Hot Water Extraction vs Steam Cleaning:
A Detailed Comparison

Are you confused about hot water extraction and steam cleaning? Read an unbiased comparison to choose the right method.

Hot Water Extraction vs Steam Cleaning: A Detailed Comparison Thumbnail

Table of contents

Introduction

Are you confused that whether you should opt for hot water extraction or steam cleaning? Both of these cleaning methods have their own set of pros and cons. People have been using hot water extraction for decades, but steam cleaning is relatively a recent introduction.

There are a couple of differences between Hot Water Extraction and Steam Cleaning. The most important of which is temperature. Steam Cleaning can reach up to 300 degrees Fahrenheit, whereas Hot Water Extraction always keeps water under 212 degrees. But there are other differences like the amount of water involved (Hot Water Extraction uses more water), Drying Time (Hot Water Extraction takes longer to dry). Most of the time, Steam Cleaning is recommended for Synthetic fibers and Hot Water Extraction is recommended for cleaning Natural Fiber carpets.

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Hot water extraction vs steam cleaning

You can't say which method is better unless you know both of them inside out. Each of them possesses various benefits that make it suitable for a certain purpose.

Before you decide to clean your carpet or remove nasty stains, make sure that you are using the right cleaning method. Otherwise, it can just create more mess.

Stain on carpet

Differences between Hot water extraction and steam cleaning

Some people use the terms, hot water extraction and steam cleaning, interchangeably. However, it is not correct to do so. Both of them are two different methods that have some similarities.

Let's take a look at the differences between these cleaning methods.

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1. Method

In the hot water extraction method, firstly, a cleaning solution is applied to the surface. The dirt is broken down and loosened. Then hot water is released that cleans the fibers. Soil and stains are worked on. Then the dirt and water are extracted.

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In steam cleaning, the water is heated to extremely high temperature. The water is released on the carpet. Then the pressurized water breaks dirt and lifts it to the surface. The particles and moisture are sucked back.

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2. Water involved

Hot water extraction involves quite a lot of water. It pretty much soaks the carpet.

Steam cleaning doesn't use excess water. It is more of the hot vapor/steam that is used to clean the surface.

3. Temperaure used

In hot water extraction, water is heated but the temperature has to be kept under 212 degrees Fahrenheit.

In steam cleaning, the water is heated between 245 to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. It is so hot that it breaks down stains, and even kills allergens, bacteria, and germs.

Killing germs

4. Drying time

Hot water extraction uses more water. Hence, the drying time is longer. It can be about 24 hours or so. However, if a powerful truck-mounted machine is used, it sucks all the water back. This cuts the drying time short.

Steam cleaning uses steam that doesn't soak the surface. Therefore, the cleaned area dries quicker in just a matter of 4 to 8 hours, ideally.

5. Usage

It is suggested that natural fibers should be cleaned with the hot water extraction method. It is more suitable for such materials and prevents shrinkage. Another noticeable factor is that the cleaning agent added to the water removes stains as well.

Soaked carpet

Using hot water extraction in your home yourself can get messy. The carpet will be SOAKED, and you will have to bear the wet carpet for at least a few days, even if you dry it with fans, etc. That is why professional cleaners are recommended. However, you probably have gotten the idea by now that this particular way of cleaning isn't convenient for frequent sessions.

If you are looking for the best cleaner, take a look at our professionally compiled directory to see who's the pro in your area.

Professional carpet cleaner

Synthetic carpets should be steam cleaned. People who are particular about not using chemical products in their houses prefer steam cleaning as it just uses heated water.

The high temperature helps to disinfect the surface as pests, bacteria, allergens, etc can't survive the heat. You can buy a steam cleaner that is the most suited for your purpose as there is a type of this machine that is designed to steam clean carpets while others are for steam cleaning mirrors or floors, etc.

Convenient handling allows you to steam clean your carpets at least once a week. You should keep your carpet fresh and clean to have healthy indoor air quality.

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6. Price

If you decide to carry out the hot water extraction yourself, you will need some appliances along with the cleaning agents. That might not be super expensive but will still cost you some money.

You probably will get the hot water extraction done by professionals. It will be a one-time contract which will cost less than actually buying the entire machinery. However, in the long-run, when you hire them again and again, it will take its fair share from your pocket.

Money falling from pocket

Steam cleaning is something you can do yourself. All you need to do is buy a steam cleaner, and this investment will benefit you in the years to come. Other than that, you just need tap water, and it goes a long way in cleaning and disinfecting your carpet. No cleaning product is needed.

So, steam cleaning has proven to be overall cheaper.

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Final verdict

I am not going to say that any of these options are bad. However, steam cleaning is a relatively newer method but more hassle-free. I, for one, am also inclined towards the fact that it doesn't poke a hole in your pocket. The investment you make once goes a long way.

Save your money

I would still suggest that you should make your pick yourself. You are fully aware of the differences between steam cleaning and hot water extraction. Maybe the latter is the better option for your carpet.

Conclusion

That's a wrap. I am positive that this post helped to clear your mind about two of the most used and known carpet cleaning methods.

Both have positive and negative aspects. However, whichever one you pick, make sure you know what you are doing.

If you want to purchase a carpet steam cleaner but don't know which one, this post about some of the best carpet steam cleaners is exactly what you need.

Mary Evans Picture

By Mary Evans

Vacuums, Steam Cleaners, Robot Cleaners, etc.

My name is Mary and I'm a mother of 3! I worked for a big company for 10 years until I decided to stay at home to take care of my family. Every since cleaning has become sort of my hobby and profession at the same time. I write about vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, etc. I just find it a lot of fun!

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Mary Evans Picture

Mary Evans

Vacuums, Steam Cleaners, Robot Cleaners, etc.

My name is Mary and I'm a mother of 3! I worked for a big company for 10 years until I decided to stay at home to take care of my family. Every since cleaning has become sort of my hobby and profession at the same time. I write about vacuum cleaners, steam cleaners, etc. I just find it a lot of fun!

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