Carpet Steam Cleaner: How to Use, Advantages and Disadvantages

Do yourself a favor, consider either buying or renting a steam cleaner for your carpets. Your carpets will thank you!

If your carpets are in need of a good clean, you should hire a professional carpet cleaner. Depending on the condition of your carpet, a professional might use shampoo or steam to clean the carpet. There is quite a difference between steam cleaning and shampooing a carpet and a pro will offer you the best advice on which method is best for your carpet.

Steam cleaning carpet has become the preferred alternative nowadays. Steam cleaning is exploding in popularity, even though most homeowners still do not quite understand what it is, how it works, and why it is so wonderfully advantageous. Depending on what you are cleaning and what your needs are, you may find that steam cleaning products are the best choice for you.

The phrase “steam cleaning” distinguishes a water-based method of cleaning carpets from dry chemical compound methods used by some professional companies. It is not the steam that cleans the carpet, though: it is the detergents that the steam (or hot water) activates. That is true when you rent or buy a machine, or when you hire professional steam cleaners to do it for you. Even dry chemical cleaning companies use a small amount of water!

Steam cleaning uses vaporized water to clean your carpet and rugs. The vapor is heated to an exceptional degree, then applied with a machine that looks a little like a vacuum cleaner. As that heat meets the fibers of your rug and carpet, it helps break down dirt and provide a fantastic clean. Dry steam is then used to collect the dirt and other unpleasant debris that has collected.

A steam cleaner dislodges dirt by blasting hot water/steam through the carpet. When the dirt has been dislodged, the accumulated water and dirt is vacuumed. Steam cleaning also removes mildew spores and mold. A steam cleaner cleans as well effectively as a shampoo, and sometimes better than shampooing.

Provided the carpet is allowed to dry thoroughly before use, there is no residue to cause re-soiling. Steam cleaning keeps the carpet in good shape and there is no danger of yellowing fibers after steam cleaning. One disadvantage of steam cleaning could be that it is usually not effective at removing heavily soil or staining.

Most carpet steam cleaners are designed in order to lay down water when you are pushing the machine forward then extract it while you pull it back. You have to be sure to pull the cleaner very slowly so you can remove as much water as possible. Too much water left behind will cause your carpet padding to get soaked and can lead to mold, mildew, and horrible odors. For this reason, it is also best to steam clean carpeting when the weather is warm enough to open the windows since that will speed up drying. If you can’t open the windows, then run fans to help your carpets dry before mildew can set in.

If you are thinking about using or buying a steam cleaner, it is always best to determine what you will use the cleaner for; on what surfaces and where. Different cleaners will be beneficial for different areas and room types, so it is always best to decide on what works for your own personal needs. However, if you are looking for a reliable, safe and environmentally friendly cleaner that is hard-working and will last for years to come, nowadays in the market there is a great range of quality steam cleaners to choose from.

How to Steam Clean Carpeting

If you would like to make sure that your carpet is thoroughly clean, no other method can be recommended more than the hot water extraction method. This method is also generally known as the carpet steaming method. In this method, hot water is used in order to “steam” the carpet. The steam makes it possible for the grime, soil, and dirt to become dislodged from the fiber of the carpet.

Many people wonder how to steam clean carpeting in order to reduce dust or remove stains and odors by themselves before the holidays bring company and guests to their homes. While you could certainly hire a professional in order to clean your carpets, it is not a difficult task to do yourself. You just need to know how to do it properly, so you remove stains without making them set in permanently. Once you have correctly vacuumed and prepared your room, you will find the actual cleaning goes fast.

The results with steam cleaning are so impressive that it is a very rewarding chore! It does not require professional equipment. It also does not have the concerns associated with dry chemical carpet cleaning. However, since water is involved, it does take longer before your carpets to dry. For most people, the wait is worth the worries saved.

Carpet steamers which are also known as carpet shampooers are not vacuums. They are specially designed in order to wash and at least partially dry carpets, extracting grime as they go. If you want them to get the ground-in dirt out of your carpet, you must vacuum thoroughly before steam cleaning. That does not mean that your usual quick back-and-forth over the rug, either.

Start with picking up everything on the floor. Move smaller furnishings to another room. Place aluminum foil squares under the legs of sofas or tables that you are leaving in the room because the foil protects the legs from moisture. Leave the squares in place until the carpet is completely dry. Dust your baseboards, so you are not just knocking stuff off of them and back onto your carpet. Use your crevice attachment around the base of the walls and any remaining furniture.

Vacuum carpeting in two directions, first slowly in one direction then again from a 90-degree angle. Although this seems like overkill, carpet fibers are twisted, so vacuuming from different directions ensures each “side” of the thread gets cleaned.

