Cleaning Guides

Steam Carpet Cleaning vs Carpet Shampooing

Cleaning your carpet on a regular basis is extremely important if you desire to keep your floor covering looking good for a longer period of time. Also, systematic carpet maintenance is crucial for a healthy home, especially for people with allergies.

But wait… What do my allergies have to do with the rug in my living room? Well, you’ll be surprised how much bacteria and carpets have in common. Rugs are basically a magnet for allergens like mould spores, dust mites, dander and other types of icky stuff that cause people to sneeze and cough. In order to get rid of those, you need to deep clean your carpet as frequently as possible.

In this article, we are going to discuss the two most popular carpet cleaning methods – steam carpet cleaning and shampooing. No matter if you cringe because of the thought of mould spores partying in the fibres your floor covering or if you just want to know the difference between steam cleaning and shampooing your carpet, we got everything you need to know right here.

What is steam carpet cleaning?

Steam cleaning is actually a term that is used by many companies to describe the hot water extraction method. The logic behind this confusion comes from the amount of steam that is produced during the cleaning. But the steam itself is not related to the cleaning process, it’s only an effect.

As the name suggests, this method uses hot water, which is mixed with special carpet cleaning detergents. This mixture is pumped into the carpet by the powerful hose of the machine, infiltrating its fibres to the core. After that, the solution is extracted, bringing out all the dirt, built-up residue and stains. If you want to learn more about how the process works, check this post on what is hot water extraction carpet cleaning.

Due to the use of water, the carpets will need a couple of hours to get dry again. You can speed up the process with the special machine called “AirMover” that we provide, upon request. It cuts down the drying time by 3 to 5 hours.

Keep in mind that this type of carpet cleaning is the most powerful and guaranteed method at the moment. So, if any stains are not removed after cleaning, probably they never will be.

Steam cleaning: Pros and Cons


  • Provides a thorough deep cleaning of the carpet, reaching where other carpet cleaning methods cannot, removing all dirt.
  • It is the most efficient way to remove a stain.
  • Can be used for general carpet cleaning, refreshing it and restoring its overall original look.


  • Not suitable for natural fibres or other organic materials.
  • Will need from 3 to 7 hours to dry completely.
  • Longer drying periods increase the chance of fungi and bacterial development.
Use on synthetic rugs, such as microfibre, and polyester. Also suitable for woollen materials.

What is shampoo carpet cleaning?

Before all of the fancy steam cleaners were invented, shampooing your carpet was the only way to get it clean. Quality carpet shampoos create a nice thick foam that has the ability to break down dirt particles, which tend to build up over time in between the carpet’s fibres. Also, the product contains lubricating ingredients that help protect the rug’s surface from the strong brushes of the rotary shampoo machine. The whole process is called rotary shampoo carpet cleaning.

However, like with every other cleaning solution out there, shampooing your carpet comes with its negative sides – some products on the market contain brighteners that can tint your rug yellow. Also, this cleaning method tends to be counter-productive, due to the fact that the shampoo leaves a residue, which attracts dirt that builds up faster.

Carpet shampooing: Pros and Cons


  • Shampooing your carpet is really easy on the budget
  • The method is extremely easy and fast to do.


  • Can damage delicate rugs.
  • Some shampoos just brighten the carpet.
  • Can cause irreversible yellowing of the fabric.
  • Can leave a sticky residue.
  • Shampooing only cleans on a surface level.
Before using check manufacturer’s recommendations before applying the product on your carpet. Consider testing the solution on an invisible area of your textile floor covering first.

Learn more about our cleaning methods, get expert carpet cleaning advice and receive a free quote!

Is it better to shampoo or steam-clean the carpet?

Steam carpet cleaning (hot water extraction) is the best and most effective carpet cleaning solution right now. You can get it done only by calling a professional, who uses special equipment and products to remove all the soil and dirt from the rug’s fibres.

This option is far more efficient than just shampooing your carpet because it gets your carpet cleaned on a deeper level. Also, the hot water extraction method can remove any sort of stubborn or old stains from your floor covering.

In addition, the solution addresses allergy triggers far better than the other method, as it extracts them all under high pressure.

As you can see for yourself, hot water extraction and shampooing are extremely different and it really depends on what kind of solution you are looking for. If you want your rug deep cleaned and all harmful allergens killed, go for the HWE method.

Steam cleaning and shampooing are different solutions for different needs: the first is a more thorough and deep cleaning solution, while shampooing is a quicker and cheaper alternative for freshening up the carpet. The choice between the two depends on the specific needs and desired outcome of the cleaning.

If you want to learn more about the different cleaning techniques, read our post on the best carpet cleaning methods and their pros and cons.

Is there a difference in the drying times?

The drying time for the shampooing cleaning method can take up to 24 hours, even more. If you want to speed up the process a little bit, you can always open a couple of windows to ventilate the room, where the carpets are located. As for steam carpet cleaning, the method extracts almost 95% of the moisture along with the dirt (with the right device), which presumes a quicker drying time than if you use the shampooing technique.

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Dry Carpet Cleaning vs Steam Cleaning: Pros and Cons

How often should I clean my carpet?

How frequently you need to clean your carpets will depend on several factors, which are:

  • The overall quality of your carpet
  • The amount of traffic it receives
  • The presence of pets

Generally, you should clean your rugs every 12 to 18 months, in order to maintain and secure their good condition. Carpets that are located in rooms, such as the living room, will need more frequent cleaning than, let’s say, that in a bedroom. Make sure to take care of your carpets before they get too dirty. Keep this in mind, especially if you are using carpet shampoo to clean your floor covering, as the product doesn’t have such deep-cleaning properties.

If you leave it for too long, before you decide to clean your rug, any deeply embedded dirt build-up may still remain in between the carpet fibres, even after it’s been shampooed. For more information, read our in-depth post on how often should you clean your carpet.

Having doubts? Get a professional carpet cleaning service

Consider getting an expert to do the cleaning if you are still unsure which method is the right one for your textile floor covering. Choosing a professional service will save you many hassles and time as well. We at Fantastic Services offer a deep carpet cleaning service using dry cleaning and hot water extraction (steam cleaning).

Instead of scrubbing your carpet, spend the time doing something you truly enjoy. For best results, leave the cleaning to a seasoned expert.

You need your carpet cleaned?

Book professional carpet cleaning for your home.

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We hope you found this resource useful. Let us know what method do you use to clean your carpets and does it work well in the comment section below.

Right header image source: Depositphotos / AndreyPopov

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