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Posted on July 20, 2023

Carpets are not only an integral part of our home decor but also a significant investment. Over time, they accumulate dirt, stains, and allergens that can affect indoor air quality and the carpet’s longevity.

Regular carpet maintenance is essential to keep your carpets looking fresh and to create a healthier living environment. There are various methods of carpet cleaning, with two popular options being traditional carpet cleaning and carpet steam cleaning.

In this blog post, we will explore the differences between these two techniques to help you make an informed decision on the best method for your carpets.

Understanding Carpet Cleaning

how often to clean a carpet

Carpet cleaning involves the removal of dirt, dust, and stains from carpets to improve their appearance and cleanliness. It eliminates surface-level debris and can help freshen up the carpet’s appearance.

Traditional Carpet Cleaning Techniques

  1. Vacuuming: Vacuuming is the most common and basic method of carpet cleaning. It involves using a vacuum cleaner to remove loose dirt, dust, and pet hair from the carpet’s surface. While vacuuming is essential for regular maintenance, it may not be sufficient for deep cleaning.
  2. Shampooing: Shampooing is a method where a specialised carpet shampoo is applied to the carpet and agitated with a brush. The shampoo encapsulates dirt and stains, which are then vacuumed away once the carpet dries. Though it provides a deeper clean than vacuuming, it may not be as effective in removing tough stains.
  3. Bonnet Cleaning: This method involves using a rotating brush and a cleaning solution to agitate the carpet fibres. The dirt is then absorbed by a bonnet pad attached to a machine. Bonnet cleaning is suitable for interim maintenance but may not be as effective in deep cleaning.

Exploring Carpet Steam Cleaning

Carpet cleaning

Carpet steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction, is a popular and highly effective method for deep cleaning carpets. It involves using hot water and cleaning agents under high pressure to extract dirt, stains, and allergens from the carpet fibres.

How Steam Cleaning Works

  1. Pre-treatment: A pre-treatment solution is applied to the carpet to break down tough stains and loosen the embedded dirt.
  2. Hot Water Extraction: Hot water, along with cleaning agents, is injected into the carpet under high pressure. The water, dirt, and cleaning solution are then immediately extracted, leaving the carpet cleaner and almost dry.

Benefits of Steam Cleaning

  1. Deep Cleaning: Steam cleaning reaches deep into the carpet fibres, removing stubborn dirt and grime that other methods might miss.
  2. Allergen and Bacteria Removal: The high-temperature water used in steam cleaning effectively kills bacteria, dust mites, and allergens, promoting a healthier indoor environment.
  3. Environmentally Friendly: Steam cleaning typically uses fewer chemicals compared to some other methods, making it a more eco-friendly option.

Carpet Cleaning vs. Carpet Steam Cleaning

1) Methodology and Equipment

Traditional carpet cleaning methods primarily rely on vacuuming and the use of cleaning agents, while carpet steam cleaning involves hot water extraction equipment.

2) Effectiveness in Stain Removal

Carpet steam cleaning is generally more effective in removing tough stains and deep-seated dirt compared to traditional carpet cleaning methods.

3) Time and Effort Required

Traditional carpet cleaning methods may take less time and effort, but steam cleaning provides a more thorough and longer-lasting result.

4) Impact on Indoor Air Quality

Steam cleaning is superior in terms of improving indoor air quality since it effectively eliminates allergens and bacteria.

Suitability and Limitations

  • Types of Carpets Suitable for Each Method: Carpet steam cleaning is suitable for most types of carpets, including those made of natural fibers. However, some delicate carpets may require alternative cleaning methods.
  • High-Traffic Areas and Tough Stains: For high-traffic areas and carpets with tough stains, steam cleaning is the more recommended option.
  • Considerations for Sensitive Individuals: Individuals with sensitivities to cleaning agents or those looking for eco-friendly solutions may prefer carpet steam cleaning due to its minimal chemical usage.

Comparative Cost of Carpet Cleaning and Carpet Steam Cleaning

While traditional carpet cleaning methods may be cheaper upfront, steam cleaning’s long-term benefits may justify the slightly higher initial cost.

