contact us today!

Carpet cleaning is reserved for our recurring janitorial clients. We will not accept individual carpet cleaning jobs.


"I love that I can call them 24/7 to address any needs or last-minute requests."

—Jason Wilson | Broadcom Solutions, Inc. San Jose, CA

"They handle all of our building needs like carpets & floors, as well as doing a great job with the nightly cleaning."

—Yolanda Herrera | All Bay Mechanical
San Jose, CA

3000 Haas Drive Aptos, CA 95003