Steam Cleaner Vs Carpet Cleaner

Welcome to our article on the great “steam cleaner vs carpet cleaner” debate!

There’s a reason this debate exists. Most homes and offices have carpets that see a lot of dirt and dust every day. There is a large accumulation of dirt, dust, food particles, sticky substances, and spills, on top of heavy foot traffic that grinds deep stains into the carpet. These carpets also harbor bacteria and dust mites.

That is why it’s important to have your carpet professionally cleaned at least twice a year. But in the meantime, there are many daily cleaning methods you can easily carry out at home to keep your carpet clean and disinfected.

There are two ways you can clean your carpet: steam cleaning and carpet cleaning. You may be wondering how effective these two methods are and what drawbacks there may be.

Steam Cleaner Vs Carpet Cleaner: How Steam Cleaning Works

A steam cleaner usually uses warm to hot water to loosen the dirt in your carpet, then uses a vacuum to extract the dirt from the carpet fibers. A spray of water forces the dirt out of your carpet and the vacuum in front of the steamer sucks it up. Some steamers use cold water that is then heated until it boils, which can be risky if the water line breaks.

Steam Cleaner Vs Carpet Cleaner: How Carpet Cleaning Works

A mixture of cold or warm water and cleaning detergent creates a cleaning solution that is used in the carpet cleaner to remove dirt in your carpet. The carpet cleaner sprays the cleaning solution or dry foam on your carpet and a revolving brush loosens the dirt from your carpet fibers. Sometimes, your carpet can get oversaturated with water which can prolong the drying process. The brush may also cause damage to the carpet fibers.

While they both leave your carpet clean, carpet cleaners sometimes may leave dirt on your carpet.

Steam Cleaner Vs Carpet Cleaner: Comparing Two Methods

A thorough steam cleaner vs carpet cleaner comparison will help answer some of the questions you might have about this great “steam cleaner vs carpet cleaner” debate.

Method of removing dirt

When cleaning your carpet with a steam cleaner, the steam helps to break down the dirt, grease stains, and grime in your carpet. A spray of the hot steam on your carpet forces dirt from the carpet fibers while the vacuum in front of the spray sucks up the dirt immediately.

The carpet cleaner uses water and a cleaning solution that is sprayed on your carpet. Rotating brushes loosen the dirt, stains, and grime which is then sucked up by the cleaning machine.

Sanitizing and disinfecting your carpet

Steam cleaning occurs at very high temperatures, which will help to sanitize and disinfect your carpet. It will be effective in killing almost all the germs, bacteria, and spores deep in your carpet fibers, flooring, and carpet padding.

On the other hand, a carpet cleaner isn’t as effective in killing germs and bacteria.

Level of cleanliness

Carpet cleaners only clean the surface of the carpet, which means that they will clean the top part of the carpet fibers, but may not clean away the dirt and grime at the bottom of your carpet.

Steam cleaners, on the other hand, provide a deep clean that can penetrate deep into your carpet fibers to remove all the dirt.

Removing chemical residue

Steam cleaners use only hot water that emits hot vapor to clean the carpet. This means that they don’t use any chemicals to clean your carpet, so there is no chemical residue left in your carpet fibers after cleaning.

The opposite is the case when it comes to carpet cleaners. Since a carpet cleaning solution or shampoo is used, it will leave a chemical residue on your carpet that needs to be completely removed so that it doesn’t damage your carpet fibers.

Duration of drying

A carpet that has been cleaned using a steam cleaner takes very little time to dry since the steam evaporates quickly from your carpet.

As for a carpet that has been shampooed, it will take around 6-12 hours to dry depending on the size of the carpet and the amount of moisture left in the fibers.

Kills pests and their eggs

The hot water that comes out as hot steam, with the steam cleaning method, is of such high temperature that it’s able to kill pests like fleas and bedbugs, together with their eggs.

While some cleaning solutions are also able to kill pests, they’re not able to penetrate deep into your carpet to kill their eggs.

Advantages Of Steam Cleaning

  • Safe to use around your kids and pets because it doesn’t use any chemicals
  • Steam vapor has been known to kill most the germs and bacteria
  • You use very little water to clean your carpet, so it dries very quickly
  • Steam vapor can kill bedbugs and dust mites
  • A very effective method when cleaning a wall-to-wall carpet
  • Steam cleaners are versatile, small, and easy to maneuver to reach corners and edges


  • Not suitable for cleaning very dirty carpets
  • Steam can’t remove stains from your carpet without pre-treating it
  • A steam cleaner doesn’t vacuum
  • May be hard to use in large rooms

Advantages Of Carpet Cleaners

  • Very effective in cleaning very dirty carpets
  • Loosens the soil deep in your carpet fibers
  • You don’t need to purchase the equipment, as they’re widely available for rent
  • You can use it to clean large carpets
  • Kills pests and allergens in your carpet
  • It’s easy to remove the water and dirt at the same time when cleaning


  • It’s an expensive, bulky, and hard-to-store machine
  • Scrubbing to remove stains can damage and weaken your carpet
  • It will take longer for large carpets and rugs to dry
  • Soap residue remains on your carpet, which can attract more dirt and dust
  • Applying too much water when cleaning can ruin the carpet backing


Both cleaning methods are very effective. However, the steam cleaner vs carpet cleaner comparison as shown above may make it clear which one will work best for your circumstances.

For very dirty carpets, it’s better to use a carpet cleaner than a steam cleaner.

On the other hand, a steam cleaner does a great job of cleaning and disinfecting your carpet without using any chemicals, which is safe for your kids and pets. It’s also much cheaper to buy than a bulky carpet cleaner.

The steam cleaner vs carpet cleaner comparison will help you choose the method that is effective with the cleaning your carpet needs.