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How To Steam Clean Carpet





We recommend that you have your carpet professionally steam cleaned at least once a year (Consult your carpets manufacturer before having it professionally cleaned.  Some manufacturers recommend dry cleaning for their products.  Some fibers like wool may be damaged if improperly cleaned).  In fact, failing to do so can void some carpet warranties.  You’d be amazed at the amount of filth that can build up within a carpet over just one year’s time.  It’s not unusual to encounter houses with up to one pound of dirt embedded per square yard of carpet.  Besides absorbing dirt, without periodic deep cleaning your carpet can become a breeding ground for bacteria, mites, and harmful allergens.  This can exasperate health problems such as asthma and allergies.

Besides the health risks associated with unsanitary carpet conditions, allowing dirt and grime to build up within a carpet can lead to carpet damage by way of abrasion.  This abrasion can cause fiber damage as well as mating and packing in high traffic areas.  Although regular vacuuming will slow down the build up of dirt and grime deep within your carpets pile, steam cleaning is required to restore your carpet to its former beauty and cleanliness.

“Deep cleaning”, often called steam cleaning or hot water extraction does not actually use steam in most cases.  Even though the machines used to deep clean carpet are often called steam cleaners, they don’t actually use steam.  They spray a solution of hot water mixed with detergent into the carpet, then use powerful brushes to agitate the carpet.  This solution is then extracted from the carpet via a powerful suction device sending it to a holding tank.  This holding tank can either reside on a truck outside the house, or within a portable unit inside.

Steam cleaning not only removes potential health hazards from your carpet such as bacteria and mites, it also restores your carpets natural beauty.  It can also reduce matting and packing caused by dirt build up in high traffic areas.  Regular steam cleaning will do wonders for your carpets appearance.

You can either hire a professional to steam clean your carpet, or you can rent or purchase a machine and do it yourself.  We recommend that you hire a professional as some carpet types require special cleaning techniques.  Cleaning your carpet incorrectly can in some cases cause shrinking, permanent staining, and/or the fibers to untwist.  The twist of a carpet’s pile is heat set.  In some cases such as with a formal plush, incorrectly steam cleaning the carpet can cause the carpet’s twist to unravel damaging its appearance significantly. 

Purchasing your own steam cleaner is also expensive.  A quality portable steam cleaner can cost upwards of $250.  Some people also theorize that it’s healthier to have the removed carpet gunk suctioned out of the house into a holding tank on a truck rather than into a portable unit where in theory it’s possible to breathe the removed allergens, fumes, and general filth.

If you decide to hire a professional it’s very important that you find knowledgeable, proficient cleaners.  Sloppy, poorly trained carpet cleaners may use inadequate or incorrect cleaning procedures that can in some cases leave a film of detergent residue across your carpet.  This residue will attract dirt like flies to honey, and in many cases leave your carpet in worse condition than it was before steam cleaning.  We recommend that you contact the Better Business Bureau before contracting with any carpet cleaning business.

For more information on carpet maintenance please read our basic carpet care guide.