How To Steam Clean Carpet

If your carpet has stains and dirt that have set in that your vacuum cleaner can’t reach, you’re probably wondering how to steam clean carpet. Steam cleaning your carpet is a good way of removing stains, dirt, and odor from your carpet.

Steam cleaning may seem like a difficult process, but it’s a actually task that you can carry out by yourself. You just need to know how to steam clean carpet properly using a steam cleaning machine, soap, and water.

Once you’ve vacuumed the room thoroughly first and otherwise prepared the area, the actual cleaning will go much faster. The results will be quite impressive.

What Is Steam Cleaning A Carpet?

Another phrase for steam cleaning is deep cleaning. It uses heated water, and is the only carpet cleaning method that can remove almost all dirt and bacteria from your carpet. Steam cleaning is a process in which vaporized water is used to clean your carpet. The vapor, mixed with detergent, breaks down any dirt in your carpet to give it a fantastic clean.

Carpet that has been steam cleaned takes between 8-24 hours to completely dry. However, if you aren’t using the traditional steam cleaning methods of using lots of water, your carpet will only take 4-8 hours to dry.

How To Steam Clean Carpet: Step By Step

Remove furniture and everything on the floor

You can steam clean more effectively if there are no obstacles on the floor. If possible, remove all the furniture from the room to get as much clear space as you can. If there is furniture that is too heavy to move, place plastic wrap, foil, paper, or wood under the legs to protect it from moisture.

You can also move the furniture to one side of the room. Once you’re done cleaning that side of the room, move the furniture to the clean side, and clean the second half.

Dust all surfaces thoroughly

Before you clean your carpet, use a dust cloth or a long-handled duster to remove dust from your baseboards, picture frames, ceiling fans, windowsills, corners, and any other surface to prevent dust from falling on your already steamed carpet.

Vacuum the carpet

Steam cleaners are meant to remove small dirt particles that are deep in your carpet, not large dirt particles and hair. Use a regular vacuum to clean your carpet and remove the top layer of dust, dirt, and debris. This will help the steam cleaner concentrate on removing the deep stains and grime.

Vacuum the room twice to get as much large debris as possible. Use the nozzle attachment to clean the corners and baseboards.

Pre-treat stains

Use a stain remover or other means to remove set-in stains. After allowing the treatment to sit for ten or fifteen minutes, either blot out the stain remover with a cloth or leave it for the steam cleaner. Never scrub a stain. Just dab it with a cloth to avoid the stain from going deeper into your carpet.

Add hot water and detergent

Fill the steam cleaner with hot water and some cleaning solution. Some steam cleaners come with detergent and directions on how to use it. Using a lot of soap could damage the cleaner or ruin your carpet.

Some carpets made with natural fiber can shrink if cleaned with hot water or detergent, so make sure you know the kind of carpet you’re steam cleaning.

If you’re sensitive to chemicals or detergents, you can opt to use vinegar as a natural option, which is great for cleaning. Mix the vinegar and hot water in equal portions.

Start steam cleaning the entire room

Start steam cleaning your carpet from the furthest corner from the door of the room. Steam clean your carpet in straight lines to make sure you don’t miss any spots. Move towards the door so that you don’t step on the wet carpet after you finish.

Steam clean in long lines across the room

Steam cleaning is more effective if you steam clean using long passes from wall to wall. Walk from one corner to the opposite wall and back, passing over the same line twice. As you walk forward, the steamer pours soapy water out, and when you walk back it sucks it up.

Don’t use short strokes back and forth as you would with a vacuum. Overlap each line to make sure you don’t leave dirty lines on the carpet.

Move slowly

Steam cleaners are slower than vacuums, so pull the machine slowly to give it time to break down and suck up dirt and remove excess water. If you have time, you can go over the cleaned area again with just a mixture of warm water and vinegar to remove any soap left in your carpet.

Let your carpet dry completely

Some carpets take 6-8 hours to completely dry, while others take 12-24 hours. If possible, avoid walking on the carpet or placing any objects on the floor until it completely dries. If you have to, wear plastic bags over your feet so that you don’t leave any dirty tracks on your wet carpet.

To help your carpet dry faster, turn on the ceiling fans, air conditioner, floor fans, or floor blowers. Or you can open the windows to let in more air if it’s a warm day. This will help prevent mildew and mold from forming in your carpet.

Protect yourself from the fumes

If you use soap or shampoo to steam clean your carpet, the chances are there will be a strong scent that lingers in the room for a while. To prevent the smell from making you sick, open the windows and doors to allow air in.

Also, after you’ve finished using a steam cleaner, go outside to get some fresh air. This will help avoid ending up with a headache from the smell.


With the above points on how to steam clean carpet, you can now easily do it yourself. Just makes sure you remove all movable furniture from the room, vacuum and dust, steam clean slowly in a straight line, and let it completely dry before returning the furniture or stepping on it.

Steam cleaning is good if you have pets or allergies to help reduce dust in your home and keep your carpet clean.