At a minimum, you should steam clean your carpeting once a year. Late spring would be a good time since the weather is usually warm enough that you can open windows to speed the drying process. If you have pets or suffer from allergies, then you will want to steam clean your carpet every four months. Any more often will make your carpet fade and wear out too quickly.

Advantages of Using Steam Cleaning on Carpet

Steam cleaning is probably the best deep-cleaning method you can use on your carpets. Because it combines hot water with chemicals, it cleans much more than just the surface of your carpet. It can remove dirt and debris that has sunk deep into your carpet.

  • Highly Effective Cleaning: Steam cleaners have a very high-temperature output of steam. Although this may cause a safety issue if used incorrectly, it actually helps the cleaner to provide sanitation on the surface it is working on. Bacteria is often unseen by the naked eye, but when a steam mop comes in with very high-temperature steam, this helps the bacteria and germs to be killed, providing a completely sanitary result.
  • Superior Stain and Dirt Removal: When hot vapor hits the fibers of your carpet or rug, the extreme heat weakens the very bonds that hold dirt and staining compounds to those fibers. Once weakened, dirt and stains can be removed far more easily. It is the same principle that makes washing your clothes in hot water so much more effective. The vapor will also work its way down to the deepest layers, providing a more thorough clean than vacuuming or shampooing.
  • Kills Bacteria and Mites: Bacteria, mold, fungus, and dust mites can all thrive in carpet, and it can be very tough to completely remove those by using conventional cleaning methods. With steam cleaning, the heat of the vapor is enough in order to kill those unwanted invaders.
  • Fewer Chemicals: If you are cleaning around pets and children, you may be worried about the potential dangers of chemicals that traditional floor cleaners use. However, this is not an issue when using a steam cleaner. Because the steam itself is what sanitizes the surface, you will not need to use any chemicals. This makes for a great option for those wishing to keep pets and children safe, as well as being more environmentally friendly.

  • Zero Pollutants: People tend to think that more intensive cleaning results in damage, but that is not the case with steam cleaning. Unlike shampoos, steam cleaners do not need to use chemicals; in fact, steam cleaning can sterilize any pollutants that have already found their way into your carpets or rugs.
  • Extends Carpet Life: It is important to deep clean your carpet before it becomes excessively soiled. Soil grinds away at the carpet fibers shortening its life. And, as the soil is pushed deeper and deeper into the carpet from foot traffic – your carpets become harder and more expensive to clean. Because it is the best, you use steam extraction for deep carpet cleaning.
  • Restores the Beauty of Carpet: Because steam cleaning is so effective at removing buildup and debris, it can substantially improve the appearance of your carpets. The shampoo is used during the process to lubricate carpet fibers and ensure that they don’t break. The combination of hot water, steam, and special cleaning products means that you will enjoy great-looking carpets for years to come.
  • Quick to Dry for Hard Surfaces: If using a steam mop or cleaner on hard surfaces, you will notice how much faster a steam clean takes to dry compared to a traditional mop and bucket. They are great for hard surfaces as the steam is quick-drying, making it a great option for places where the area needs to be able to be used within a short time. Areas like walkways in commercial buildings will benefit greatly from a steam cleaned floor.
  • Multiple Surfaces: Steam cleaners are not just for floors. In fact, there are many different products on the market that actually allow different attachments in order to be used in order to steam clean anything from car interiors, kitchens and windows to sliding doors, mirrors and furniture. In this regard, you could have the option to clean almost any area of the home with just one piece of equipment.
  • Easier to Maintain: Cleaning your equipment may be as simple as throwing a reusable pad into the washing machine. Depending on the equipment, many steam cleaners utilize re-usable pads or filters that simply need to be washed before their next use. This means your steam cleaner can last a lot longer, plus you can save a lot of money on not having to buy refills and replacement mop heads.

Disadvantages of Using Steam Cleaning on Carpet

  • Longer Drying Time: If you are using a steam cleaner for carpets, you may have to wait up to 24 hours for the carpet in order to be completely dry and able to be walked on again. This could be inconvenient for some, especially if the carpet is in a workplace or commercial area. However, steam cleaning carpets don’t have to be done too often, and it is actually a great way to sanitize the carpet and offer a deep clean. You will notice that steam cleaners on carpets can help to freshen the look and feel of carpets and remove any nasty smells.
  • Need for Cleaning More Often: It requires you to clean more often than using a traditional method. Some people believe that a mop and bucket enables you to really get the dirt ingrained in your floors, whilst a steam mop only really cleans the surface of the floor. Depending on the flooring you are cleaning, you may find this to be false. A lot of steam cleaners can work into small grooves in the floor where a mop wouldn’t normally reach. Of course, this depends on the surfaces you are working with and the strength of your steam cleaner.
  • Higher Price: It usually costs a little more. Because of the higher manufacturing costs required to produce the equipment, you will need to pay a little more upfront for a steam cleaner. However, one thing you will have to bear in mind is that a steam cleaner only requires water for use. If you want to end up saving money in the long run, a higher initial outlay price may just be worth it.
  • Incredibly Hot: The steam used for steam cleaning gets to very high temperatures, which in some cases can be a safety hazard. The user simply needs to be aware of the steam, and understand how to best use their cleaning product to avoid any kind of injury. Although this is listed as a disadvantage, it is actually one of the benefits of steam cleaning as the high temperatures are what ensures the effectiveness.

