8. Dry Absorbent and Adsorbent Media

The absorbent compound method (also called dry cleaner method) is a cleaning process that employs an absorbent/adsorbent media that has been mixed with various cleaning ingredients which is applied to the carpet and agitated with any of a variety of specially designed machines. The absorbent media delivers the cleaning liquids to the fiber surface, the cleaning chemicals dissolve the dirt and spots and then the absorbent media absorbs the dirt and spots. Then the absorbent media is vacuumed from the carpet, extracting the dirt leaving the carpet dry and ready to use.


As in all systems vacuuming is the universal 1st step to soil removal. Use an upright vacuum to vacuum the area to be cleaned.

Some dry carpet cleaning machines are equipped with a built-in vacuum, in which case an upright vacuum is not required. Vacuum the carpet with this machine. Once the proper dry soil removal is done, the carpet may be pre-sprayed if the procedure and soil condition dictates it. Use a Traffic Lane Prespray designed for use with the absorbent compound mixed according to manufacturers’ recommendations in a hand-held trigger sprayer or pump up sprayer. Apply a light mist to the traffic areas or spots. Wait a few minutes and apply the dry carpet cleaning compound.


Either by hand or with an applicator, apply the dry cleaner to the dirty parts of the carpet; it is not necessary to apply it along the walls or in corners unless those areas are dirty. Do not apply more than 500 square feet at a time or the dry cleaner may dry out and lose its ability to clean properly. Be sure to follow manufacturers’ usage and application guidelines.

Most dry-cleaning machines have a system of counter-revolving brushes which are designed to thoroughly circulate the absorbent compound through the carpet yarns. This insures that the cleaning chemicals come into contact with the dirty surfaces of the carpet fibers. The brushing action also lifts and raises the pile of the carpet for better results and improved appearance.



Start in one corner of the area and brush sideways across the carpet using push-pull strokes to create an overlapping “W” pattern. If the machine has a built-in vacuum, make sure the vacuum is off during this procedure. At the end of the row, step back to start a second row. Move sideways back across the area, overlapping about half of the first row. Continue brushing the entire area in this way. Then turn 90° to face across the area. Using the same technique as in the 1st pass, brush the area again.


Turn back to face the original direction and completely brush the area a third time. Heavily soiled areas and tough spots may require some extra brushing. Apply more dry carpet cleaner and brush again, the more brushing the better the cleaning.


If the machine being used does not have a built-in vacuum, allow the dry absorbent compound to dry and then vacuum with an upright vacuum to remove the compound and the dirt it has absorbed.


If the machine being used has a built-in vacuum, turn the vacuum on and vacuum immediately after brushing using the same pattern as the brushing technique. Use and extension hose to vacuum edges and corners.

Back to: Low Moisture Carpet Cleaning