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How Long Does Carpet Cleaning Take?

Published March 27, 2024 by Green Kleaning Services, LLC

illustration of carpet cleaning equipment and clocks

Key Takeaways

  • Average Duration: Residential carpet cleaning, including carpets, rugs, and upholstery, typically takes 3-4 hours, with lighter jobs possibly concluding in just 1-2 hours. Factors such as the cleaning method and post-cleaning drying process significantly influence this timeframe.

  • Factors Influencing Cleaning Time: The size of the carpeted area, the severity of soil and stains, the chosen cleaning method, and furniture removal all play crucial roles in determining how long the cleaning process will take.

  • Professional vs. DIY Cleaning: Professional carpet cleaners, thanks to their experience and equipment, can often clean an average-sized room within 20-40 minutes, significantly faster than DIY methods, which may take about 30-60 minutes per room.

  • Drying Time Considerations: Post-cleaning, carpets can take 6 to 24 hours to dry completely, depending on the cleaning method, environmental factors, and the carpet material. Proper ventilation and avoiding walking on wet carpets are essential for quick drying and preventing re-soiling.


Carpet cleaning is more than just a chore; it's an important step in maintaining indoor air quality and overall home hygiene.

How long does carpet cleaning take? Well, it depends. But we'll discuss the factors involved, ensuring you can effectively plan for this essential task whether you do it yourself or hire carpet cleaning professionals.

In residential carpet cleaning on average whether it be carpet, rugs, upholstery, or a combination of these you can count on an average of 3-4 hours. Most of the jobs we complete that don't have heavy soiling and various types of stains it can take just an hour or two.

Of course, the length of time can be divided into two separate aspects of carpet cleaning.

This includes the cleaning process which plays a role, and then also the post-cleaning with the drying process which can be significantly different depending on the cleaning method.

When having your carpets professionally cleaned you will most likely be pleasantly surprised with the speed at which some carpet cleaners can work. Experience, equipment, and technique count!

Carpet Cleaning Time Factors

  • Size of the Carpeted Area: It's logical that larger carpets take more time to clean than smaller ones. The surface area directly correlates with the cleaning duration.

  • Severity of Soil and Stains: Heavily soiled carpets with deep, stubborn stains demand extensive cleaning efforts, increasing the time taken.

  • Cleaning Method: The chosen method, such as steam cleaning, dry cleaning, or encapsulation, influences the time duration. Each method has its own process and efficiency level.

  • Moving Furniture: The time taken to move furniture for thorough cleaning adds to the overall process.

  • Professional vs. DIY: Expertise and specialized equipment enable professional carpet cleaning services to be quicker than DIY methods.

Other Considerations On How Long It Takes To Clean Carpet

  • Traffic Patterns: Carpets in high-traffic areas often accumulate more dirt and stains, necessitating more frequent and potentially longer cleaning sessions.

  • Pet Ownership: Pets can add to carpet soiling due to shedding, accidents, and general wear. This might require more frequent cleanings or specialized techniques.

  • Allergies and Sensitivities: Individuals with allergies or respiratory sensitivities may need to opt for hypoallergenic cleaning solutions. These solutions might require longer drying times or additional precautions during the cleaning process.

The Impact of Weather and Seasons On Carpet Cleaning

  • Humidity and Drying Time: In humid climates or seasons, additional time to dry completely might be necessary.

  • Winter Cleaning: During colder months, the reduced air circulation can extend drying times. Planning for adequate ventilation is key.

DYI Vs Professional Carpet Cleaning: Estimated Timeframes

Professional Carpet Cleaning: Averages between 20-40 minutes for an average-sized room, with variations based on the above mentioned factors.

Keep in mind that professionals will also work into the process things such as thorough vacuuming, deodorizing, and carpet grooming.

They will also employ strong floor fans to dry carpets faster. In some cases, thoroughly extracting with multiple wand passes (during hot water extraction), and some fans they can get many parts of the carpets dry even before they leave.

DIY Carpet Cleaning: Typically can take about 30-60 minutes per room, though this can vary based on the homeowner's expertise and equipment.

Cost Considerations in Carpet Cleaning

We did an a cost analysis on different carpet cleaning scenarios, whether DYI or with a carpet cleaner to make a side by side comparison as it pertains to length of time for cleaning.

cost and time estimate graphs

Understanding the cost involved in carpet cleaning is essential for effective budgeting and to see what makes most sense:

Professional Service Costs

These can vary based on the size of the carpeted area, the cleaning method used, and the severity of stains. It's advisable to get quotes from multiple services for comparison.

DIY Cleaning Costs

While initially seeming cost-effective, DIY cleaning requires investment in equipment and cleaning solutions. Additionally, the potential for less effective cleaning should be considered.

Drying Process And Time That It Takes After Hot Water Extraction Cleaning

Understanding the drying time is essential for effective carpet cleaning. Shortening this time as much as possible is extremely important to prevent the growth of mold and the development of unpleasant odors.

fan drying carpet

Drying time depends on several factors:

  • Cleaning Method: Different methods result in different drying times. For instance, steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction, typically requires between 6 to 24 hours for complete drying. A professional carpet cleaner that uses powerful vacuums can extract a lot of moisture depending on the CFM rating which is a measurement in cubic feet per minute that measures the force of air that is moving across a surface such as a floor. The higher this number the better the cleaning ability in the case of a normal vacuum and also better in lifting out moisture during carpet cleaning.

  • Environmental Factors: The ambient humidity levels and ventilation in the area play a significant role in determining how quickly carpets dry.

  • Carpet Material: Some materials may retain moisture longer than others, affecting the drying time.

After The Carpet Cleaning Is Done

Walking on Carpet After Cleaning

It's advisable to wait approximately 6 hours before walking on carpets after cleaning, especially if steam cleaning is used. This allows the carpet to dry sufficiently and prevents re-soiling.

Sleeping in the Room Post-Cleaning 

Depending on factors like carpet fiber and humidity, it may be possible to sleep in a room the same day after cleaning. However, ensuring the carpet is completely dry is paramount for health and hygiene.

Cleaning Older Carpets

Cleaning carpets that are 10 years old or more can still be beneficial. However, it's important to set realistic expectations as older carpets may not respond well to cleaning processes as well as newer ones.

Choosing the Right Professional Carpet Cleaning Service

When selecting a carpet cleaning service to get the job done quickly and efficiently, consider the following:

Experience and Expertise

Look for services with a proven track record and expertise in handling different types of carpets.

Cleaning Methods

Ensure the service offers the cleaning method that suits your carpet type and cleaning needs.

Eco-Friendly Options

For those concerned about chemicals, seek services that offer eco-friendly cleaning solutions.

After-Care for Carpets

Post-cleaning care is important for maintaining the cleanliness and extending the life of your carpets:

Adequate Ventilation 

Ensure good airflow to aid in drying and prevent moisture buildup.

Avoid Walking on Wet Carpets

This helps to prevent re-soiling and allows the carpet fibers to reset.

Regular Maintenance

Regular vacuuming and prompt stain treatment help maintain the carpet's cleanliness and appearance.

In Summary

pristine living room with persian rug

For determining how long carpet cleaning takes it helps to understand the various factors affecting cleaning time. Choose the right cleaning method and consider post-cleaning care to ensure your carpets remain in top condition for years to come.

Regular maintenance, alongside occasional professional deep cleans, can significantly extend the life and appearance of your carpets.

For those who prefer professional help, our expert carpet cleaning services are just a click away, offering efficient and tailored solutions for your specific needs.


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