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The Best Way to Clean Carpets

Updated on July 13, 2012

There are many ways to clean carpets and with so many cleaning products available for you to choose, it can be confusing to find the best method for you.

Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning (also known as hot water extraction) is the best method of cleaning carpets as it gets to the root of the problem by removing dirt and dried on stains deep within the carpet. This method is best when used in conjunction with a cleaning solution to give a thorough clean.

So how do you know what steam cleaning method is best for you and what are the advantages?

Carpet after steam cleaning
Carpet after steam cleaning | Source

Professional Steam Cleaning Services

There are many professional services available for steam cleaning carpets. A steam cleaning service can be hired and as these professionals have experience in cleaning different carpet materials, they will know exactly how to get the best results. Different carpet materials require different amounts of water and solution and the professionals will also know what solution to use to remove each individual stain you might have.

Professional services are generally better than home services as they use a higher pressure and temperature than home steam vacuums. This increased pressure loosens dirt more thoroughly and effectively, making your carpets cleaner.

Home Steam Cleaning

If you choose not to hire a professional service, you can rent steam carpet cleaning machines like the Rug Doctor or buy a domestic steam cleaning machine.

The hot water from these machine is combined with a cleaning solution to scrub away stains and give the carpet a thorough clean before the dirt and particles are then sucked away using the vacuum.

Home steam cleaning machines are not as effective as the professional ones as they do not reach the same temperatures, however, they are more effective than other carpet cleaning methods.

How to Steam Clean Carpets

While each Carpet Cleaner is different, here is a rough guide on how to steam clean your carpets at home.

  1. Rent a steam cleaner machine such as a Rug Doctor from your local hardware or grocery store. Usually the machine will come with the necessary cleaning products, however, you may have to purchase them separately - so be sure to check.
  2. First vacuum the floor thoroughly using the machine to pick up any surface dirt.
  3. Spray any stains or heavily soiled areas of the carpet with pre-spray or a cleaner.
  4. Fill the machine with hot tap water until it reaches the fill line on the reservoir or hose (this will depend on the machine, check the instructions on each individual one)
  5. Fill the machine with the amount of carpet shampoo recommended in the instructions
  6. Use the machine as outlined in the machines instructions
  7. Once completed, test the carpet to ensure you have removed enough water. If you place your hand onto the carpet and when you lift it up it is covered with water, extract the water again. If your hand only feels damp when you place it on the carpet, you've extracted enough water.
  8. Wait for the carpet to dry completely before walking on it. It may be necessary to use fans or open windows, especially if you clean your carpets during the winter or on a cold day.

Benefits of Steam Cleaning Your Carpets

  • The high temperatures kill dust mites, bacteria, mold and fungus from within the carpet
  • The deep clean is great for making a healthier home for all, especially allergy sufferers
  • Steam cleaning does not leave residues like spray foams or other carpet cleaners


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    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      No worries, Heather! They're actually really easy! Truth be known, once in high school, a friend and I cleaned her house with a rented steam cleaner just to give us something to do over our long summer holidays - and get extra brownie points from her Mum! :P

    • Heather63 profile image

      Heather Adams 5 years ago from Connecticut, USA

      I've always been intimidated by the idea of renting a steam cleaner. Laying out the step-by-step for how to do it helped calm my fears a little. Thanks for the info!

    • kissayer profile image

      Kristy Sayer 5 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Thank you! It sounds like a great idea to get an initial professional clean and then maintain it yourself.

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 5 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      This was really interesting for me, espcially at the moment as I'm in the middle of choosing either the 'professionals' or buy my own steam cleaner. Having my own means I can do the cleaning when I want and move the furniture around to suit myself. But having the pro's in, means that the carpet is genuinely getting a good clean - especially as you say when it gets rid of bugs etc. I think after reading your hub, for the initial clean I'll get a professional in and then maybe get a small steam cleaner just for quick spruce up from time to time.

      Great hub and very, very useful + voted up!