Moreso, the deeper clean and extended carpet life provided by steam cleaning can result in savings on the need for more frequent cleanings or premature carpet replacement.

Should You DIY Carpet Cleaning or Hire Professionals?

Professional carpet cleaners have the expertise and specialised equipment to perform steam cleaning effectively and efficiently.

However, for DIY enthusiasts, steam cleaning machines are available for rent, but it’s essential to follow manufacturer instructions and avoid over-saturating the carpet.

Making the Right Choice for Your Carpet

When deciding what cleaning method is best for your carpet, consider the carpet’s material, age, condition, and the presence of stains or allergens when choosing between the two methods.

Your preferences for eco-friendliness, indoor air quality, and budget will also play a role in your decision.


Both traditional carpet cleaning and carpet steam cleaning have their merits. If you seek a surface-level freshening, traditional carpet cleaning methods may suffice.

However, for a more thorough and deep cleaning, carpet steam cleaning emerges as the superior choice. The investment in steam cleaning not only extends the life of your carpets but also promotes a healthier home environment for you and your loved ones.

At Mint Cleaning, we offer a range of cleaning services, including professional carpet steam cleaning and strive to exceed customer expectations with every job. Get in touch with us today to book your appointment or discuss your carpet cleaning needs!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Carpet Cleaning and Carpet Steam Cleaning

What is the main difference between carpet cleaning and carpet steam cleaning?

Carpet cleaning typically involves surface-level cleaning using methods like vacuuming, shampooing, or bonnet cleaning. On the other hand, carpet steam cleaning, also known as hot water extraction, uses hot water and cleaning agents under high pressure to deeply clean and extract dirt, stains, and allergens from the carpet fibers.

Is steam cleaning safe for all types of carpets?

Steam cleaning is generally safe for most types of carpets, including those made of natural fibers like wool or synthetic materials like nylon. However, delicate carpets, such as antique or handmade rugs, may require specialised cleaning methods to avoid damage.

How often should I get my carpets professionally cleaned?

The frequency of professional carpet cleaning depends on various factors, including foot traffic, the presence of pets, and any specific stains or spills. As a general rule, getting your carpets professionally cleaned every 12 to 18 months can help maintain their appearance and longevity.

Can I perform carpet steam cleaning myself using a rental machine?

Yes, you can perform carpet steam cleaning yourself using rental machines available at many home improvement stores. However, it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and take precautions to avoid over-saturating the carpet, which could lead to mold or mildew growth.

Will carpet steam cleaning remove tough stains completely?

Carpet steam cleaning is highly effective in removing tough stains, especially when paired with pre-treatment solutions. However, some old or stubborn stains may require specialised stain removal techniques or multiple cleaning sessions.

Does carpet steam cleaning leave the carpet wet for an extended period?

While carpet steam cleaning uses hot water, the extraction process is efficient, and the carpet should dry within a few hours. Proper ventilation can help expedite the drying process.

How does carpet steam cleaning benefit indoor air quality?

Carpet steam cleaning helps improve indoor air quality by effectively eliminating allergens, dust mites, and bacteria trapped deep within the carpet fibers. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with allergies or respiratory issues.

Can carpet steam cleaning damage my carpets?

When performed correctly, carpet steam cleaning should not damage carpets. However, over-wetting or using improper cleaning agents can potentially lead to carpet shrinkage, color bleeding, or mold growth. Hiring a professional cleaner with experience in steam cleaning is recommended to avoid such issues.

Which method is more cost-effective in the long run: carpet cleaning or carpet steam cleaning?

Though carpet cleaning methods may be cheaper upfront, carpet steam cleaning offers long-term cost-effectiveness. Its deep cleaning capabilities can extend the carpet’s life, reducing the need for frequent cleaning or premature replacement.

Are there any specific precautions to take after carpet steam cleaning?

After carpet steam cleaning, avoid walking on the damp carpet until it’s completely dry to prevent re-soiling and potential slipping. Also, use furniture coasters or pads to prevent wood or metal legs from staining the carpet while it dries.

Remember that these FAQs provide general information, but individual situations may vary. For specific concerns or carpet care advice, consult a professional carpet cleaning service.