Low-Moisture Carpet Cleaning vs. Hot Water Extraction: Which is Really Better for Your Carpet – And Why?

Hot Water Extraction cleaning—often referred to as “steam cleaning”—has been the go-to carpet cleaning method for years.

And with good reason. Many carpet manufacturers recommend steam cleaning, and it has a proven track record. It’s become ubiquitous.

There are multiple other types of carpet cleaning methods, but there’s one that stands out as the best possible contender for steam cleaning:

Low-Moisture Carpet Cleaning.

Actually, we’re such big fans of low-moisture cleaning that we spent two years developing our own proprietary low-moisture cleaning system:

The DPM Care Method.

Before we go any further, let’s define exactly what these two types of cleaning are.

What is Hot Water Extraction Cleaning?

As you undoubtedly guessed, hot water extraction cleaning uses hot water as a means of removing dirt from a carpet.


An extraction cleaning machine sprays a chemical cleaning solution to a carpet. That solution, along with dirt and debris, is then extracted from the carpet using hot water.

What is the DPM Care Method?

The DPM Care Method is a low-moisture cleaning process we spent two years developing, because hot water extraction has multiple pitfalls — and we knew there had to be a better way.

Similar to extraction cleaning, the DPM Care low-moisture carpet cleaning process removes soil and stains from carpet—but that’s where the similarities end.

DPM Care’s proprietary chemistry and patent-pending technology uses a minimal amount of water and leaves no residue behind.

What’s Better: Hot Water Extraction or the DPM Care Method?

Let’s be honest:

We developed the DPM Care Method, so we’re a little biased, but it’s for a good reason.

Here’s an analysis of the differences between hot water extraction and the DPM Care Method.

Drying Time

After extraction cleaning, a carpet needs anywhere from 5 – 24 hours to dry.

After the DPM Care Low-Moisture Method, a carpet only needs 30 – 45 minutes to dry (which makes it ideal for schools or office spaces).

The reason for the difference? The amount of water used in the cleaning process.

For comparison, hot water extraction can only clean 250 square feet with one gallon of water. The DPM Care Method, on the other hand, cleans 2,120 square feet with one gallon of water.

That means the DPM Care Method uses 399% less water than extraction. Keep reading to find out why that’s important.

Risk of Damage

The excessive moisture used in extraction cleaning can cause rippling and delamination of your carpet.

As a matter of fact, this was the reason we developed our proprietary cleaning process. When I worked as a carpet mill representative, I noticed that the majority of warranty claims were directly tied to poor carpet maintenance caused by hot water extraction.

A low-moisture carpet cleaning process such as ours will be less likely to damage your carpet.


“Let’s talk about how bacteria and fungus grow.”

Not the best conversation starter, is it?

But that’s what happens with extraction cleaning. Due to the long dry times and high level of moisture used in the cleaning process, extraction allows for microbial growth.

We actually had a field sampling analyzed professionally by EMSL Analytical Labs and saw that hot water extraction cleaning can cause a 150% increase in the growth of microbial content.

In comparison, because we use significantly less water, the DPM Care Method removes 99+% of microbials.


When you pay for a carpet cleaning, you want your carpet to actually look clean, right?

One major way that happens is through fiber lifting, which is exactly what it sounds like: lifting the carpet fibers when the carpet is cleaned — which does happen in the DPM Care method, but does not happen during hot water extraction.

Beyond that, the DPM Care Method applies FiberShield to the carpet to form a protective shield, which prevents stains from penetrating the carpet, protects against foot traffic, and prevents re-soiling.

The Future of Carpet Cleaning

Hot water extraction was common for many years, but the industry is moving away from the method in favor of low-moisture methods like the DPM Care Method.

Click here to get in contact with us and learn more about how your facility can benefit from embracing the future of carpet cleaning.