The period after cleaning services have cleaned your carpets is when your carpet has never looked better than before! Since it's no longer an eyesore, you might want to move everything back in place to enjoy the cleanliness. However, is that a good idea? How long should you wait until you can move your furniture back? If that's what you're wondering, let's find out!
The consensus is to wait 24 hours before moving furniture back into the area. This timeframe allows the carpet to dry completely. However, if you need to get it out of the way, you'll need to place waterproof protectors on the legs of the furniture pieces. For furnishings without legs - like beanbags - use a styrofoam block.
It's one thing to know the timeframe you should wait. And, it's another to understand why you should do it. Of course, some circumstances won't allow us to wait this long before moving furniture back into place. So, we'll have to compromise. We discuss these topics and more further ahead.
How Long Does It Take for Carpet Cleaning To Dry
It will take anywhere around 8 to 24 hours for the carpet to dry completely. How quickly it dries depends on several factors. If your carpet is thick, it will tend to take longer to dry. Ventilation and environmental factors can also influence the wait time.
That begs the question, why does it take this long to dry? Shouldn't the process be over when the cleaning services pack up? Not necessarily. If we're going to understand why there's such a long wait-time, we'll have to go over how professionals clean the carpet.
The Cleaning Process
After cleaning professionals finish their work, there's still some time to wait to conclude the cleaning. As you might already know, steam cleaners are the typical tool of choice when you want to make your carpet look as good as new. It brings out the grime that's embedded deep into the fibers.
However, as the name implies, it cleans the carpet using water. So, there are levels of moisture involved in the process. But, how exactly does it work? As some suggest, it's a form of hot-water soil extraction.
Professionals will begin the process by using a cleaning solution specialized in loosening dirt and stains. They'll then agitate the carpet with a brush or rake to remove more grime.
Once everything is at the surface, a high-pressure water hose comes into play. Professionals will use water as hot as 200 degrees Fahrenheit to wash away the filth. Of course, you can't let moisture linger on the carpet for too long. It can produce problems in more areas than just the carpet - like the subfloors.
So, techs will use a vacuum to suction off as much moisture as they can. The water and cleaning solution will go into a holding tank. Finally, all that remains is to wait for the carpet to dry. At most, it should be slightly damp to the touch.
Why You Should Wait To Move Furniture
Now that we've covered what goes on during the carpet cleaning process, it's time to address the elephant in the room. Why shouldn't you put furniture back in its place after cleaning?
As mentioned, after cleaning, the carpet should be slightly damp to the touch. Thus, there's still moisture present.
And, since it's not often that we're cleaning the bottom of the legs of a furniture piece, there's likely dirt present at the bottom. Rushing to put furniture back will only ensure the carpet will get dirty much quicker.
The material of the furniture also plays a part. Is it a wood piece? If you're not careful, it can leave a blemish on the carpet. Have you checked metal stands for any rust at the bottom? If you haven't, it's yet another piece that can potentially leave stains.
If you've already paid for cleaning services, likely, you don't want them coming back to remove minor stains. Of course, you can try and remove them yourself. But, why put yourself through the trouble when you can avoid rushing to put furniture back in place.
When You Can't Avoid Putting Furniture Back
Not all situations are the same. Therefore, you might have a good reason to put your furniture back in place. Maybe you don't have enough space in your home. Or, carpet cleaning was the first step to something you're planning.
Regardless of the situation, how can you compromise? If you must move furniture back to where it stood, you'll need a barrier between the furniture piece and the carpet. You don't need anything fancy to avoid direct contact.
The only condition is that the material you use must be waterproof. At the very least, it should be water-resistant. So, you can purchase waterproof protectors online. Or, a piece of polystyrene should do the job.
Can You Walk on Carpet After Carpet Cleaning?
You have the solution to your problem. All you need is a protector to avoid direct contact between the furniture and the carpet. But, now you've thought of another problem!
Moving the furniture back into place would require walking on the carpet. Should you step on the carpet after cleaning? Some suggest you can - only if you're wearing clean socks or going barefoot.
But, that presents problems within itself. Would you tolerate a wet sock? Not to mention, you wouldn't want to stick your bare foot into a wet carpet. Especially since you can't guarantee your feet will be 100% clean.
For this reason, carpet technicians would recommend walking on the carpet only using booties or clean soled shoes.
How Do You Speed Up Carpet Drying After Cleaning?
If you decide it's better to wait, you might want to help the carpet dry quickly. This way, you can move furniture back without worrying about blemishes. As we've mentioned, several factors will determine how quickly the carpet can dry.
The first would be environmental conditions. Low humidity, good wind, and warm temperatures are the ideal setting for drying. So, if the weather outside is good, leave the doors and windows open.
If that isn't possible, you can speed up the process by setting a fan to blow near the carpet. This way, you increase the airflow - which will drive the excess moisture out.
Depending on the weather, opening the windows is not an option. So, to work around this, you can also utilize the AC to dry the carpet during hot and humid weather. If it's during the winter months, you can let your home heating system do the work.
In addition, you can also work with space heaters. Though, you'll have to be cautious with them because they do tend to overheat.
Should Carpet Be Crunchy After Cleaning?
In the worst-case scenario, the carpet dries quickly - and all looks well. But, you take a step and - crunch! Is it supposed to make that sound after cleaning?
Carpet technicians would suggest it isn't. During the cleaning process, technicians will apply a detergent, shampoo, or some sort of chemical to drive out all the nasty stuff in a carpet. As mentioned, after using it, they'll need to rinse it out - usually with hot water.
If the carpet is making a crunchy sound, it indicates that soap particles were still lingering in the carpet. And, as it dried, so did the soap particles. It creates a sticky residue that will - unfortunately - attract more dirt over time.
Another cause for this phenomenon could be the type of cleaner used for the job. Not all carpets are the same. Some will react negatively towards certain chemicals. Consequently, the fibers will turn stiff.
How Often Should You Get Your Carpet Cleaned?
In general, you should have your carpet cleaned professionally every 12-18 months. Of course, it all depends on your situation. If there's heavy traffic in the area, you might need more cleaning.
Other factors - like how often you vacuum - can also influence this. Maintenance is essential because it will let less dirt and debris settle within the fibers. Additionally, you'll have to consider who's at home with you. Do you allow pets on the carpet?
Are people walking on it with their shoes on? If you have young children, you'll inevitably find a spill or mess on the carpet. What about the color of your carpet? Is it becoming a noticeable darker shade? These are some of the factors to consider.
So, if you have a family and own pets, it's more likely that you'll need a professional cleaning every 6-12 months.
As the saying goes, patience is key. When you've recently had your carpet cleaned, it pays off to wait before moving your furniture back. However, some situations will require us to move it back sooner. As we've learned, that's possible as long as you avoid direct contact. We hope you found the information above helpful.
Before you go, do you have other carpet cleaning concerns? If you own pets, you might be hesitant to use deodorizers. If you'd like to find some that are pet-friendly, check out our post, "What Carpet Deodorizers Are Safe For Pets?"
Is there a lingering smell after cleaning? If it smells like cat urine, we can give you some ideas why that might be the case. To learn more, check out our post, " Carpet Smells Of Urine After Cleaning? Here's Why"