shampoo carpets, steam carpets

Is It Better to Shampoo or Steam Clean Carpets?

May 9, 2023 6:35 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

If you have children or pets, or just like a clean home, vacuum your floors at least once a week or more. Even without the constant traffic from children and pets, dirt can build up rather quickly. Shampooing and steam cleaning are two ways you can deep clean your carpets and get rid of the dirt and debris that make their way deep into your carpet’s fibers. The longer you go between cleanings, the dirtier your carpet will get. Most professional carpet cleaning companies recommend shampooing or steam cleaning your carpets at least once a year. This keeps your home smelling fresh and can increase the lifespan of your carpets.

Shampooing vs. Steam Cleaning

Both methods of cleaning have benefits. Both are extremely effective at cleaning your carpets, removing dirt, and making them look and smell fresh and clean. For all practical reasons, however, steam cleaning is the best option. In most situations, you will be cleaning smaller sections of carpet. Steam cleaning is a good option if you are cleaning small areas of carpeting or if you want faster drying times.

Shampooing is better for heavily stained or discolored areas of carpeting. Shampooing often takes longer because more water is used. This means pulling all the water and shampoo out of the carpet takes more passes. It will also mean a much longer drying time. Shampooing is good for disinfecting your carpet and eliminating strong odors from pets or the occasional spilling of food or beverages.

Which One Takes More Work?

Steam cleaning is a quick and easy method for cleaning carpets. The steam breaks up and lifts the dirt from the fibers as the water picks it up and is sucked away. Vacuuming your carpet afterward removes excess dirt that may be left behind. Steam cleaning is good for carpet that doesn’t have ground in dirt or stains.

While shampooing takes a little more effort, it is great for cleaning heavy traffic areas or carpet sections with stains that go deep into the fibers to the base. If you use shampoo to clean your carpet, you will have to go over it a second time with hot, clear water to get rid of the excess shampoo. This will dramatically increase the length of time it will take for your carpet to dry.

Cleaning Power

Both steam cleaning and shampooing offer a deep, long-lasting clean, except each one achieves the goal in a different way. Steam cleaning will kill many types of bacteria and germs that can survive good shampooing. Stains that are set in or ground into the fibers of your carpet may become permanent, although a good cleaning may lighten their appearance.

If you are worried about staining, using a steam cleaner immediately after a spill occurs will prevent the fluid from being sent deep into the base of the carpet. If you catch a spill quickly enough, there is no need for the strong detergents used by the shampooing machine.

Cleaning Agents

The cleaning agents you use with each process are what make the most difference. When you use a steam cleaner, you only need the steam and water to pull dirt up from the base of the carpet. However, there are cleaning solutions you can put in the water that act as mild cleansers and deodorizers.

Shampooing, on the other hand, requires the use of a cleaning agent that is sometimes more harsh than it needs to be. Harsh chemical agents can break down carpet fibers while they are working to break up the dirt and grime so it can rise to the surface and be swept away.


You will be using water when you steam clean or shampoo your carpets. How much you use will depend on the method of cleaning. Steam cleaning uses less water, allowing your carpet to dry much faster. In some cases, it may be dry in as little as four to six hours.

Shampooing uses much more water due to having to run the cleaner twice. The first time will be to apply the shampoo and loosen the dirt, and the second time to rinse away the detergent and suction away the excess water. You will have to run the cleaner over the carpet many times to pull excess water out and allow the drying process to begin. The drying time for shampooed carpets can be as long as eight to 12 hours, depending on how much water you are able to extract.

Personal Choice

If you are going to buy your own carpet cleaning machine, it is normally based on personal choice. Most people choose the type of machine they believe will work best for their home and family’s needs. No matter which option you choose, hiring a professional company like Valley Carpet Cleaning to visit your home once a year removes any dirt your personal cleaner leaves behind. If you have your own shampoo or steam cleaner, you will be able to spot-clean your carpet if a spill occurs or clean from room to room when you are giving your home a thorough deep cleaning.

DIY or Hire the Pros

Many homeowners prefer cleaning their carpets themselves. Renting or buying a machine is much less expensive than hiring a professional carpet cleaning company. The trade-off is that you can use it whenever you need to, but most home cleaners aren’t powerful enough to provide a thorough, deep clean. If you use a home cleaner, it’s still a good idea to hire a professional carpet cleaning company to come in once every year and deep clean your carpet and eliminate the dirt hiding deep inside.

Call Valley Carpet Cleaning today to learn more about steam cleaning and shampooing. We can answer all your questions and provide you with an affordable carpet cleaning solution that will keep your carpets looking new for years to come.

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