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Steaming Carpets VS Shampooing: The Key Differences

Steaming Carpets VS Shampooing: The Key Differences

When it comes to steaming carpets vs shampooing it can be difficult to understand the differences and even more so to choose which one is better for your circumstances. Although there are many differences between the two, they can both be summarized quite easily.

In general, steam cleaning is a less thorough cleaning process that uses high-temperature steam. Shampooing, on the other hand, uses a thick foam of shampoo whilst agitating the pile of the carpet using a brush to pick up more dirt and debris.

Let’s jump into the specifics of each method to see which is more suited to your circumstances.

What Is Carpet Steaming?

Carpet steaming uses a source of steam and a powerful pump to send steam into the carpet, which is then sucked back up through a hose. The steam picks up dirt and debris as it circulates around the carpet and kills any bacteria or insects like fleas due to the high temperature.

Carpet Steaming Advantages

The main benefits of steaming a carpet come from steam being the only ingredient, but there are also a few others as well.

  • Doesn’t require any chemicals – Carpet steaming only uses water, which makes it environmentally friendly as well as easier as no chemicals are involved.
  • Dries Quickly – It usually takes between 6 and 12 hours for a carpet to fully dry after steam cleaning, which isn’t long to wait at all.
  • Kills Insects such as fleas – Due to the high temperature of the steam, insects and other pests stand little chance of surviving. This makes it a good method for removing fleas, which are quite common in households with pets.

Carpet Steaming Disadvantages

It isn’t all good news, however, and there are also some clear disadvantages to carpet steaming.

  • Usually done by a professional – Because of the nature of the equipment required, carpet steam cleaning is usually outsourced to a professional. Although this (usually) guarantees a good job, it also increases the costs due to the call out charge and labor.
  • Not as deep of a clean as carpet shampooing – Carpet steaming doesn’t use any detergents, which means it cant tackle some stubborn stains that may require it. Also, most carpet steamers don’t use a brush to kick up dirt from deep within the carpet pile which means it doesn’t clean as deeply as a shampooing method would normally achieve.

How Often Should You Steam A Carpet?

Carpet steaming is a luxury treatment for your carpet that you should ideally have done at least every year, if not more.

This depends highly on your budget and whether you have your own machine or – more likely – have to hire a professional each time. Another factor is the amount of traffic that your carpet sees on a regular basis, busier areas will need to be cleaned more regularly.

The bottom line is that carpet steaming is something that is underrated and not used as often as it should be, however, it is understandable given the cost.

Now let’s take a look at carpet shampooing, the other method for deep cleaning a carpet.

What Is Carpet Shampooing?

Carpet shampooing uses carpet shampoo – a special solution of detergent and/or soap – to create a thick foam that is applied directly to the carpet.

Brushes are used to disturb the carpet and pick up dirt and debris from deep within the carpet pile, as the soap is applied. After cleaning the carpet is rinsed with hot water and then dried with a powerful vacuum.

Carpet Shampooing Advantages

Carpet shampooing has a number of advantages over carpet steaming – let’s take a look.

  • Deeper Clean – Carpet shampooing cleans deeper than steam cleaning. This is because the carpet shampoo itself can tackle deeper stains, as well as the brush that lifts deep dirt and debris from the carpet.
  • Easier to buy/rent a machine – Unlike steam cleaning, it is much easier to buy or rent a carpet shampooing machine that you can use yourself. This can work out much cheaper over time as you don’t need to hire a professional every time you want to give your carpet a thorough clean.
  • Different Attachments – Some carpet shampooing machines come with attachments that can be used on other surfaces as well, such as upholstery.

Carpet Shampooing Disadvantages

Carpet shampooing comes with its own set of disadvantages as well, just like any carpet cleaning method.

  • Longer to dry – It can take up to 24 hours for a carpet to dry out completely from shampooing, depending on the type of material. Materials such as wool will take longer to dry on average, as an example.
  • Need to buy shampoo – Unlike steam cleaning, carpet shampooing machines require shampoo to work. This means that you will have to purchase this, although it does cost less in the long term compared to hiring a professional to steam your carpet every time.

How Often Should You Shampoo A Carpet?

Carpet shampooing is similar to carpet steaming in that you should get it done once or more per year, depending on the circumstances.

If you buy a machine outright you can definitely afford to shampoo a couple of times per year if you want to keep your carpets in pristine condition.

How To Choose The Right Type

Deciding between steaming carpets vs shampooing them can be a difficult decision, but hopefully, you can read through the advantages and disadvantages of each type to see which one would suit your situation better.

If you have the money to invest in a machine and want to keep your carpets clean for years to come, then shampooing might be the best option. If you only want your carpets cleaned once per year or less, then steaming could be the right choice.

It all depends on your circumstances, budget, and how much traffic your carpet receives on a daily basis.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to consider the best option between steaming carpets vs shampooing them is a wise decision, and you can use the points in this article to influence your choice.

If you have any other points that you feel should be added to this article then please let us know!