Hot Water Extraction vs Steam Cleaning: A Detailed Comparison

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.

How to Know if You Need a Steam Cleaner or a Vacuum Cleaner

How to Know if You Need a Steam Cleaner or a Vacuum Cleaner

Don’t know which cleaning appliance to buy for your house? Learn about the differences of steam cleaner and vacuum cleaner so you can make the right choice.

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.

Hot water extraction vs steam cleaning

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.

Steam Cleaning or Shampooing

How to Know if Steam Cleaning or Shampooing is Right for You

Are you wondering if you should shampoo your carpet or steam clean it? Both methods have their pros and cons. Let’s see which one is the better option.

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.

Hot Water Extraction

Behind the Scenes of Hot Water Extraction. It has 3 Big Benefits!

Are you unaware of what hot water extraction is? Learn about this cleaning method, it’s method, and benefits.

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.

How Does Steam Cleaning Work On Carpets

How Does Steam Cleaning Work On Carpets? 4 Types of Steam Cleaners

Have you ever wondered how steam cleaners work? Here’s a post explaining not only that but also mentioning a few different types of steam cleaners.

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.

Temperaure used

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.


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.

professional cleaners

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.

Deep Clean Carpet With Steam Cleaner

How to Deep Clean Carpet With Steam Cleaner? Step-By-Step Guide

Do you want to deep clean your carpet but aren’t sure how steam cleaning works? Here’s a step-by-step guide for you along with benefits of steam cleaning.

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.


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.

How Effective Is Steam Cleaning

How Effective Is Steam Cleaning? Enough to Keep Reading!

Do you want to use a steam cleaner at home but have doubts about its effectiveness? Steam Cleaning is extremely effective, and this is why!

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.

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.


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.

Nancy Adams

I am a fan of home decor, I devote all my free time to this activity. One of the most important components of home comfort is carpets & rugs and at the same time, it is one of the poorly covered topics on the Internet. Therefore, I decided to share my experience and knowledge in this niche.

Recent Posts