Does Your Carpet Feel Damp?

In our previous article we discussed some of the “symptoms” of a poorly executed carpet cleaning. Specifically, we addressed some of the science and chemistry behind “crunchy” carpeting and what this “crunchiness” is a bigger indication of. Today, continuing with this “haphazard” carpet cleaning theme, I would like to discuss the over-wetting of your carpeting and more specifically, the potential hazards you face if excessive (and unnecessary) moisture is left within your carpet fiber directly after a carpet cleaning.

Damp Carpet

Assume then, that your carpet-cleaning technician did a fantastic job; you both have big smiles on your faces, and your carpeting “appears” to be very clean. However… · How damp did he leave your flooring? · Did he properly perform a “dry” vacuum pass to remove excess moisture? · Did he utilize any fans or air movers to speed up the dry time of your flooring? · What type of extraction equipment was utilized? · Was the extraction process powerful enough to remove the excess moisture and suspended soils trapped within the fibers? · Was cross ventilation utilized or considered to further speed up the dry time?

Let’s examine the following questions

1. What effect can moisture have within the padding and backing of your carpeting 2. How long should it typically take to fully dry? 3. What can be done to speed up the dry time and get back to my life? A surfactant or wetting agent within a cleaning compound is designed to break up surface tension. In layman’s terms: This is simply the process of separating a soil from the fiber it’s connected to or “stained upon.” However, if during the cleaning process, these “suspended soils” are not extracted timely or properly they will migrate down the filaments and ultimately become a soapy, dirty slurry resting within or above the secondary backing of your carpeting, and could potentially even soak into the padding (which is nothing more than a large sponge). This slurry can cause all types of problems depending upon the chemical make-up of your fiber and subsequent backing. However, and generally speaking, this over-wetting can lead to the following negative consequences:


This occurs when the primary backing becomes separated from the secondary backing and is assisted further by high alkaline compounds and suspended soils. Once your carpeting has delaminated, your flooring will have no dimensional stability and will require replacing.


If cotton or other natural fibers were used as a weave within the backing of your carpeting they could potentially shrink…ultimately shredding at the tack strips.


This phenomena occurs when a light vegetable dye combined with our suspended soiling cocktail from above, wicks to the surface as the warm air rises to the top during the drying process. This creates those “new” stains that were not there prior to the cleaning.


Depending upon atmospheric pressure, humidity, temperature and several other factors, mold can easily grow and spread within a few hours if excessive moisture is trapped within your carpet fiber. Obviously, aside from the physical dangers of mold, the wet smell of mildew alone can be pervasive and annoying and can last for days, weeks or more. Simply put, as mandated by the IICRC (Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) your carpeting should be dry to the touch within 6 to 8 hours directly after a carpet cleaning. But there are several tricks we have learned over the years to get that number closer to 3 hours or less:

  1. At SUDS, we utilize the Rotovac 360 (Rotary Jet Extraction Machine) – which provides 750 multi-directional cleaning passes per minute, providing exceptionally clean and restorative results throughout your home. Due to the additional cleaning/vacuuming passes, the Rotovac 360 actually leaves your carpeting 20% drier than conventional steam cleaning methods alone. 
  2. Each wet cleaning pass is directly followed by a “dry” vacuum pass, in order to extract as much moisture and suspended soils as possible. We have become obsessed with our dry time…and the difference is obvious. This extra pass requires twice as much time…but avoiding the negative consequences is well worth it to us and our loyal customers. 
  3. We utilize two Studebaker 360 Air-movers within your home and directly after cleaning each room. These amazing, patented fans actually blow air downward, assisting in the natural drying process. 
  4. We carefully analyze and identify your particular fiber prior to cleaning in order to ascertain its particular chemical, or natural propensity to soak or repel water. This allows us to know how much or how little moisture to put down. 
  5. We also analyze humidity content and atmospheric pressure along with the technique of cross ventilation (on cooler days) to further speed up the dry time. When it comes to carpet cleaning and carpet drying, we don’t leave anything to chance. We guarantee our work with a 100% “No questions asked, Money Back Guarantee.” Over 100, 5 Star reviews across the web could not be wrong! If your carpeting won’t stay clean, call SUDS. We’ll get it clean, dry and keep it clean, guaranteed.