The Three Keys to Fast Drying

Posted by Nick Bredhauer on

We like to see carpets and upholstery dry within 24 hours, and sooner if possible. Reaching that goal can be a challenge at times, and the longer fibers stay wet, the greater the risk of wicking and resoiling.

But when you can manage temperature, humidity, and airflow, you can easily get carpets and upholstery dry within that timeframe.

Fast drying begins with removing as much liquid water as possible. Use a glided wand, make sure your extraction equipment is operating at maximum efficiency, and take the extra time to extract all areas as deeply and thoroughly as possible.

After the cleaning/extraction stage, here are steps to further accelerate your drying times:

  • Increase the temperature. The warmer the air, the more moisture it can hold. If you can add heat to the drying environment using the customer’s HVAC system, or bring in warmer (and low humidity) outside air, you’ll speed up drying rates.
  • Move the air. The more warm, dry air you can move across wet surfaces, the more you’ll speed up evaporation from those materials. For this, skip the box fans and turn to professional airmovers. Specifically designed for carpet drying, they make a great addition to any cleaner’s equipment arsenal. Learn more about how the right airmovers can accelerate drying here.
  • Reduce the humidity. In addition to managing airflow and temperature, you might also find it useful to introduce professional-grade portable dehumidifier or two. These units remove large amounts of moisture from the air quickly and efficiently. You won’t ordinarily need this kind of firepower on a carpet or upholstery job, but if you’re working in a humid region, and you can close up the area you’re working in, nothing beats powered dehumidification to get carpets and upholstery dried fast.
  • And don’t forget the great outdoors! If outdoor conditions are conducive to drying—warmer and drier—open some windows! You’ll want to address any customer concerns about security, insects coming in, pets getting out and so forth, but simply letting good dry air in can accelerate your drying.

Manage these three factors—temperature, airflow, and humidity—and you’ll get carpets dry fast, reduced wicking problems, get fewer callbacks, and get customers back into their homes and businesses faster.

For a thorough discussion of this topic from a restorative drying perspective, see "Increasing the Rate of Evaporation," in The Complete Guide to Cleaning and Restoration