Wet carpet! It is inevitable after having a hot-water extraction cleaning. You don’t want to walk on it, you don’t want to put anything back; your life seems like it is on hold. As carpet cleaners, we realize that the job is not REALLY done until the carpets have dried and life is back to normal. As a homeowner, no one needs to tell you this. So, how can this process be accelerated? Before I answer this, let’s consider some basic facts about drying.
Where does water go when it dries? That’s easy, right? Into the air; it evaporates and changes from a liquid to a gas. Why do things dry better on some days versus others? Basically, how much moisture the air can hold and how much it is already holding. What determines that? Mostly temperature. The warmer air is the more it can hold. Picture a balloon. When it is cold the balloon is small. As the temperature rises, the balloon gets bigger and can hold substantially more. As a matter of fact for every 10 degrees Celsius the temperature rises, the air can hold about twice the amount of water it did at the cooler temperature! What does this mean for us? Warmer is better for drying!
I consistently have well-meaning people proudly tell me that in order to dry their carpets faster, they are going to turn their air conditioning on. Based on the facts, is this logical? No. Think about it: we don’t do this in other areas of life. When your clothes come out of the washer, where do you put them to dry? In the refrigerator or the clothes dryer? The dryer of course. The dryer is HOT! Warmer air holds more water so things dry faster.
The other aspect of this is moving air. Again, remember the clothes dryer; it blows hot air around the clothes and blows it fast. So in order to dry your carpets faster, get the air moving! Fans, big or small, make a difference. Also, a simple step to take is to turn your furnace fan to the ‘ON’ position. This moves air throughout the home and can make your furnace act like a big dehumidifier.
Now, depending on outside conditions, there are a few other things you can do. You may want to increase the temperature in the house by turning the heat on. This works well in colder times of the year. Every degree helps. Opening windows is a great optionif it is nice outside. Even if it is hot and humid, the windows are still your best option. I get a lot of sideways looks in the summer when I say this. Again the air conditioning may seem like the best option. But consider: how does the volume of air that moves through your house with open windows compare to the amount moved by your furnace? The windows provide a massive increase in air movement, a must in drying.
So, we increase air temperature and air flow through the building. Now what? Time; we have to wait a bit. You can only remove so much water through extraction. Think again about your clothes. Even after an extended spin cycle they are still wet. It still takes time to dry. But we hope the results make it all worthwhile.