Steam Cleaning Versus Shampooing – A Guide To Deciding Which Is Right For Your Carpets

There are many methods used by professional carpet cleaners when they are hired by clients, and it will often be the case that there are two carpet cleaning techniques that could be used at a particular location. The choice made will be based on the specifics of the carpet cleaning job, the types of carpets, and possibly even the budget of the client depending on which services they are prepared or able to pay for.

In most cases, it will be the advice of the professional carpet cleaner that will carry the most weight, and there are scenarios where that advice relates to whether steam cleaning carpets or shampooing carpets is the best option. There can be several factors that influence the choice as well as a consideration of the pros and cons of each of the carpet cleaning methods.

If you are reading this but unsure of what exactly shampooing or steam cleaning carpets entails, and would like more details on how each might be the right choice for your carpet cleaning needs, read on and we will seek to enlighten you.

Carpet Steam Cleaning Explained

The process by which expert carpet cleaners steam clean carpets involves the use of water vapour aka steam, which is at a high temperature and high pressure. The steam is pumped into the carpet fibres to a deep level and this process is what dislodges all the dirt particles and stains. The dislodged debris and the excess water vapour are then sucked up into a receptacle via a hose with high suction.

Carpet Shampooing Explained

This process uses a carpet shampooing machine, which has a tank containing the shampoo solution, which is a combination of water, carpet cleaning soaps and detergents. The solution comes via a hose at high pressure and is injected into the fibres of the carpet via a brush and forms a foam. The brush and foam are what agitate the fibres to loosen dirt particles and stains which are then sucked up via a vacuum cleaner built into the machine. The dirty water is then poured away.

Carpet Steam Cleaning Pros And Cons


  • Environmentally Friendly: As steam cleaning does not require detergents or soaps, it is regarded as one of the most eco-friendly means of cleaning carpets that exists.
  • Short Drying Time: Given that shampooing uses water and shampoos, whereas steam cleaning is only using vapour, the drying time is much shorter when you steam clean carpets.
  • Excellent At Pest Eradication: Due to the very high temperatures of the steam, steam cleaning is extremely effective at getting rid of live pests which lurk in carpets such as fleas, including their eggs.


  • May Leave Behind Stubborn Stains: For some truly difficult stains, the steam alone may not be enough to get rid of them without the use of detergents which is where shampooing has the upper hand.
  • Usually Costs More Than Shampooing: Steam cleaning carpets is something that is often best left to a professional carpet cleaner and thus it may cost more than shampooing which is a simpler process.

Carpet Shampooing Pros And Cons


  • Equipment Is Readily Available: Carpet shampooing machines are readily available, and they will normally cost less than steam cleaners in most cases. Their use is also easier so most homeowners should be able to shampoo their carpets.
  • Adept At Removing Difficult Stains: For those stains which are the most stubborn and the most difficult to remove, the carpet cleaning solutions and detergents used to shampoo carpets do a great job of removing them.


  • Carpets Are Left Wet For Longer: One of the biggest downsides of shampooing carpets is the time that carpets remain wet afterwards. It can take up to 24 hours and in that time you can neither walk on the carpet nor move furniture back into the room.
  • Uses A Lot Of Water Given that water is used to create the foam, carpet shampooing uses more water than steam cleaning and is thus less environmentally friendly, plus it can increase water bills.