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Carpet Steam Cleaners

Updated on April 27, 2010

I used to wonder why anyone would have dark colored carpets throughout their house but I think I understand that it’s because they can’t afford carpet steam cleaning. I like my rooms light and airy and the dark blue carpet in a house a used to rent back when I was a student was just so draining and depressing. However fast forward 5 years to my own house with its beautiful cream carpet and I think I’ve learnt part of the reason. I don’t yet have kids running around throwing their food all over the place. I don’t have a dog running around the house with wet dirty paws fresh from their dip in the local lake. I don’t even have careless friends who continually knock mugs and glasses over in my house. And yet I still have filth carpets with various stains on and I have no one to blame but myself and my wife… and yes I do blame her even though it’s not her fault!

The simple fact is that light colored carpets get dirty really easily and really fast and no matter how much hovering we do I’ve had to accept that at least twice a year I need the whole house cleaned with a carpet steam cleaner. And while it’s a hassle I’m always delighted when I do because it’s like getting a new home again. The carpets look new, they smell new and I no longer feel dirty inside!

In this article I intend to keep singing the praises of steam cleaners until you rent one or buy one! We’ll look at what they do, why they’re great, whether to rent or buy, accessories and big brand names. If by the end of this you still haven’t had enough then check out my carpet steam cleaner reviews hub. So let’s get started.

Of course you need to keep hovering your carpets each week (are you doing that!?) but a hoover will only get you so far. They do nothing for stains and they don’t get deep down into the fibers of the carpet to remove all the crap that lurks beneath. For instance carpets once dirty are full of allergens and mites that only a good steam can get at. Furthermore if you have any decent amount of carpet you will find that this is the only efficient method of getting the job done unless you want to spend the rest of your life at the task. If you just want to focus on a stain or two then yes there are other products and methods available but you will then end up with spots of great carpet while the rest looks rubbish. Get it all done at once.

What They Do.

What most conventional carpet steam cleaners do is force heated water mixed with a cleaning solution into your carpet at high pressure creating a cleaning steam while simultaneously hovering it back up again. Due to the high temperature of the steam although your carpets will be damp for a couple of hours afterwards they do dry very fast. The heated solution blasts deep into the fibers dislodging all dirt, debris and stain molecules and then sucks them up into a waste water compartment. Cool.

You are still giving your carpets a sort of wet wash so to be clear these machines are different from a vapor steam cleaner that doesn’t use detergents and does just use even hotter steam to get the job done. However they don’t get the job done as well, in my opinion. A commercial carpet steam cleaner is what the professionals use so I’m not going to second guessing them.

If you’re going to do the work yourself rather than call in an expert then do take the time to hoover your carpet before using the steamer. Just because it can take up all filth doesn’t mean you want to start clogging up the machinery with unnecessary hair and litter that is more suited to a domestic hoover, this is similar to making sure you sweep a floor before mopping.

Buy your own, hire help or rent?

These are your three options when it comes to getting the work done. Personally I’m fairly lazy and like to know the work is going to be done 100% properly so I tend to bit the bullet and go to the extra expense of bringing in the profession carpet cleaners twice a year. However they’re not cheap especially if you have a large house and this definitely isn’t the financially sensible way to go in the long term unless you’re loaded.

I did once go for the carpet steam cleaner rental option and there’s nothing wrong with that especially if you don’t actually want a steam cleaner cluttering up your home. Nevertheless it doesn’t take long to realize that once you’ve hired a carpet stem cleaner two or three times you might as well have bought your own, giving you the freedom to do the work whenever you need to and having the added bonus of owning the steamer outright. If you have a large house and cream carpets I think it’s worth buying your own.


You will want and expect some of the following features from your cleaner,

1.    Rotating brushes – the force of the hot solution is one think but rotating brushes that then scrub this solution deep into the carpet, before it is sucked up, will certainly help.
2.    Separate cylinders for clean and dirty water – this should come as standard, just keep an eye that the dirty water cylinder is as big as the clean water one. You don’t want to be emptying one before it’s time to fill up the other.
3.    Accessories and attachments – Personally I like as many gadgets as possible, but seriously if you’re actually going to buy one then the more attachments it has the more different jobs you’ll be able to use it for.
4.    Built in hot water heater - you will find this on some of the more expensive models. The hotter the water the better the cleaning. If you’ve got a big house, and you’re not close to your hot water supplyn then this will help with the efficiency of your work. More of a luxury option I guess.

Best carpet steam cleaners

I’ve always believed that, for the most part, you get what you pay for, so I would suggest that the best carpet steam cleaner is probably the one that costs the most! However there’s no need to go crazy. The most important thing is to buy a brand you trust and make sure you have a good warranty. The big names in the field are Hoover, Bissell and to a lesser extent Dirt Devil.

One final word, just because you want to add a carpet cleaning solution to your steam wash doesn’t mean you have to buy the same brand cleaning solution as the make of your cleaner. Of course they’re going to recommend you use their own brand but you won’t break the machine buying another similar, and probably cheaper, solution. So get steaming!


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