Steam clean your carpet: why it's important for your home

November 6, 2014

With the right equipment and know-how it's fairly easy to steam clean your carpets, whether you do it yourself or hire a pro. Why is this kind of routine maintenance so important for cleaning your home? Here are some of the answers.

Steam clean your carpet: why it's important for your home

Everyday carpet maintenance, like vacuuming and not wearing shoes indoors, keeps your floors looking good. This routine care isn't all your carpets need, though. Periodically, carpets need a deeper, more thorough wash that can only come from steam cleaning.

How steam cleaning works

The name "steam" cleaning can be a bit misleading. Steam isn't the primary mode of washing the carpet. Rather, the name refers to the hot water solution sprayed onto the carpet by the wand of the steam cleaning machine.

  • The high-pressure of the spray is great at dislodging deep-set dirt, and the system conveniently vacuums up the solution almost as soon as it touches the carpet.
  • This means that no residue is left to settle at the bottom of the carpet, which is the chief problem with shampoo or foam cleaning processes.

Professional vs. unit rental

Professional carpet cleaning services can be a bit pricey.

  • For homes with fewer than 5,000 square feet of carpet, expect to pay at least 15 cents per square foot.
  • In contrast, renting a steam cleaning unit and doing the job yourself should cost less than $150 in total.
  • If price is your chief concern, there's no question.

A rental unit has its drawbacks, though.

  • These smaller devices can't achieve the high pressures and temperatures of professional truck-based cleaning systems, so they may not be powerful enough to thoroughly clean your carpets compared to a foam cleaning.
  • Rental units may also leave some of the cleaning chemicals in the air of your home, while a professional service will be powerful enough to vacuum all the solution up and out of your home.

How and when to steam clean

Even with a powerful vacuum, steam cleaning will leave your carpets damp.

  • Time your yearly cleaning to coincide with the warmer, dryer season to speed up the drying process.
  • Before running the steamer, clear as much furniture from the space as possible so you have a clear path.
  • Start from the far edge of each room so you don't walk on wet carpet.
  • Go over each patch of carpet multiple times, including one pass with only water to wash away any remaining solution.

Steam cleaning can help increase the longevity of your carpet by several years. You only need to do it once every eight to 12 months, with lighter cleanings throughout the year. With a little practice, it can be a simple weekend project.

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