Recommended Products

Steam cleaning is one of the most popular methods for carpet cleaning on the market today. As a result, steam cleaning machines are becoming more widely available at even more accommodating prices than before. The reason is simple: if you want to bring your carpets back to life, you need to make them feel like new. The great news is that getting your carpet cleaned like it was done professionally no longer requires professionals!

You can find the best carpet steam cleaners down below.

BISSELLProHeat 2X Revolution Max Clean Pet Pro Full-Size Carpet Cleaner, 1986

This product is the best for small areas. It really is like the commercials. This machine is extremely easy to take apart and clean. It is one of the best things about this machine! It is incredibly easy to use. Everything is able to be broke down and thoroughly rinsed out. There’s a rubber plug on top to dump it out when it is full and there is a larger reservoir cap you can remove to rinse out as well as take out the float to remove any pet hairs or debris that may get tangled around it.

It is rated as a good buy for those who need a lightweight, easy-to-steer machine, it covers a lot of space. It can get around to the places you need to clean. Another bonus of this is its heating technology, keeping your clean water at a temperature that makes steaming it effective. It has the dual dirt lifter brushes and heatwave technology to keep your clean water hot with our previous listing, too. A selection of accessories ensures you have the right tool for almost any job.

Hoover Power Scrub Deluxe Carpet Cleaner Machine, Upright Shampooer, FH50150

This product is best for area rugs. It is budget-conscious while being a well-functioning machine on all levels. Its weight when full still makes it easy to move to those places a shorter hose can’t reach. Heating air to aid drying is part of the suction process, so in addition to good water extraction, it speeds up evaporation of the remaining dampness. You will be able to replace your furniture faster. You will like the separate detergent tank, allowing the machine to mix the correct amount of solution to the clean water for application.

Bissell Big Green Professional Carpet Cleaner Machine, 86T3

This product is probably the best to think of as the professional level machine best fit for homes with large spaces that need to be cleaned often. It is big, it is heavy and it is high-end, better than what you can rent at your local big box store. It does a fantastic job of cleaning carpets. Just make sure to vacuum with a regular vacuum beforehand. The machine isn’t really designed to pick up objects just pull dirt and stains out.

Cleaning on both the forward and backward passes, it pleases its customers on cleaning effectiveness, making deeply discolored carpets look as clean as the day they were installed. A wide head with strong suction ensures it works fast without shortchanging the cleaning process, and it is surprisingly maneuverable for its size. A 10-foot hose makes reaching the more difficult spots easier and keeps the heavy machine in one spot while you do it.

Rug Doctor Might Pro X3 Family Pack Vacuum

This product is a user-friendly machine, despite some of its drawbacks. This is the machine closest to what the pros use, and best for people with lots of areas to cover and planning to clean often. Water extraction is thorough, translating into no time for mold or mildew to develop. You can walk on your rugs in four hours or less. Beyond carpet, beyond clean; carpets will feel clean, refreshed, renewed, rejuvenated, hygienic, spotless and flawless for a happier and healthier home.

Big suction makes for deep stain removal and fast dry times but also big noise. The motor is substantial, along with the reservoirs, so consider this a very heavy model. It can be difficult to figure out how much cleaning solution to add since measuring is not simple. Features include dual brushes that make fast work of dirt and stain removal. You can leave the machine at one end of your room and probably touch the other. Tank size is almost three times the average.

Hoover PowerDash Pet Compact Carpet Cleaner, Lightweight, FH50700

This product is best for apartments and condos. This is the ideal carpet cleaning machine for apartment-dwellers with pets and carpets. It is small but extremely powerful! The soap that comes with it is excellent! It is so much lighter and it is hard to believe what a great job it does! The carpet looks amazingly clean after using it.

Maneuvering it around is easy, and the smaller, narrower head reaches under furniture and into tight corners without trouble. Storage isn’t a problem because of its compact size and lightweight.

Its clean water tank size is about three-quarters of a gallon. No measuring of cleaning solution because marks on the tank tell you how much to put in. A couple of negatives are the lack of a hose and attachments, so you won’t be using this for the furniture or crevasses on the staircase. The short reach of the power cord means you might be moving that around quite a bit too. Available settings cover basic needs, best for use when you don’t have big spaces to clean.

Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like history and reading about carpets. I like to play soccer too :)

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