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Steam Cleaning Carpet VS Shampooing

Carpet is a textile material, used to cover floors. It can be used on different types of flooring. But it is most preferred or used on concrete floors. There are two main functions that it provides; heat and aesthetic value. The aesthetic value is what attracts most homeowners to it, depending on the material, design, and color. The only drawback is the strong affinity to dirt, thus it requires regular cleaning

There are different methods of cleaning a carpet. But the two main methods are steam cleaning and shampooing. The steam cleaning method involves the use of a steam mop which uses hot water vapor.

The steam can be viewed as a natural disinfectant and is effective in carpet cleaning. Shampooing, on the other hand, involves the use of chemical sanitizers for the cleaning process. Both methods are effective but which one is best and which comes short of the other?

Differences Between Steam Cleaning and Shampooing a Carpet

As earlier stated, they are both effective methods of cleaning a carpet but some differences exist between them. They include.

1. Cleaning agent

 Steam cleaning employs the use of steam which is measured at 212°F/100°C. It can break down grimes, grease, and dirt. Shampooing as the name suggests, involves the use of shampoo. However other chemicals may be required as well.

2. Elimination of germs

 As a result of the high temperature of the steam, it is sure to sanitize carpets. Not only does it clean up dirt, but spores, mildew, among others are also removed up to 99 percent. Not all shampoos have the propensity to get rid of all germs and allergens as well.

3. Cleaning residue

Seam cleaners only use water as their cleaning agent, which is boiled to steam. This does not leave any form of residue after cleaning. The other method depending on the type of chemical is sure to leave a stain on the carpet.

4. Drying time

It does not take time for steam to evaporate, to leave a dry carpet at the end of the cleanup. Shampooing involves the use of water which takes a longer time to dry off. 

5. Pest control

Common pests that infest carpets like bed bugs and fleas are easily killed off by the high temperature of the steam. This includes their eggs as well. Some of the chemicals are sure to get rid of a pest infestation but their eggs are unaffected by their application.

These are the main differences between the two cleaning methods but this may not tell much, let’s take a closer look at each.

Steam Cleaning Carpet: What It Entails

Overview:  Steam cleaning employs the use of steam cleaners. They are special equipment that operates with the use of steam as its cleaning agent. They come with cleaning attachments that enable them to clean carpeted surfaces. To top things off, some of these cleaners come with their floor cleaner.

Pros of steam cleaning

  • The use of high temperature for its operation is a natural disinfectant.
  • This method works on large surface areas.
  • Complete eradication of pests and their eggs is ensured.
  • It eliminates the need for the use of chemicals which may be toxic to both pets and humans.
  • Carpets are given a complete cleanup of allergens, stains, and grime.

Cons of Steam Cleaning

  • A carpet with deep silage can be difficult to clean.
  • If mishandled can lead to injuries such as scales and burns.
  • Extra cleaning agents may need to be used to get rid of stubborn stains.

Shampooing Carpet: What It Entails

Overview: This method involves the use of a shampooing machine. It consists of a tank to store the cleaning solution and a nylon brush for an attachment. The machine works by injecting the solution into the carpet fibers, while the brush spins.

This simultaneous action breaks down dirt and stains. Foam is produced during this process. It is expedient to vacuum the carpet to take care of loose dirt, before and after shampooing.

Pros of Shampooing Carpet

  • It works well on carpets with high soilage.
  • It leaves the carpet with nice aromas after cleaning. Musty smells and other offensive odor are gotten rid of.
  • It removes dust mites.
  • It restores the color of the carpet.

Cons of Shampooing Carpet

  • Fibers of carpets are damaged or weakened due to the scrubbing of the brush.
  • Soap residue left behind on the carpet can attract more dirt and dust. It makes cleaning counterproductive.
  • Carpets of large surfaces require a long time duration to dry.

Why Is Steam Carpet Cleaning The Best

Personally, overtime, steam cleaning of my carpet has proven more effective for me. Between both methods, I think steam carpet cleaning works best. This section will be dedicated to why the steam cleaning method is the best to go for.

a. It Removes Pollutants From Carpets

Carpets are known to house several pollutants such as pet dander (tiny shedded skin of pets), dead insects, and lead among other foreign materials. Volatile organic compounds from paint and other chemicals can also be trapped in carpets.

These are hazardous to health and reduce the air quality around. The best way of getting rid of all these is with steam cleaning. The wet cleaning will be sure to pick up all microscopic materials, also the steam cleanses the air and improves its quality.

b. It Gets Rid of Dust Mites

Dust mites and their waste products are a major part of allergens, which are easy to breathe in, thanks to their microscopic nature. It can thrive in a moist and warm environment, this condition makes carpet an accomplice of some sorts.

Keeping carpets well ventilated is a good preventive measure, even though they easily get humid. The hot temperature of the steam is sure to get rid of these microscopic insects and their eggs if any.

c. It Helps Get Rid Of Mold

For mold to thrive, the following conditions need to be met; a surface to grow, dust, moisture, and oxygen. Carpets unfortunately meet all the requirements. They can trap the aforementioned quite easily, which if accumulated over time will result in a mold infestation.

The key prevention of mold is ensuring that the carpets are kept dry and receive adequate ventilation. Molds are quite easy to get rid of, with the aid of a steam cleaner. With ease, the carpet is ensured of a 100% mold removal, which makes it clean and renewed.

d. It Extends The Life Of The Carpet

Carpets are deemed unworthy to use when the original color is lost or is tainted with permanent stains, mold growth, or stubborn and deep soilage. The original beauty and appeal to the owners/users are then lost.

Using rough methods of cleaning like shampooing has the tendency to rough up and weaken the carpet fibers. So if care is not taken while using any cleaning method on the carpet, it will be denatured and so its lifespan will reduce.

 The steam cleaning method is a sure and safe way, which will give a deep carpet cleaning without ruining the fibers. So this cleaning method is sure to extend the average lifespan of a carpet.

e. It Restores And Renews The Aesthetic And Comfort Value Of The Carpet

 Steam cleaning your carpet regularly is a great and reliable way of getting rid of dirt and hidden debris. The deep cleansing power restores the carpet to its original shine and beauty that was once there.

Walking on clean carpets barefoot is comforting, on the other hand, a dirty carpet is rather repulsive. So steam clean your carpets for a more comfortable environment.


In conclusion, both methods are good for carpet cleaning, depending on the extent of stains and grime. Shampooing is a great way to get rid of deep stains while leaving a refreshing aroma behind. But this method has a danger of ruining the carpet fibers and leaving residue.

Also, it is not an effective method of getting rid of allergens and germs. The machine too is quite expensive to own, which is why it is available for rent

Steam cleaning offers both stain removal and disinfection. It is easy to use and it works well over large areas. Plus the drying time is short. It may not work well on deep stains unless used with extra chemicals.

The method to choose should be dependent on the need at hand, whichever you choose will be just fine.