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

Are you having a hard time picking the best weapon to win the battle against the dirt and allergens in your carpet? Shampooing and steam cleaning are two of the most well-known options. However, it is not a piece of cake to decide which one you should use.

Overall, steam cleaning your carpet is going to be a lot more effective than shampooing. Unless you’re trying to clean a big carpet surface regularly and as long as that carpet doesn’t have a lot of stains on it, then steam cleaning is the best option.

Steam Cleaning or Shampooing
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Is It Better to Shampoo or Steam Clean Carpets?

This is quite a debate that goes on between many people, as shampooing and steam cleaning, both, have their advantages and disadvantages. Are you thinking, “Why is choosing one method so difficult?” Well, that is because nothing is black and white. It’s a little complex.

While shampooing might clean a heavily soiled carpet, it soaks it up and then it takes longer to dry. On the other hand, steam cleaning disinfects the carpet but isn’t suitable for removing dirt and debris.

Now you get what I mean. You have to learn about both the methods before selecting one.

What is carpet shampooing?

What comes in your mind when you hear the word “shampoo”? Foam? Cleaning product? Yup. That’s what it is. A carpet shampoo provides a foamy cleaning agent. Shampoo works to loosen the dirt that has formed a statically charged bond with the carpet fibers.

carpet shampooing

A powerful cleaning machine serves by further agitating the fibers and breaking down the dirt even more. It also scrubs stubborn stains to remove them.

The carpet is then rinsed with fresh water. You should take care of extracting the moisture as you don’t want mold formation on the surface.

Pros and cons of carpet shampooing

Shampooing a carpet is an effective way to get rid of dirt and stains. However, nothing in this world is perfect. Everything has drawbacks. The same goes for carpet shampooing.

Let’s take a look at a few of the top pros and cons of carpet shampooing.

Highly effective at cleaning heavily soiled carpets.Large machines needed that are very expensive.
Gets rid of the dirt that is embedded in the carpet.Damages the carpet padding if too much water is used.
Removes tough stains that have penetrated the carpet fibers.Leaves the carpet wet for 24-48 hours.

What is carpet steam cleaning?

Steam cleaning is a much more effective alternative to the conventional mop and bucket method. It stands out among other cleaning methods as it just requires water and heat to make your carpet as good as new.

carpet steam cleaning

Steam cleaning is versatile, reliable, and durable. The high temperature and pressure cause the dirt to be broken down and lifted. Mildew spores are also removed. The water is released and then sucked back along with the dirt. Minimum moisture is involved. Hence, drying times are shorter.

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Pros and cons of carpet steam cleaning

Steam cleaning has a bunch of positive points that undermine the negatives. That doesn’t mean that you should choose steam cleaning blindly. So, let’s walk you through the pros and cons of carpet steam cleaning.

Kills 99.99% of bacteria and germsStains might need to be treated before-hand.
Eliminates pests and even destroys their eggs.Doesn’t clean a heavily soiled carpet too well.
Chemicals aren’t required for cleaning.Debris isn’t removed.
Less moisture is used, and hence, carpet is dried in just a few hours.Costs more than conventional methods.
How to Know if Steam Cleaning is The Right Choice for You

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Comparison between shampooing and steam cleaning

Now you don’t only have a clear idea about carpet shampooing and steam cleaning but also about the pros and cons attached to each method. It is about time that we compare both the cleaning methods.

The shampoo contains chemicals and may require other cleaning agents too.Only heat and water is required, so it’s an all-natural method.
Heated water isn’t involved, so germs and allergens aren’t eliminated.The hight temperature kills bacteria, germs, and allergens, and disinfects the carpet.
Sometimes gets rid of pests but not their eggs.Kills pests along with destroying their eggs.
The chemical residue is left behind.No residue is left behind as only hot vapor is used to clean.
Soaks the carpet and hence, results in 24-48 hours of drying time, sometimes even longer.Drying time is much less since only steam and limited moisture is used.

As you can tell, steam cleaning happens to be a more effective and suitable option for cleaning carpets. Its pros are more significant than the benefits shampooing offers.

It doesn’t rule out all chances of carpet shampooing. You should try shampooing your carpet if it’s heavily soiled, as steam cleaning might not do justice while cleaning it.

Close up of Family with Baby on Carpet


Wrapping up, I recommend that you mostly steam clean your carpet. If there are stains on your carpet, I recommend treating those before starting your steam cleaning session. Go for shampooing if there is heavy soil accumulated in the carpet.

You should get your carpets professionally cleaned once in a while, maybe twice a year.

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.

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